A River of Consciousness

Recently I’ve had blog-writers block. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say – I probably have more to say at this point in my life than most. It’s not that I haven’t had time – injury has kept me close to home, where I’m waiting on a job at a restaurant that still hasn’t opened. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about writing, because I have. Mostly, it’s that I’m afraid of being…cliché.

Just a few minutes on the internet and I get the sense that in all of our online ramblings, we’re all saying the same things. Humans like to write about their own experiences, and I think we like to feel unique and playful and skillful while doing so. Even the recipe blog I just read to learn how to make nutella-banana ice cream (mix the bananas and nutella together and freeze, duh) – 90% of it was about the writer’s anxiety and how chocolate and ice cream make her feel better. We’re all the same, our blogs with clever names derived from quotes, carefully crafted “about me” sections, and links to our instagrams on the side. Carbon copies and cookie cutters, all trying to be so unique in the same way.

So not wanting to be painfully cliché, I start thinking about writing trip reports, but that just begins to feel like spray, or needless internet fodder. My sister does a better job than I (or anyone else) could ever do, and do I need to reinvent the wheel with my own descriptions? I didn’t take any photos on Rampage the other day, and does anyone really need to hear about another ascent of Der Sportsman? Besides, I didn’t even lead the crux pitch – or most of the climb for that matter – so am I justified in telling the world about it?

On that note, Blake told me yesterday that he thinks I was the first woman to free the entirety of Der Sportsman, or climb it at all. Whitney and I joked about it later that night, listing off the climbs in the area that we think haven’t seen an all-female ascent. What if we went on a girls-only rampage in the Cascades (the fruit is hanging low)…what if we started a website and called it fffa.com (first female free ascent) so we could keep a record of these things?  But…why? And…who cares?

To take myself out of the clouds of FFFAing, all I have to do is drive 5 minutes and play around on silly boulder problems. Bouldering, that’s the real challenge. My body’s conditioned to spend 18 hours in continuous movement, hiking and climbing moderate grades. But put a V3 in front of me and it’s an all out mental-physical-emotional battle. I know others feel the same way, and I know even more feel exactly the opposite. That’s probably one of the coolest parts of climbing: all of the many disciplines.

And that’s probably one of the coolest parts of life: all of its variety and diverse curiosities and challenges. I’m loving living in Leavenworth, picking buckets of cherries from my neighbor’s trees, going swimming in the river after climbing with new friends, lingering in my garden hoping to catch growth in action. Matt’s no longer with me…I certainly miss his affection, and his companionship, and I desperately hope he is well. But it’s a new season: my books are on a shelf again, arranged by color, and the cherries are dehydrating in the garage. Road life was good, and now home life is good.

It’s all good, and it’s all hard, and it’s all the same, for you and me and all of us humans. There’s a lot of rivers in this town – the the Tumwater, the Wenatchee, the Icicle – they’re all unique in the same way too. Headed to similar places, but finding their own path and flow. On a macro level they’re carbon copies; take a closer look, sit at their banks after a sweaty climbing session, and you’ll know their differences. And somehow amidst their rush and hurry, they’re peaceful and directed, and oddly still. I guess I hope to be the same.

Title photo: Austin Siadak

2 thoughts on “A River of Consciousness

  1. Dear Jenny,
    I personally would love to read about all female climbs. I started hiking about a year ago and it is something I do alone and I come up across resistance from people I know about first of all doing something outdoorsy alone and I think there’s an implicit condemnation that this isn’t something I should be doing because I’m a woman. To counter this and to keep my mind thinking of possibilities and what I’m able to do, I look up women who are already doing what I would like to do. I check out their instagram accounts, I read their blogs and I find that a constant reassurance that what I want to do is legitimate and good for me. After doing this for a year, I now head out there on my hikes and I just have the best time in the world. It is deeply inspiring to read about women doing adventurous stuff and it might be the encouragement for other women out there to take that first step.
    All the best! And I really enjoyed reading your posts above 🙂

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