Once you’re past 21 there is no joy in the thought of getting older. Suddenly you’re a few years away from proctological exams and being another statistic cited in a Viagra commercial and before you’re able to mash the imaginary brakes you’re finding gray hairs at the bottom of the shower. Bang. You’re old!
Ok, maybe I’ve just revealed some of my characteristic self loathing and cynicism, but in truth, I have always seen my time on earth as being precious due to the somewhat arbitrary nature of diabetes related complications. I’ve never envisioned living into my golden years but rather succumbing to complications or falling off a mountain or being eaten by a yeti.
I can’t help how my mind works, but I have been able to use this neurotic and ostensibly depressing world view to take each day and seize it-which has resonated with others who take part in this grim caper of living deliberately with an illness that is invisible and almost always misunderstood.
So while I was thinking about entering my fourth decade of life I got a phone call from Stefanie. Usual, routine stuff telling me about her day of flights and describing the traffic now that she was back in NYC. I didn’t really feel like talking because I was in the shower and I felt like this conversation would keep for a few minutes until I was better able to talk.
About a minute after we hung up, Stefanie walked in the room–she had been playing me all along. Apparently I looked surprised. I know it took me a couple hours to accept that she really showed up out of the blue! This made my day beyond what I can put into words.
We sat around and talked with Rob about what we should do for the evening. He suggested that we go up on the mesa outside of town- there was bouldering and spectacular views–so naturally we were sold.
We took Robs Jeep (cj-5 for those of you who know and love old jeeps) up a horrific and steep dirt road called Crybaby Hill, so named by cyclists. The dirt road was a jumble of loose rock and ruts and it’s pitch was unrelenting but eventually we made it to the top and had all of Springdale and Zion spread out below us.
The clouds and light were making otherworldly patterns in the sky–on one hand a magical sunset was taking shape and on the other, violent thunderstorms were pounding the higher peaks in the distance.
I set up cameras to capture as much as I could but the storms were out in the distance so my quarry (a good lightning shot) eluded me. As night fell a new round of storms kicked up, with more explosive lighting. I kept shooting and we all relished our perch up on the edge of the mesa, overlooking the valley below.
At one point Stefanie remarked that the lightning seemed to be moving towards us.
Not only was she right, but we had been unable to calculate just how fast it was coming for us–within 2 minutes it was almost upon us and we frantically scrambled for the Jeep, hoping to to make it back down off the mesa before we were either electrocuted or the steep dirt road became an impassible mud pit on the edge of a yawning chasm.
Faced with two certain means of death nipping at our heels I made damn sure my camera was properly put away and all memory cards were accounted for and that all electronics had been weatherproofed. I was too stoked on these shots to lose them through carelessness!
So I guess it’s obvious at this point that no one perished but there were about 10 minutes where it was serious and risk was amplified. During those minutes I felt alive and I wasn’t in the grasp of my neuroses–and if that’s a foreshadowing of what my 30s will bring then I say game on!