Many Moons of Persia

Yesterday morning it was snowing in Bozeman. It was June 11. I packed my big orange haul bag with wall gear for El Cap, re-packed it again seven more times, and then climbed on a plane at 5:30 p.m. bound for San Francisco.

Leaving the San Francisco airport, I asked the cab driver where he was from.

“Guess,” he said, in a thick accent.

I couldn’t.

“Everywhere and nowhere,” he said.

I asked how long he’d lived in San Francisco.

“Many moons,” he said pulling onto the interstate.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

The rearview mirror reflected his raised eyebrows. “Cyrus,” he said. “And it’s $5 for any more questions.”

I was quiet.

“I’m from Iran. Persia,” Cyrus said finally. “What are you doing on your visit here?” he asked.

I told him I was going to Yosemite, and he replied that he’d been there and seen climbers sleeping on the wall. I said that was why I was headed to the park, and his eyebrows raised again.

“You mean the very tallest one?” He asked.

I nodded.

“Well, nature’s kind of my thing, too,” Cyrus said. “I think it’s everybody’s thing. Rocks and trees and the earth.”

After he dropped me on Douglass Street, I lay on the floor of my dear friend Chessie’s apartment. Barefoot now, I could smell fuscia and wisteria blossoming in the backyard. Her dog Deckers and I awaited Chessie’s return. Deckers first entered my life when I was in college: Chessie came home one day from fishing with a furry black and brown puppy.

Deckers — an amazing part collie, part rottwieler — is named for the town in Colorado’s South Platte where Chess loved to fly fish. Deckers, the town, is also near Turkey Rocks, the place where I learned to crack climb. How cool to see strands of life past and present continuing to braid together.

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About Emily Stifler

I grew up in Vermont and live in Bozeman, Montana. I love topography: mountains, rocks, weather and people.
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