Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sometimes, all you need is elevation

The call from my co-worker came at 10:09 a.m. "Do you think you'd have time for four extra pages today?" he asked.

"Wait, what?" I replied, still a little groggy from waking up late and lingering way too long over breakfast and blogs.

"If I told you Ted Stevens was indicted today, and we were going to create a whole big package to cover it, would you be able to do a few extra pages?"

"Wait, really?" I said, again, feeling a little stupid that in all of my blogging, I had missed that little news item. "Wow, so that finally went down. Yeah, I can do it. Do I have time to go for a hike?"

"I encourage it," my co-worker said. "It's finally nice out today."

I looked out the window. The mountains were obscured by a large bank of fog. Little drops still rippled through the massive puddles on the porch. "Um, OK," I said. "I'll see you at 2." I got dressed, laced up my shoes and darted out the door. I forgot my watch, so I had to pace myself by snapping photos and glancing at the time stamp on the screen.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
On the iPod: "Supermassive Black Hole," Muse
Thoughts: What is that bright light up there? Could that possibly be the sun, breaking through the clouds? It seems impossible, but ...

Time: 10:37 a.m.
On the iPod: "No Peace, Los Angeles," Mike Doughty
Thoughts: I can't believe they actually indicted Sen. Stevens. It seemed inevitable, but at the same time ... wow. The guy is beloved. He has an airport named after him. I wonder if they'll change the name of the Anchorage airport if he ends up in a federal prison? Uncle Ted "Jailbird" Stevens International.

Time: 10:43 a.m.
On the iPod: "Blame it on the Tetons," Modest Mouse
Thoughts: I feel so much better than I did yesterday. I was just going to go to the gym for an hour, try to wait out my funk, but I'm glad I decided to go out. I think those clouds to the south really are thinning. Maybe if I can climb high enough, the fog will clear.

Time: 11:09 a.m.
On the iPod: "I'm Not An Addict," K's Choice
Thoughts: Hmm, when did I download this song? It reminds me of 1997 ... that perfect spring morning with the windows of Liz's car rolled down and my arm stretched out in the warm air. I think we were commuting to a drawing competition at that west-side high school. Taylorsville? Strange that's all it took back then to create a memorable day - warm air, a little sunshine, the freedom of legally ditching school on a weekday to draw all day and flirt with west-side boys. I remember I won a T-shirt in the contest, but I think everyone did.

Time: 11:28 a.m.
On the iPod: "Girl Sailor," The Shins
Thoughts: This looks so much friendlier than it did a week ago. Where is all of the snow?

Time: 11:31 a.m.
On the iPod: "Sleeping Lessons," The Shins
Thoughts: Oh ... great.

Time: 11:47 a.m.
On the iPod: "Happy," The Wrens
Thoughts: I must have this song stashed in every one of my mixes by now. It still takes me back to the Kuskokwim River, walking my bike through an endless sugar bowl. When I first heard it that dark morning, with the sound of crickets chirping through the soft introduction, I just assumed the crickets were real. It never occurred to me back then that it was 30 below, and there were no crickets. I wonder how long it took me to figure that out? And wait, how much time do I have? Oh no ... it's 11:47? I should have turned around 15 minutes ago. Oh well, I can just skip lunch. 100 more feet ... then I'll go back.

Time: 12:02 p.m.
On the iPod: "Hate," Fiction Plane
Thoughts: What are you doing? It's after noon! Turn around now! Ted Stevens indicted ... could be the biggest news day for Juneau all year ... lots to do ... not the day to be late for work ... people will be angry ... but look at all that blue sky ... and the peak is right there.

Time: 12:12 p.m.
iPod: Off
Thoughts: Dear Mount Jumbo,
Thanks, I feel much better now.
Sincerely, Jill.