Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 26, 2010

My 200th post

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:39 am
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Blogging becomes a way of life for us bloggers. A day without blogging is a day without documenting, exploring, or looking more deeply into our experiences, and today is a milestone: Post #200. Two hundred times I have sat down at my laptop to record what is going on in my Utah life. Two hundred times I have not known whether anyone but me is reading. The reality is that it wouldn’t matter a speck to me if I am my only reader; this blog records my ranger experiences mostly for my own remembrance. Inviting others along on the journey does, however, make it even more fun.

Sometimes, out of the blue, a thoughtful comment appears after an entry. Or, as happened Saturday, a stranger from Minnesota stops at the Visitor Center desk to see if “Ranger Kathryn with the blog” is working. (Thanks, by the way! I wish I could have visited with you!) Or, a Facebook friend admits to following the blog and loving it.

I’ll keep sharing, keep photographing, keep writing about my awe at the Utah part of the universe and at this amazing life journey. As for you: read when you can, comment when you’re moved. Thanks for coming along with me. Wish you were here.

BTR: Battle won

More knots I've learned to tie: Radium Release Hitch (a load-releasing hitch to lengthen the line if needed) with long and short Tandem Prusiks

(Continued from previous post)

This was no ordinary battle; it was within myself, and between two opposing parts of me. Anyone who has ever entertained “I can” and “I can’t” at the same time knows what I’m talking about.

Let’s look at this improbable situation. You take a bunch of toned, intelligent, wilderness-skilled, rock-climbing, strong, motivated, mostly-young (mean age late 20s) park rangers from around the country and send them to Rescue School. Then you throw in a 53-year-old mom who has rappelled only a couple dozen times, has no upper body strength, has never packed a backpack, gets confused by physics and couldn’t tie any knots other than her shoes. An improbable scenario — but it was reality.

Crazy, I tell you! But, for some reason, everything in me resonated when I first read about this training back in January. I knew that I knew that I knew that I wanted to apply for this. My supervisor’s “You’ll never get in, but you can apply” didn’t deter me, and my lack of knot skills was just a (large) speed bump that I needed to navigate. I believe the real test was deep within. I had nothing to prove to anyone; I had only to validate my abilities to myself, and discover what well of strength I could draw on. Maybe folks who climb Mt Everest have the same motivations.

The week was a rigorous lesson in listening to my heart. The gutsy, fearless, can-do part of my heart was wanting the challenge; the realistic/reasonable part was screaming, “What were you THINKING?!?!” (“I can,” “I can’t…”) But there I was, no backing out, no discussion between Heart 1 and Heart 2 — just jump in and DO THE THING. My greatest difficulty was in resisting the temptation to compare myself with others, and that was the huge chasm into which I fell on Day 3.

I had to have The Talk with myself at that low point: “You are unique. Your worth and value do not depend on your abilities, success, intellect, wit, strength, or competency. You are you. Bring what you have to the table, and quit looking at everyone else’s proficiency.” That was a turning point. It was a lesson I clearly had to learn. I am quite certain I haven’t fully learned it yet, but this was a crucial opportunity. I have got to quit measuring my worth against others.

I will be pondering these things, and the many more that come up from this course, for some time.

Certificate of Completion

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