Friday, September 15, 2006

HERA, Salt Lake City

I'm down in Salt Lake City to help out with an event for HERA, a group of climbers and friends dedicated to raising money for ovarian cancer research. Cancer has been on my mind a lot lately as a good friend is currently fighting it, my family has been smacked around by it over the years, and it's suddenly seemingly everywhere. I take strength from my friends and family who have fought it off, and others who fought hard against a strong foe. HERA is a cool group of people united against something big, it's good to be a part of it. HERA has a large climbing component, and while I love climbing it's ultimately a somewhat hedonistic thing to do. It's nice to see the energy of climbing pooled and focused to swing some blows against cancer. The group down here has raised over $140,000.

I've been running non-stop since I arrived here, various events and the added confusion of getting rear-ended in a rainstorm. It's the first accident I've been involved with in about 20 years--no serious damage to any people, but the rental car isn't looking so new anymore. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, but if the three-car pileup had gone a little sideways I could have wound up in the oncoming traffic. Getting randomly slapped around by the universe make me think about the fragility of our lives, even doing something (as compared to a lot of the other stuff in the adventure' junkie's life) safe like driving on a city street. I was stopped behind a car that was turning left when a young guy just blew it and stacked into the car behind me, which then hit my Hyundai rental... It was a really intricate loud noise, and my neck is a bit cranked but seems to be OK. The other two drivers were nice people, and it turned into a bit of a funny situation as we stood around in the rain waiting for the cops and tow trucks. I think we were all relieved that it worked out OK--all three cars were small, I shudder to think what have happened if we had been hit by an F350 crew cab instead of a small car. I'm suddenly a lot more paranoid about driving, there was nothing I could do to prevent the accident as I was stopped and boxed in. The impact force was impressive to experience.

Today we took our HERA group into the climbing gym as the thunderstorms were booming, and got worked. I had the pleasure of bouldering with a very young guy (early teens? 12?) who was strong as all hell and climbing brilliantly. It was cool to watch his rubber-like limbs flail upward with some sort of weird kid-precision movement, as though a force field of lower gravity and less inertia turned on when he pulled off the ground. We were working on a sloper problem from hell and both getting slapped around when I got frustrated and said, "Sheesh, I suck!" The kid looked at me with a clear smile and said, "No, you don't suck, I don't suck, we just haven't done this yet." The kid's comment hit home. We don't suck 'cause we can't do a problem, we just can't do it right then, and the problem has no bearing on the overall scheme of life. I liked that. He did the problem a few tries later, while I just haven't done it yet. Thanks for the wisdom young master...

1 comment:

michelle said...

My friends and I enjoyed watching your iceberg film on HERA movie night in SLC. It was hilarious! Unfortunately you set the evening's expectations pretty high and the rest of the films were sleepers.