Monday, April 20, 2009

The Long Road Home

I just returned from wandering the desert for 4 days, searching for ancient ruins and petroglyphs.

On Friday, my friend Kim and I hiked for 9 hours straight, almost without stopping, trying to find some ruins we had sketchy directions to. It was quite an adventure: We had to get permission from a cranky woman to walk across her land into the canyon where the ruins were, then bushwhack our way downstream for several miles, then climb up pouroffs and cliffs of a side canyon for a couple more miles. At one point I was scritching on my belly over a big sandstone boulder on a cliff ledge, trying to avoid falling to my death. We finally turned around without finding the ruins, and got back to the trailhead well after dark, nauseated and headachy and dehydrated.

Why, you might ask, would any sane person do this to herself?

The short answer is: I'm obsessed with finding ruins, rock art, and any kind of artifact.

The long answer is: I think it has something to do with being adopted. Searching for ruins, pot shards, projectile points, ancient corncobs, granaries, pictographs and petroglyphs replicates "The Search"--for self, identity, ancestors, birthparents.

I talked to Kim about this obsesssion--she has it too, but she's not adopted. I asked her what it means to her to goat around the wilderness, searching for artifacts. She says she likes (and I mean really likes--we were both so stubbon about finding those hidden ruins, we almost ended up spending the night huddled under a rock ledge; we just couldn't admit defeat and turn toward home) it because it's a like a treasure hunt.

But I really think that for me it's something more than that. In searching for, finding, and trying to decipher rock art, a very hidden part of myself thinks I will learn something about that very hidden part of myself.

This whole process reminds me of a dream I once had in which I was digging around in my backyard, and I uncovered some human skulls. They had been embellished with decorative carvings and were very beautiful. They were the skulls of my long-lost ancestors, and finding them led me to a great epiphany in the dream--sadly, a non-verbal epiphany, but in retrospect, I realize that this dream was about finding my personal history, my true identity, very close to home--in my own backyard--that is to say, in myself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Giveaway Winner!

I must say, I am impressed. Your stories of peeing in the wilderness are very touching. Kim gets special recognition for writing a rhyming poem about peeing her pants, and Maggie gets an honorable mention for admitting she used to pee outside while wearing full colonial regalia.

All the responses are funny and/or heartwarming; I regret not having copies of the book to give to all of you for baring your, er, souls for all the blogosphere to see.

(If you haven't yet read the responses for the giveaway, I heartily encourage you to do so; they're fabulous. And you can always add one of your own. Everyone loves a good wilderness/pee story, right?)

So, the results are in: I wrote your names on pieces of paper, put them in a bowl, and had my husband draw a name, and the winner is: Heather! You, lucky dog, are the soon-to-be owner of a brand- spankin'-new copy of The Double-Daring Book for Girls. (Heather, email me at writerinres2004 at yahoo dot com and let me know what snail mail address you'd like me to send the book to.)

I'm off to the desert to backpack and rejuvenate (and pee in the wilderness). See you next week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Double Dog Dare Ya--Book Giveaway

Ok, so once upon a time, I was a wilderness guide. I hiked up big mountains, paddled through whitewater, shinnied my way through sandstone caves, and slept under the stars a whole lot.

But one of the most useful things I learned how to do was pee outside without, um, getting myself all wet. There was a lot of trial and error, and I have to admit, I learned a few things the hard way.

But you don't have to make the same mistakes I did because in The Double-Daring Book for Girls, the newly-launched sequel to the wildly popular Daring Book for Girls by Miriam Peskowitz and Andrea Buchanan, you will find a little section about "going to the bathroom in the woods." I am extremely proud to say that little section was written based upon my techniques. Yes, folks, I provided wilderness bathroom methods consultation for this fine book. (You should have seen me giving a demonstration to the author at our local cafe. Well, maybe you did.)

There are lots of other super cool things in this book, most of them far less scatalogical, aimed at girls ages 7-14. To read an interview with Miriam Peskowitz, read this post at My American Meltingpot.

At any rate, I have a hot-off-the-presses copy of Double Daring to give away to someone who comments on this post with a good story about being (not necessarily peeing) in the wilderness. Comment by midnight on Friday, April 10 to be eligible.