Last week, I found myself musing among boxes. Some gaped open, begging for sustenance like baby birds. Others I had already closed and taped shut, firmly shut, three or four strips of tape apiece. 

As I sorted through the immense and innumerable piles and drawers and baskets and shelves of stuff, I felt like the worst of sinners. Here, filling boxes and trash bags with my gadgets and gizmos aplenty, was proof of my materialistic gluttony.

Why all the packing and disposing?  We're supposed to be moving. We bought a place downtown and we're ready to embark on home ownership and all the fringe benefits. But the Home Buying Train is slow to start. We signaled the conductor, but he's asleep at the wheel. So, right now there's a lot of steam swirling and hissing at the platform, clouding our visions of the immediate future, but no chugging, lurching, or inching to denote progress.

One side effect of this delayed departure is a dampening of my nostalgic self. I haven't been able to sigh and smile as I pick up our mail for "what could be the last time."  I haven't felt the urge to thoughtfully brush my hand over the doorbell which stopped working the first year we moved in... or the faded explanatory sign we taped above the bell, either. I haven't baked my last batch of biscuits in our first oven, or played the last game of darts in our first garage, or laughed for the last time at the way our first bedroom door will only latch easily during the summer months.

Beijing-Olympic-2008.jpgFor those who did not tune in to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing, China a couple of weeks ago, you missed out on the most spectacular display of showmanship and all-around artistic prowess in the history of the games or, perhaps, the history of the world. 

Beyond the 15,000 performers who took part in the multi-faceted splendor of the ceremony, including dancers, calligraphers, singers, aerial acrobats, and dancers, I was awestruck by the parade of Olympians.  Of the 205 recognized National Olympic Committees, 204 sent athletes to compete in the games. 

Several of these NOCs were participating for the first time in history, including Montenegro and Tuvalu.  And the total number of participant athletes was an overwhelming 10,500.

And yet, it should have been 10,501.
All the mechanical noises,
the thrum of electricity in the veins of my cubicle,
the brief beeps of protest
   elicited by a misplaced cursor,
the buzz of my monitor,
even the flicker of my digital picture frame,
conspire against my creativity,
damming the imaginative river in my mind,
my soul,
until I am little more than a puddle
   of routines and habits and patterns,
dependent on these incessantly sighing machines,
a zombie of clicks and taps,
with one eye on the clock,
  one hand on the black dome of the mouse,
dazzled by by manipulation of the technological world,
and oblivious to that world's manipulation
   of me.
cath1.jpgAt the behest of a friend, an experienced hiker, Jonathan and I joined a group of people on a trek to Cathedral Peak.  Jonathan had not been to Yosemite yet this year, a travesty in our household, so we quickly agreed to go. 

It would give Jon a chance to do some minor outdoor climbing.  It would plunk me down in the middle of nature and allow me to clear my mind and potentially create something beautiful.

(And no, this blog entry is not what I came up with.)

"Besides," Jon said, "We did the Cathedral Lake trail two years ago, remember?"

Oh, yes.  I remembered the strenuous 3.5 mile hike on a steadily inclining trail.  But I also recalled the pristine loveliness of Cathedral Lake.  When we took that hike in 2005, Jonathan and I plopped down at the water's edge and ate a picnic lunch before napping on the warm, flat rocks.  Along with a graceful, skittish doe, we'd seen many tiny frogs, butterflies and squirrels.  I'd never forgotten our peaceful interlude at the lake, and even the recollection of the steep, rock hard trail didn't dissuade me from agreeing to this second trip.

After all, if I'd done it once, obviously I could do it again.

The thing is, we didn't actually do the Cathedral Lake trail.  Exactly 165 steps from the trail head, we branched off to walk along Budd Creek, taking a shortcut to the southeastern side of the mountain.  The southeastern side?  I tried to wrap my brain around the geography.  Wouldn't that mean that the lake itself would be on the wrong side of the ridge?

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