Written for NaNoWriMo (Unedited)
We returned late to the campground with empty bellies and calloused hands. It was getting dark, so we made quick time in pulling out our stoves and fixing a meal. I walked around the front of my car to get water when I noticed a spot of pink on my windshield. An invitation:
You’re Invited: A wedding and dance party to follow! Where: Site #1 with the maroon Westie Bring: Alcohol, instruments, you’re beautiful self.
I was exhausted beyond belief, but a party was in need after sending Chocolate Corner. We ate fast and wandered over to site #1, fashionably late. Ten people stood around a campfire and another ten stood in groups near a dark red Westfalia. Solar lanterns adorned a canopy and music played from someone’s iPhone jammed into a bowl for resonation. All the familiar faces of Indian Creek were there. A chiseled Eastern European woman with light blond hair and an accent thicker than butter. The guy with the sprinter van, looking cleaner than everyone else and donning his bright red Patagonia puffy. People of various other eccentricities. Everyone looked out of place, but out of place together. For an hour, we watched limbs off the nearby bushes ignite and crackle in the fire pit while wedding preparations were made.
The two brides, Kat and Hannah, had spent the day concocting this theater act to entertain the campground. When it was time, a scruffy guy from Mississippi with a climbing tape (priest thing) ushered us into to standing groups with an aisle in between. Another guy played his melodica with a slightly off version of the classic wedding tune. Hannah, a red-head with the energy of a young child, waited with the priest. Kat, hair falling down her sides in loose braids, bounded down the aisle to join her.
Kat had an ease to her, a constant smile, a humility. Although she appeared older than me, she maintained the innocence of a flower child, fueled by love and the earth and all those other nice things. Hannah was infinitely energetic. She was moving so fast sometimes that she didn’t pay attention to what was going on around her. She seemed to want to say everything that came to her mind, but didn’t really care if someone heard it or reacted. She was beautifully young too, with a youth that seems like it could last forever.
“We are gathered here today to share in the union of these two lovely climber ladies,” the pseudo-priest announced. “I haven’t really got anything else to say, so let’s hear the vows.”
“Wait, first the dog! STORM! STORM!” Hannah called the dog’s name. After a brief silence, the dog ran in from the bushes and met the brides. They untied two rings from her collar.
“Kat,” Hannah started, getting down on her knee, “I am so glad to have met you during my short time in Indian Creek. You are truly my BFFN; Best Friend For Now. But on this special day, you will become my BWFN: Best Wife For Now. Even though we will part ways in a few days, our bond will be remembered forever in this union.” She placed a ring, likely made of foil or grass or some other found object, on Kat’s hand.
Kat now lowered her knee to the ground. She pulled out a piece of lined paper and read off a list of the reasons for her undying love of Hannah. “If you ever get another desert gobi, I will rub triple antibiotic on it all day, “ she finished, placing a ring on Hannah’s finger.
“The beers, the beers!” Hannah called to a guy waiting next to them.
“You may now shotgun a beer,” said the priest.
Hannah and Kat took two PBRs from their friend, linked arms, and shotgunned them in seconds. Holding hands, they ran down the aisle and everyone erupted in applause. And I thought about nothing else but the ridiculousness and playfulness of it all, happy to be apart of something both meaningless and perfectly worthy of my time. I think these kind of things only happen out here in the barren and unforgiving desert where fun has to be made.
I feel something surrounded by this ridiculous group of misfit climbers. I feel alive. I feel like I am human, like I am experiencing the deepest feeling of being human. Why does it seem that this feeling only exists out here in these far away wild places?
The next day was a hard one, mostly because I pushed myself to climb more pitches than any other day and the sun was jealous. It sucked my energy and left me crisped by the end of the day. Back at camp, I ate something nutrionless and felt like I didn’t really know how to take care of myself. Everything seemed hard and tedious. I cleaned the dishes, but there was still so much oil and crust left on them. I washed my face, but looked in the mirror to see my skin upset and rough. I tried to clean out the bed of my car, but by the time I put everything back in it, it looked the same as when I had begun. I suppose I was growing fatigued of everything taking so much time, of nothing being efficient or easy. I felt all these activities were a waste and not adding much value to my life.
How the fuck am I going to do this until 2016? And what exactly is it that I’m doing until 2016? Being unemployed? Camping? Climbing? I know I will need to spend some time in Boulder on couches of my friends to cure some loneliness. It also seems like I might have to spend a month in Oregon to save or make money during the summer. I worry that this might sacrifice the purity of my trip or somehow disrupt the learning. If I don’t camp and climb the whole time, I’m afraid I might just be a homeless person in disguise. I hear a soft cover of a Beatles song from the camp next door and my friends invite me to join their fire. Now is not a time for questioning. Now is a time for complete giving in to the life I have chosen to live based solely on a well-timed impulse and a set of circumstances.