Happy 2010

Happy New Year!

Wow!  It’s 2010 and today is a palindrome (01022010), as an odometer moment queen* that’s pretty exciting!  (* An odometer moment queen is someone who is fond of numerical fun such as the time 12:34:56 and car odometer moments such as 1234567).  So it’s a fresh year and a fresh decade with a hip numerical address.

The new year is so often filled with thoughts of newness: new dreams, new goals, new behaviours, new semesters…but on the dawn of the new year, I found myself pondering more about the past than the future.  I’ve recently been reading Julie Angus’ “Rowboat in a Hurricane” and during big storms on their crossing of the Atlantic in a very small boat, they would put out a sea anchor.  The sea anchor, shaped much like a drogue parachute, helps keep the boat oriented correctly in storms so it doesn’t breach to the waves.

So that got me to thinking…about sea anchors and regular anchors…and about how one was to keep you firmly from moving and the other was for use during a storm though I guess if you were close enough to shore, you could use a regular anchor to hold the boat during a storm.  So anchors can both hold you steady in one place or perhaps enable you to survive vicious sea states…then I began to wonder about the past…was the past an anchor that holds us in one place or guidance for when storms hit?

For me, I latched onto the sea anchor analogy…that the past provides stability for launching forth into what is coming.  I think there can be temptation to anchor ourselves to what we know we can do or where we are comfortable but I know for me, I’m not satisfied staying in harbour, that I need and want to venture out to get new views and new vistas.  I spent the afternoon at The Rooms, the Provincial Archive, Museum, and Art Gallery.  Many of the exhibits celebrated the expeditions and sea voyages of Captain Bob Bartlett so perhaps that’s why anchors and setting out are occupying my mind.

In many ways the journey from 2007 to 2010 has been the length of a heartbeat and in other ways, the length of several decades.  I can’t believe three years has passed and less than three months remain until I return to Everest.  I find myself looking back and looking forward at the same time.  Reflecting on my past climb and the lessons that I’ve extracted from it while at the same time planning and training for going back while all the while trying to remember to be present now, in this moment, in this time.

Yesterday as I pulled my tire up Signal Hill once again and the exertion forced me to turn my eyes down to the asphalt beneath my feet, I was very present in each step.  I noticed the small pebbles that would roll out from beneath my foot, the instant scraping crescendo of picking up a bottle cap beneath the tire, a cigarette butt, a brief skiff of wind across my cheek and the instant release from the bondage of lactic acid upon a momentary stop.  Given two trips up a week, I imagine that I will become even more familiar with the micro-world that unfolds with each step up the hill.  In those moments of intense physical outlay, I do find small pockets of attention to imagine the Lhotse Face or final traverse and try to deposit some of that physical work in a reserve bank that I can draw on when I actually am on the Lhotse Face or in the Khumbu Icefall.  Kudos go out to Michelle Young for having the courage to pull a tire up with me on Friday and special thanks to Marian for her keeping our tires safe from turning cars!

I had a excellent week of training–it was the last week of Camp One.  Monday marks the beginning of Camp Two with an increased emphasis on strength training and the beginning of hypoxic training on the Go2Altitude system.  I was able to witness and recognize several training gains this week and that’s always a wonderful gift that helps fuel the further hard work that the next month will deliver.

Thanks to all who’ve been holding Oma in their thoughts.  My family is keeping a close eye on her and she’s be able to continue living where she’s to for now.  Thanks for joining me on the dawn of this new year and decade.  I wish you and yours all the best in 2010 and beyond.

Have a good week,


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