It's not always easy to age. But here's the thing. It happens to everyone. In this story, discover how writer Carolyn Handler Miller faces the physical and emotional challenges of aging during a hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in northern New Mexico.
A visit to Arches National Park inspires this reflective essay on the powers that shape, pare, trim, and mold this unique region of the American Southwest and the relationship to how time molds our eroding bodies and identies.
To travel solo for days in a kayak is to be not on or in but of the water. It loves you, rocks you like your mother did, speaks to you with many voices, supports your meandering, bathes you, feeds you, tells you when to travel and when to stay still on the island of the moment. On every trip there is a time of storm, of being wind-bound when the judicious kayaker stays put, writes, rests, wanders, constructs stone sculptures and listens for the still, small voice.
The "red alert" broadcast email warned anglers, "it's going to be brutal, dress warmly, don't wear runners." Vancouver's weather forecast called for 100% chance of heavy rainfall and high wind. That would translate to a 100 millimeters of drenching rain. The deluge accompanied by 90 kilometer winds would produce horizontal precipitation.
Vancouver Chinook Classic Derby, an annual catch and release salmon tournament shouted out the forecast proclaiming a finality, "The show must go on."
Mageru pulls over to the side of the road, parks and idles the Land Cruiser. We are still a few hours away from arriving back in Addis Ababa. He looks over to me, pats the steering wheel and says “I am a little tired. You can drive.”
This does not strike me as a generosity I should accept. Although I am confident in Canada, Ethiopian driving doesn’t exactly rev my engines. “Oh…I don’t think so, honey. The driving here is very different from my experience back home.”
While visiting the town of Derge (rhymes with reggae) in eastern Tibet, my partner, Michele, and I learn of Palpung, the area’s largest and most important Kagyupa (White) sect monastery, locally known as the “Little Potala Palace”.
Yet despite Palpung’s reputation, we have no luck hiring a guide through any of the town’s hotel staff, shopkeepers, or restaurant owners. Finally, we bump into an English-speaking monk who promises to arrange everything for us. “Meet here at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning”, he instructs, pointing to a designated spot. Nothing about the arrangement spells certainty, yet we’ve got nothing to lose.
I had been in Australia for just over two weeks so I was firmly in the relaxed, travel state of mind when my Dad asked me if I wanted to do a skydive over Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday's, and the Great Barrier Reef. It sounded enticing so my straight answer was a prompt yes. This occurred on our first day of five in Airlie Beach and as time progressed my nerves began to rattle me. My sister had always been the daring one, but now I had placed myself in the position where I had to befriend my adventurous side.
The chatter of tourists surrounded me and invaded my ears. I tried to block it out, but, truth be told, even my own travel companions were taking up space in my head. I closed my eyes, took slow deliberate breaths, and cleared my mind. When I opened my eyes, a vast white valley spread itself out before me – inviting me to take in its pristine beauty. Towering majestic mountains on either side bookended the sea of ice before me. Awestruck and breathless, I tried to comprehend that I was seeing was nature – raw, unforgiving, awesome for all my senses. As I heard questions from either side of me, I was able to deflect that unwanted noise. I breathed deeply and found something just for me on the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, France.
The darkness of the night and the troublesome roads were worrisome, and at first it was a relief to get out of the car, but then the destination itself proved to be a scary proposition. Our ferry in the moonless night looked sinister. And when we thought about the fact that we had entered the terrain of ferocious crocodiles, the scene in front of me seemed straight out of the famous Anaconda movies. The lone lantern lighting the boat and the stillness of the water around us felt menacing. At first, most of us laughed to ward off our fear.
And then none of us spoke. Did we fear waking the reptiles? I do not quite know for I had become too numb to think coherently. Do not mistake me; I am not one of those who succumbs to fear very easily. But when it came to the prospect of being eaten by crocodiles, my mind became my own worst enemy. I kept repeating to myself that the creek was full of salt water crocodiles and I kept replaying the visuals of the Anaconda movie. In retrospect, and with objectivity, I can say that the boat ride was actually peaceful and serene.