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.
“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.
“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.