i just started to write this blog three times. i’d write two sentences and then immediately delete them. try again. fail again.
what do i want to write about? where did i leave off?
when i was in college, i attended a spring semester program through university of michigan called the new england literature program. it was six weeks of living in the woods of maine reading the transcendentalists. we had to keep journals about everything. we were graded on those journals. and although those grades hit my gpa harder than i would have liked, those journals were something special.
one of my favorite sections of my journals was a week where i wrote short essays of all the people that caught my attention. i even sketched a horrible portrait of them at the top of each page.
this time, i am going to substitute photos for horrible sketches. but since it’s the people that keep making this trip make and break my expectations, i am going to go back to writing about them just like i did seven years ago in maine.
tim and diane. (sadly i don’t have a photo of them)
you don’t get to choose your campsite neighbors. they get assigned a number and you get assigned a number. some stick to their plot and never stray to find out what’s happening next door. some you wish would have stayed at their own site. however, tim and diane were definitely the type you wanted to stay up with all night long.
by the time i arrived, colby had already befriended tim and diane and another couple they were traveling with. i had been told of their awesomeness before meeting them. colby wanted to get back from salt lake in time to cook them dinner for their last night in maple canyon. apparently diane doesn’t like to fix fruit in food, and colby was determined to change her mind with some butternut squash and green apples.
we land back at maple and meander over to our neighbors’ campsite. a small buddha statue sits on their grill platform covered in orange lights. tim and diane are bundled up sitting around their fire. their faces immediately light up as they welcome colby back from his day long adventure to salt lake to retrieve me from the airport.
i am sucked into their hugs as they tell me that they have heard all about me. you never really know what that means when people say that. you always reply in some form of, oh, i hope it was all good. and they usually reply with some form of, for the most part.
tim is zipped up to the neck in a black puffy. a puffy is an outdoor living essential, and a normal part of most campers fireside attire. but tim had an added something special. sitting atop his black puffy coat sat a gold chain. the kind of thick gold chain that you would purchase for your dope kanye halloween costume. juxtaposed against tim’s calm demeanor, this chain was pure hilarity.
the gold chain goes to the biggest whip (fall) of the day or to the person who spills their cocktail.
i don’t know why tim got to wear the chain that night, but i would not have had it any other way.
diane complemented tim’s quiet perfectly with her obsession with tequila. no was not a word in her vocabulary when it went to trying her three different types of tequila. we started with the best and worked our way down.
tim and diane are what us youngins would call an older couple. they had so many stories. diane told me about her morning tent yoga routine and how she tried to integrate pranayama into her everyday activities. colby had previously informed me that tim was the “tim” in the book into thin air. he apparently was the guy to save them off mt. everest.
we ate colby’s delicious dishes and convinced diane that eating the apples with butternut squash was not that bad. well, actually, that is was a downright amazing combination. she may or may not have been convinced.
colby has a special gift when it comes to bonding with people over fifty. i think it comes from his years and years of playing golf. or maybe it’s the fact that he likes yanni and andrea bocelli. either way, he had already won his way into tim and diane’s hearts. it was clear.
when they were packing up the next morning, the gold chain reemerged.
it was now in our possession. it was our responsibility to continue the legacy.
it was now colby’s turn to look absolutely ridiculous when meeting strangers. his visor and polo shirt complete with gold chain.
hopefully we will get to stop in aspen one day and say hi to tim and diane again like their goodbye note instructed us to do. maybe they will even come on down to vegas and climb with us. but whether i see them again or not, their story is here.
our story starts here.