Communication and a hint of spring

Sometimes I do not go about things the right way.  Sometimes I offend my friends and people I love inadvertently in my quest to educate the world about things that I think are important.  For those things, I am truly sorry.  I apologize for any and all harm I have done.  I do not mean anything personal in my posts on my blog.  If I have something personal to say to someone, most of the time, I just happen to have their phone number, too.  If it is personal, I will contact them on a forum other than the global one that my blog has become.  Lessons learned the hard way, unfortunately, but learned, nevertheless.  I appreciate the grace and forgiveness that my friends have afforded me, and also the continued amount of rope to hang myself with, if I so choose to make a similar mistake in the future.  I am doing my best not to repeat past mistakes, especially in communication.

Communication is very different since this pandemic began.  In the usual, pre-pandemic sense, I would give someone a fist bump or a hug to say, “Thank you, it’s good to see you, and everything’s okay.”  Now, I have to decide whether to call them or text them or Facebook Message them or FaceTime them or….  And then I have to find the words to say.  A fist bump or a hug says so much.  SO much!  I never realized how much gestures mean and how much contact means until this pandemic came along and we became unable to have contact or get near enough to each other to do anything other than shout our condolences or whatever we need to say.  We have to use our words now.  I thought I was good at words.  It turns out that I am not always as good at words as I think I am, especially when it comes to delicate situations or mistakes or apologies or anything intimate that happens to really matter!  The closer the person is to me, the worse I am at using my words, too.  I have discovered that.  I have also discovered that I am remarkably close to some people that I did not realize I was that close to.  For example, my climbing buddies.  I went to the climbing gym or climbing outdoors with them or climbing with them in some form almost every day.  When you see people every day or very often, you cannot imagine a day of not seeing them, and you notice when they are not there.  Since the gym has been closed (it is now open for climbing only), I have realized how incredibly important my climbing buddies are to both my motivation and my mental health.  They are part of that lifeblood of climbing!  I miss them.  I miss them so much.  I am going to start going back to the gym as soon as I make sure I am 100% over the pneumonia and no longer compromised so that I can at least see my climbing buddies, even if I can only get within six feet of them.  Looking into another person’s eyes is remarkably powerful and incredible.  It is like looking into their personal universe, and they into yours, and it is a connection that you do not even get with the FaceTime and Zoom meetings, because nobody is truly looking at the camera, and even then, you are looking at a camera, not into someone’s eyes.  Faces are also important.  Gestures are important.  Everything about the person-to-person encounter is important because we communicate in so many ways that we are not even aware of!  Our body language, our facial expressions, and our eye contact are all lost when we cannot sit down face-to-face with each other.  All of those are means of communication that connect us.  That is why it is so easy to misinterpret simple words on a screen or a page if there are no other cues to indicate how they are to be taken.  Words.  Use your words…carefully.  Once a word is spoken, it can never be taken back.  Remember that.  Words can be infinitely worse than sticks and stones because words endure and can be passed on forever.

On a lighter note, Spring is beginning to spring here in Montana.  Due to the strange weather we had last year, some of the trees and plants are not sure what exactly they are supposed to be doing and when, so we have some areas in full bloom and some areas devoid of any springy-ness whatsoever, but it will all catch up.  What we could really use is some rain, which is predicted in the form of thunderstorms later today.  Hopefully we actually get rain and not just wind and lightning.  The lightning could be catastrophic, as dry as it is, as far as fires go.  The mountains have plenty of snow, and this last week has been so warm that some of that snowpack has begun to melt, causing the rivers to rise.  We are not under any flood warnings to speak of (at least I have not heard that we are thus far), but that can change quickly as many mountains as we have and as much snow as they hold right now.  I hope that the weather cooperates for some outdoor climbing this year, too.  Last year, it was a pattern of two or three days of rain, then dry for the two days required to really dry out the sandstone good, then two or three more days of rain (meaning no climbing got done), and so on.  In October, the weather decided to go from that pattern of weather to full-blown winter, however our winter was peculiar as well.  We did not have the deep freeze in February that we normally have, nor did we have the amount of snow that we usually do in the valleys.  The weather in April was what we should have had in February, and that is why the trees and plants are a bit shy about coming out of hiding.  They are not even sure what time of the year it is, I am sure!  Today, though, is a typical Montana spring day, for once, and I am going to enjoy it.  Thunderstorms, or come what may, I will enjoy it.  I hope your day is also enjoyable.

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