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.