Some days I do not feel like running. I want to go slower. And really see where I am. I want to feel my foot curve against the ground, acknowledge each step, each rock, each slant along the path to wherever it is I am going. I want to not feel guilty if I want to stop and just look around.
Today, D and I went for a hike. We decided to go to the wind caves outside town. On the drive out the sky was Utah blue. Although we could see storm clouds rolling in across the valley we drove on and up the canyon. Parked. And then began the climb. Thinking we would see what comes of it. And adjust.
I had never been to the wind caves before. The landscape along the way is harsh. Jagged rocks stretch down the mountain as if they’ve had enough of living so far away. The colors of spring have not made it here yet. The grasses are still wary of winter. Dried out. Brown. And waiting.
We are in what D calls a shoulder season. That season between seasons. Where change is happening in places you can’t see. Where new life is beginning. And where you want so badly to see improvement. But you don’t.
Within a few hundred feet along the path the temperature dropped. The wind picked up and snow flecks blew through the trees. So we stopped. Turned to look down the canyon at the storm approaching. Acknowledged it. And decided to keep going.
Last week was a big week. My person had a PET scan scheduled. This procedure would tell us if we get to plan for the future. Or not. This scan would tell us whether the treatments were really treating anything at all.
Naturally, I summoned people far away. Or at least, farther than I have ever been. Or will go. In this lifetime.
I felt I needed to advocate for my person. Because sometimes, he is so busy being agreeable, so accepting of this challenge, so quietly working on doing what he can do to get better – that he might forget to ask for help – getting better. I felt I needed to make some noise in his corner. So that people far away would not forget. So that people far away could not ignore him.
The next day I got a phone call. From my person.
“I am in remission,” he said. “They can’t find the cancer.”
I was at work. I was sitting at my desk. I was crying over my keyboard. And I was happy.
As D and I walked up to the caves I asked how they got there. What caused them. What made them so special?
“Magic,” he said.
I liked that. Even though I knew it wasn’t true. I kind of wanted it to be. Because sometimes it’s nice to think that you can control the weather. That you can make it snow because you want it to. Or harness the sun. Pull it out from behind the clouds. And clear the sky. Because you want it to.
Then we got there. And I found that they were not magical. They were just old rock formations with icicles clinging to the sides. A few lay in pieces in the shadows. The wind caves are the result of water and erosion over the course of a millennia. And I guess that is a magic of sorts. Taking a sheer rock face and making it disappear. Turning it into a window frame. To show you just how far you have come from being down.
It is a quiet place. The caves are not dark. They are not scary. They just hug you. And they protect you when you need protecting.
I thought of my person. And his own climb these past four months. How he can walk again. And then I think of five months ago. And how I never thought I would say that he couldn’t.
We headed back down to the car. The snow picked up. Bigger flakes now.
Clouds crept through the canyon. As we descended we picked our way through them. And then it got warmer. And then the snow eased. And the sun came out.
A web site I found later said that the wind caves are also known as the Witch’s Castle. I have never heard any of the locals call them that. I have never heard anybody call them that. But then again, I haven’t heard anyone talk about magic in a long time. The good kind, or the bad. I wish more people would.
Because I like the idea that someone with powers I do not have exists. Somewhere high. Somewhere hard to get to. I like thinking that they can make something out of nothing. And make other things disappear entirely.