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Traveling, living, loving, exploring and trying to make some semblance of sense out of this crazy world.  


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I guess it's all a matter of perspective; inside the fishbowl getting paid to play or wishing you were, or accepting that what is important is outside the glass, in front of the screen, out in the really real world; getting your hands dirty and dealing with the thing we call Life without media attention or reward.

You want to know what's impressive?
A 49 yr old stroke victim with Multiple Sclerosis, degenerative disc disease that required three surgeries for an almost complete rebuild of her spine, and arthritis under her knees, who put on a harness and shoes, tied into a rope for the very first time and made not a single dime to claw and yank her way up a forty foot cliff, through green briers and bugs and humidity, to reach the anchors and return to earth, bloody but unbowed.

Frozen hands are no deterrent on an early January TR ascent of Gypsies, Reed's Creek, with Pyro Pat grinning on belay, just waiting his turn.

Who, for the next four years, dwelt in campgrounds and tenements, trailers and old apartment buildings, survived copperhead bites and black mold, Greyhound Bus Lines, interstate traffic, NFS Law Enforcement, slackers, crackheads and bedbugs to chase a dream she had never imagined living; went on the road, crossed America five times by small trucks and large, twice by bus (God help us), discovered Mt. Eldon and the Kachina Peaks, the Grand Canyon and the Superstitions, fell in love with Oak Flat and Devils Canyon, Priest Draw and Sedona, even as she fought the ravages of her disease and the withdrawal from experimental medicines that had been killing her for a decade.

Cindy in May of '09, after almost a decade of experimental medicines

Cindy, five years later, belaying the first ascent of a new line in the Troll Hut of northern Devils Canyon,
Queen Creek, AZ.

Who spoke out about medical cannabis and alternative medicines to other patients suffering from MS and neurological disorders, who, like her, had been lied to by the big pharmaceutical companies, abandoned by their own doctors and made into felons by their government, all for the crime of choosing medicines that are not produced by million-dollar campaign donors.
Between these battles, Cindy discovered Joshua Tree, wandered the Sonoran Desert and the Rocky Mountains, lived above 10,000 feet with moose and bear for constant companions, was robbed, stranded and starving, frozen, battered by tempests and sometimes filled with unspoken doubts, but she continued to speak out, came through the storm and still managed to smile and believe.

You want to lionize someone?
How about some who saw a need and responded?
After raising two children of her own and living a full life of service as a nurse's aide, EMT/Firefighter 1, caterer, baker and sales associate, Cindy put herself aside and, with no corporate sponsors or media attention, went out to offer her help and comfort to families in the wake of Katrina, served as a Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Center Hostess and helped build new homes for families in slowly-dying West Virginia mountain towns like Circleville, Franklin, Petersburg, and Upper Tract, and offered hope, food, and a touch of holiday joy among the poor and homeless of Flagstaff, Mesa, and Apache Junction, Arizona.
With The Gang, outside the Flagstaff Family Food Center, where Cindy cooked and volunteered to serve while I worked as Production Assistant and Security.

Pearlington, Mississippi, ten days after Katrina.

Who managed to live on a fixed $1200/month disability income, while feeding dozens of volunteers who built and/or repaired hundreds of feet of trail in half a dozen crags, all while lending moral and spiritual support to the efforts her curmudgeon of a husband, in his quixotic quest to create new climbs while reducing impact and raising climber awareness and responsibility across the continental U.S.?

Nobody you're going to read about in any of the climbing magazines or on the Internet spew sites.

Most true heroes are only remembered after they are gone, and respect is often garnered only by those who have the most time in the limelight.

The Dawn Wall?

Yeah... whatever.

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