Good morning 2013. Two trees across the street, still on fire from Fall’s flamboyance, welcome me as the cool morning air slams my face on my way out the front door to get the newspaper, my pink nightgown hanging out from under my Mountain Hardwear fleece jacket and over my fleece pants. (My backpack clothes never seem to get any downtime.) Birds flee from the dangling ornament-like Liquid Amber seed pods as I gingerly step down the drive. The exposed aggregate driveway is cold, hard, and nubby on the soles of my bare feet. The clouds hanging over our neighbors’ roofs to the west still retain a touch of pink and, as I bend over to pick up the paper tossed at the base of the rhodys, their buds pulled in tight against the cold, I see the daffodils are three inches high already.
It’s 7:48 am and Rick hasn’t returned from the search in Marin. He was called into service before our New Year’s toast with friends at midnight last night. I don’t know any more than that. Who gets lost in Marin on New Year’s Eve? An autistic child? A great grandfather with Alzheimer’s? A despondent teen? An angry husband who checks himself into a hotel? SAR is hardly ever about looking for someone in the wilderness but the reasons people are missing are as varied as the wilderness of the heart. Whatever the reason you are misplaced, these dedicated volunteers will be there.
The hummers perch and dip at my office window feeder. I must refill it today. A friend once told me that since they are the last item on her list of priorities, you can measure the order of her life by whether her bird feeders are full. Today, I find mine empty.
The bird clock my sister gave me chirps eight o’clock in the kitchen and I hear in response Abby-the-dog’s collar tags jangle as she jolts from repose amid the pile of blankets on the waterbed. Yes, we’re children of the 60’s… still.
The computer has booted (I’ve been writing longhand) and as I click on the Yosemite Association web cams, which I do every morning, I see a snowy Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Tenaya and Echo Peaks, Mt. Watkins, and Half Dome are lit on one side from the rising southern sun. Yosemite Falls is frozen onto a brightly lit face of granite like a still out of a movie, it’s winter ice cone rising at the base of the Upper Fall. John Muir climbed his way up the ice cone more than a century ago and fell through into the hollow rocky abyss within. He also wallowed up the steep snow-covered boulder field of Indian Canyon from the valley floor and descended in an “avalanche of snow stars,” cheating death more times than I can count.
Muir had a purpose, it seemed. And his life refused to let go of him until he achieved it no matter how much he put it at risk. He won for us National Parks, the idea of glaciation in the Sierra, and the beginning of the conservation movement. Even his last fight, the defeat of saving Hetch Hetchy Valley from being dammed and flooded for San Francisco’s water tank, solidified the future defense of wilderness as no win could ever do.
So, 2013, what have you in store for me on this new morning in this new year as Sierra Spirit Backcountry Guiding Company continues to awaken people to the comfort and joys of the wilderness? Yep, there’s work still to do.
Copyright © by Karen Najarian Jan. 1, 2013.