Sunday, February 26, 2012

I like rocks

Some years ago I intended to start a photographic project where I documented all the cairns I found while exploring the hills and mountains. My thought was to do some misty-eyed naval-gazing on the topic of pathfinding, trailblazing, and spiritual forerunners.

It was about this same time I was obsessed with Byrd Baylor's Everyone Needs a Rock and started writing a short story about a young girl who found her seer-stone. Plus, I was reading up on energy work with crystals and using them to "ground my power" (etc).

I never did peruse that photography project. Nor did I ever flesh out that short story. And I soon gave up on energy work with crystals.

But I retained a fascination with rocks.

Recently, I've started rock-climbing on a more regular basis. Mostly fake rocks, going to the local rock gym a few times a week. But I've made some acquaintances who are quite serious about it and go on frequent excursions to the surrounding hills and mountains for the real thing.

A friend recently spoke to me about her rock climbing: "It's done something mental for me that's tough to put into words. Confidence, I guess. Moving forward."

That resonated quite a bit. I was using "conquer" to try and sum up my own experience with it but realized it was more complicated than that (..."tough to put into words.")

"Conquer" works well enough to describe what I do at the rock gym: trying my hand at more difficult routes, striving to reach the top. (Striving to do it "right.") However, this weekend, I went out with friends and family to a mountain area not too far from Tucson that had some great bouldering and climbing opportunities. There, I found a better word for my skin and sweat against the bones of the earth: "Connection".

I like rocks. I believe in rocks.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This post is an assemblage of some recent conversations and links that all stuck together in my mind as relevant. The sticking point being food. (Food and food culture, btw, are often on my mind.)

First, Wendy wrote this delightful post about being vegetarian in a family where vegetarians are suspect. (Which, is exactly what being a vegetarian in MY family is like. I've endured quite a bit of ribbing at large family dinners for neglecting to put meat on my plate.)

Then, Carrie wrote this very insightful piece about what if you were living just for you, making all of your life decisions NOT in the context of anyone else's desires/needs/preferences, etc... This is something I come crashing up against often. But it's interesting to note: this concept seems most pervasive when I am standing in the check out line at the grocery store, doing the weekly shopping for my family.

(Also, there's this this Cracked article about stupid habits you develop growing up poor, and recognizing that I do have angst over spending money on food, a frugality that scratches and pushes against quantity vs quality.)

Well, it all culminated for me with Carol posting this tantalizing recipe for Cornbread. Made with bacon drippings. Carol, Wendy and I had a brief back and forth on twitter about alternative lipids to use in place of the bacon drippings... But deep in my heart, I knew I wanted to do this recipe with bacon drippings.* Also, I realized that I was hesitant to admit that out-loud on social media. (The ironic twist; I feel as out of place eating meat among my creative community as I do NOT eating meat among my family members.)

Food is a funny thing.
Food culture is funny thing. So much emotion and personal identification (and group identification) is tied up in it.

So, when I heard this song on the radio, I couldn't help but laugh just a bit, in some disillusionment with ever knowing which group I am truly part of:

Mostly, right now, my food culture is just to enjoy sharing food and being fed.

*I have now made that cornbread (complete w/ bacon drippings) several times. It is delicious.