Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Facing the Demon (and by this I do not mean my child)

In which our Lady makes an Heroic Crossing. 

              Last week, we took a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve.  It was a really fun trip.  We stayed at Teklanika campgrounds, which are located 30 miles inside the park.  This meant that we had the opportunity to actually drive our own car into Denali, which is a big deal because there are only 4 days out of the whole year when people are allowed to drive through the whole thing—and you have to draw out in a lottery to do it.  I will admit that I was apprehensive about the trip because I was already tired before we left.  Apparently, Eva was tired too, because she was quite the little demon on the trip—running toward trouble every time, ignoring her parent’s pleas and ploys alike, and generally just being plain rebellious.  It made things a little rough, and I’m sure that her grandfather, Clyde (Jon’s dad), was thoroughly sick of her high pitched screams by the end.  No, it was not the easiest camping trip ever, but it was worth it. 
              It was beautiful.  In Anchorage, the weather is very “pacific north-west,” meaning that it stays cool, is very green, and is often cloudy.  But sunny weather awaited us just 4 hours to the north.  In fact, it was so hot that my now-Alaskan senses couldn’t handle it.  The sun actually seemed to beat down on my poor head (western novella style), and I had to beg the use of Jon’s hat to cover my sun-sensitive ears.  Oh, I was hot.  It was like nothing I’ve experienced since moving to Alaska.  I alternated between wanting to bask in the sun and necessarily hiding in the sparse shade. 
              On our last evening there, we went on a short hike along the river near our camp site.  As the day would warm, the rivers rose and spread into new streams as more snow melted down.  Thus, our dry little nature walk turned into something a little more wet than we originally planned.  My father-in-law has a wandering spirit, and he immediately set out crossing random streams.  I followed, and then found myself brought up short by nothing more than a 2 foot wide span of shallow water.  As I looked down at the center rock I was supposed to step on to cross, my mind flipped back to that fateful day last August, and I felt a strange sense of vertigo.  Paranoid?  Who, me?  But Jon was there with me (with Eva on his back this time), and he held my hand as I crossed.  I made it with no seizures.  Obviously.  Anyway, six streamlets later, I was doing fine, though the biggest of them gave me some serious flashbacks.  The whole experience was very similar to the day I had my seizure and fell last fall, but in a sort of alternate reality kind of way.  Fortunately, all I can remember of my previous seizure/stream experience is the before moments of stepping onto that fateful boulder.  It’s mostly a psychological demon—a simple sense of dread.  It’s easy to get over the aftermath when you don’t remember any of it.  Who says losing your memory can’t be a good thing?

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