Anacortes Crossing

This week has been very challenging for me. The details, I think, are beyond the purview of this blog; perhaps it suffices to say that I have been observing the anniversary of a very confusing time. I have a natural tendancy to dwell on the dour; anyone who knows me knows this. Even reflecting on things that turned out well, I focus on what went wrong and why it was my own fault. It’s a knee jerk reaction. What I’m reflecting on now was such a hodge-podge of the good, the bad, the wonderful, the painful, the beautiful, the impossible, I scarcely know how to sort it out in my own mind. I look for errors I made, and I find them; but my remorse is tempered by the beauty I experienced. I try to focus (for a change) on amazement and wonder, and these feelings are marbled with regret. This isn’t simple. It’s not linear. It’s not something that I felt even remotely prepared for, yet I found myself in this situation nonetheless, and I had to muddle through as well as I could, trying to minimize damage…

…which brings me to the title of this blog entry. Anacortes Crossing is the name of a peak in the North Cascades of Washington state. I traversed it in July of 2002, with a group of “well-chosen companions,” to borrow a few words from Barry Lopez. It was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. As happens in any intense situation, all of my shit came up. I had to face my fears, over and over again; and I kept going. I had to deal with my distrust of my own abilities; and I kept going. I had to surrender my ego and rely on others; and I kept going. I cried on that hike, at a time in my life when I never, ever cried. And I kept going. The photo that accompanies my profile on this site is from the morning before that hike. When my yoga teachers advise me, at the beginning of class, to focus on something essential or beautiful to me, as often as not my thoughts are drawn to Anacortes Crossing. This is part of my psyche now; incontravertible proof that even when faced with a difficult situation that I don’t think I’m able to handle, committment, good friends, and surrender of ego can ease me through to the other side. So “Anacortes Crossing” has been my mantra recently, a talisman for me to hold when my mind starts travelling down its rougher byways.