Pyramid Rock: Final Summit of 2015

New Year’s Eve morning, I woke up to a glorious sunny day. I was just 0.4 miles shy of 200 miles hiked on summit hikes in 2015 and I decided to head up to a local summit to round out the year and enjoy the sunshine. Sprocket, as always, was very excited with this plan so we headed out into the hills.

We made our way to a ridge that looked like it would go fairly easily and started making our way up towards the summit. The views got better and better and being out in the crisp winter air was the perfect way to wind down 2015. The sparkles were everywhere and there wasn’t a hint of darkness to be found.

I had debated at the car whether or not to wear snowshoes and I’m glad I didn’t. The snow was only ever more than 5″ deep once (and then I managed to bury myself up to my waist) and I was glad I didn’t wear them.

We walked across a small flat area and then made couple of small scrambly moves among the snowy rocks and found myself at the summit.

When we got back to Ruth, I was in such a wonderful mood. I had planned to spend a low key New Year’s at home with Sprocket and decided that was not the right choice. I scrambled together a shower and headed home to spend the evening with my friends in Ridgway.

The Night Is Dark And Full Of Sparkles: Overwhelmed

It’s the end of the school year and I’m burnt out, overwhelmed, tired, and emotionally exhausted. This school year has been so hard. When I walked into class on the first day of school, I was excited for my husband to come home, excited to build a life in Ridgway, and excited to learn how to teach. When I walked into class on the second day of school, I was exhausted, sad, heartbroken, confused, and unsure of what would happen next. Being single again, suddenly, was not how I’d expected to start the year.

I hiked my way to sanity in the fall, perhaps at the expense of really learning to teach although I think teaching was the only job that I could have made myself really show up for each day. My students made me laugh when all I wanted to do (if I couldn’t be on the trail) was go home, crawl in bed, cuddle Sprocket and cry.

As winter set in, I didn’t do a very good job of getting outside. I didn’t do a good job of exercising. In fact, a lot of the time, I didn’t do a very good job of feeding myself. It meant long gaps with nothing to blog about because how many times could I tell the story of how I spent my weekend watching bad TV in bed working on a quilt because anything else just sounded like too much. I didn’t want to write about how I fretted about how my one year teaching contract ending and where I was going to be for the 2015-2016 school year.

And ultimately, I was just sad. A lot. I was also angry: a little bit at my ex and a lot at myself.

I’d written back in January about being so hopeful for 2015, proclaiming #thenightisdarkandfullofsparkles to be my mantra. It’s still true: the night is still continuing a bit, even if the dark of winter is fading (and hopefully the metaphorical dark is fading too). But you know what? It’s still full of sparkles. And I’m ready to start bringing the light.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Plus, in just over two weeks, it’s summer. My calendar is filling up with awesome fun events—many of which involve hiking and being outside. There are lots of things I have planned with just Sprocket and I but a lot where I get to meet up with some awesome people. I’m not going to be in Ridgway next year and that breaks my heart. But. I do have another teaching job lined up here in Western Colorado and I’ll just keep moving forward.

(I wrote this post during lunch. And then I realized there was no time like the present to start bringing the light so I took myself, and Sprocket, out for a hike after school. It was the best.)

The Night Is Dark and Full of Sparkles

I’m not a person who really looks forward to New Year’s Eve. This year I was mostly excited to have a chance to dance the night away with friends here in Ridgway but by mid-morning on the 31st, I had worked myself into a downright melancholy mood. Sometimes I just can’t understand how I’ve ended up here, just me and Sprocket against the world. I can’t understand how I lost a love that meant the world to me. And reflecting on 2014 wasn’t helping.

I’d written about how 2014 was a year with amazing highlights and also a year that completely knocked me on my ass at times but I don’t think I’d really ever considered that 2015 was a new year. While relaxing in my bed with Sprocket, I found a New York Magazine advice column that make me stop and think about things a little differently.

I’ve always found it silly to make resolutions or consider the new year a time to make changes but there I was reading this article and getting excited about what was coming down the pipe for me in 2015. The change from 11:59pm December 31 to 12:00am January 1st was starting to mean something to me.

The whole thing is amazing so you should run over and read it right now if you didn’t already check it out but it was this paragraph that first grabbed me and pulled me in:

“At times like this, though, it’s important to know WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL. You can’t just have a vague idea. You have to know exactly who you are and what you believe in. You have to know how you want to live, even if it is all a big nothing. That takes time.”

That’s been my exact journey this fall. I’d forgotten how damn awesome it is to be me. I forgot that I’m a delightfully sassy person who is totally whip-smart and can accomplish anything that I put my mind to. I’d sort of forgotten how it felt to be a good friend and a good family member. I forgot how awesome it was to chase my dreams.

“Make that your work now: Finding sparkles. Suffering opens a direct path to sparkles. That’s what the jingles don’t tell you. Heartbreak and loss bring their own kinds of sparkles. Admitting that it’s all a big nothing brings sparkles. If it’s all a big nothing, what is left?”

So that’s the plan. 2015: you’re the year of the sparkles. As a friend put it New Year’s night: The Night Is Dark And Full of Sparkles. I’m excited to tackle my goals and continue to make forward progress into my future. I’ve got trips in the works and good things are happening. The night might be dark but damn if it’s not full of sparkles.

So as I counted down the last seconds of 2014 surrounded by friends, neighbors, and strangers I found myself tearing up. I felt that catch in my throat as I shouted, “3,” and thought a bit as I said, “2,” and laughed as I almost cried at “1,” at “Happy New Year,” however, I made my way into 2015 with kisses, hugs, and laughter.

Cuddled in bed with Sprocket for my first sleep of 2015, ready to embrace the sparkles:

“Here’s to the things we’ve never had a chance to say to each other. Here’s to the things we never tried. Here’s to the sparkles that we didn’t notice. We were surrounded by sparkles this year, but most of the time we couldn’t see them.

We can’t do everything. But let’s find more sparkles next year, okay? Let’s look very closely, and notice them, as much as we can.”