Love Dogs Connection

Dear Steph,
I don’t have a gear or life question or need climbing advice, but I am writing to say thank you, and to acknowledge a heartfelt connection I felt when reading your post “Love Dogs,” which Gena Hamshaw shared this past Sunday in her Weekend Reading Series. On the face of it we could not be more different: I am 61, and have lived with mild cerebral palsy all my life. The same year you started your life as a sponsored climber I was also diagnosed with MS. Though we each followed very different trajectories to get there, it sounds like we both sought healing and peace in nature and discovering what is essential along the way. I, too, majored in English, and taught writing and creative writing at the university level. You could have been one of my students in 1991 if you had been attending the University of Idaho. ☺
I have been on an amazing healing journey the last 21 years and my love of nature has led the way. I don’t get to the remote places you live and climb in often, but I have learned how to connect where I am. I also have two beautiful dogs in my life who help me walk. And I became a vegan 9 years ago, which has given me the ability to walk again everyday, to climb stairs down to the beach and back up, and to do many things I’d never thought I’d do again or ever. It’s a quiet slow life, and it’s not as minimal as yours, but there are many convergent affinities: seeing time, space, quiet and firewood as riches are among those. (The last one really makes me smile.)
Thank you for your beautiful story about your dogs. I think my favorite phrase in it was “love doesn’t have math.” Yes! My two Silken Windhounds are different from each other, too, and I am so blessed to have them together and watch them accept one another and learn from each other and I from them.
I signed up to get your new posts and have enjoyed looking at your recipes (cardomom rolls! kale salad!) and reading around a little. I also write a blog called Plant-Based Slow Motion Miracle. I’m thinking you might feel some of the affinities we share if you read my latest post “At Home in the World.” I would be honored if you had time to read it.
As a visual artist as well as a writer I chose to hang on to a few more of my things than you may have, but the lessons of being in the present you describe are nonetheless perfectly relevant. I am grateful to my friend Gena for putting your words in my path. Thank you for your bright spirit and faith in love.
Many blessings to you, Steph—

Hi Maria,
Thanks for sending me to your blog (and pictures of Romeo and Cotton!). I agree with you, life is what we choose to focus on, and I can see you are living a very beautiful life. Thank you very much for writing to me!

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