The last few weeks I have been missing my friends more than normal. Summer camp is in full swing, at least the staff training portion, and the realization that I will probably never be a camp councelor again is a little disheartening. Don't get me wrong, it is a career path I stared in the face and rejected. Yet, the crisp morning air at 8000 feet in the mountains with a full day of teaching rock climbing or trail building ahead has a sweet seduction that the daily commute to a cubicle where I can barely see a window does not have.
The same goes for my education. I think now about the late nights and seemingly endless work that I put in to graduate. It is of course exaggerated in my memory. Still, the intensity of the work and the immediacy of the relationships was so clear. It seems as if there is a pause in life now. If I just keep my head down and wait, I can retire and then do what I really want...
We are where we are because of the choices we have made. I would not change the choices that led me to be here. (There are plenty of things from my past I would change if I had the chance. I have certainly not been perfect.)
My friends, I am rather introverted. I started writing a solo climbing book a few years ago. That is not normal. I spend hours a day alone exercising or reading or writing or cooking and many other activities. After a few continuous days around many people I get worn down, in an emotional sense really. Yet, I feel that life is about relationships. I thrive on those few intense hours of heart to heart openness. It is amazing the way that one person can influence another person's life. I went running with a 13 or 14 year old kid three years ago at summer camp, we did five miles or so. He was from the flat lands and I know that the run we went on in the midst of the mountains just rocked his world. That is just one little story from camp. I have helped dozens of kids become more comfortable with heights and more confident in their abilities. I built (or at least supervised the building of) some of the best trail ever to be walked across.
If you have not gathered, I miss my friends. People are not replaceable. The act of work, or the work itself, whatever capacity that work may be, is replaceable, yet the person is not. There are many people like my friends, but only my friends are my friends. There will be more people counted amongst my friends every week, but that does not diminish or replace any of my friends.
People are getting married. People are having kids. People are buying houses. People are moving away.
I have always felt that time goes slowly, because I desire it to pass slowly. If it went fast I would get nothing done. I'm listening to Coldplay and it all brings back memories. A Rush of Blood to the Head was the January, February and March 2005 when I rediscovered running and learned that I'm really into it. That spring I joined my college track team and was dead last in three of four races. X and Y was the summer of 2005. I bought the CD at walmart in Taos and one of my camp friends' and I listed to it on the drive through the rain back to Taos. We listened to the Gorillaz and Kelly Clarkson on the drive through the rain in the mountains too. Everytime I hear Square One start I think of that rainy drive just outside of Taos. That's was in Scott's pickup. I haven't talked to him since 2005. Parachutes was 2004 with the debut of the Garden State soundtrack. That turned me onto Coldplay. It hit me at a time when I was dealing with homesickness and I had a friend with an eating disorder, a fact that changed the meaning of the song Yellow for me. In 2008 I listened to Viva La Vida during a few hundred miles of running over dirt roads outside of Boulder. Everytime I hear Life in Technicolor I think of coming up the hill on Overland road just West of Jamestown and seeing Sawtooth and Audobon and the other Indian Peaks. It may not be a fast place to run, but it sure is a scenic place to run.
I have all of these memories and friends. Now we have gone our separate ways. I sit at a desk 45 hours a week. I run on the pavement. Wilderness has become a half mile wide stretch of forest between the Mississippi Rive and corn fields. It is as though the energy has worn off a little bit. The excitement of pushing the limit every weekend. Well, I pushed my limits high enough that getting back there will require plenty of time below the limit, which is not as interesting.
Even though I don't call, or message, or email, I miss my friends. There is some fear there, that going down memory lane with my friends in a phone call will remind me of how lonesome the summer working a grown up job can be or how terribly boring a Thursday night can be. I think this is part of the reason people get married, when all else around them changes, they have each other, at least one person to talk to.
I miss my friends.