Light Brights

A year ago, if someone had asked me, theoretically, how I would get through a tough time, I would have tried to come up with an extrapolation on inner strength and resolve. Today, I know it runs much deeper than that. Deeper even than any extent of myself; rather, my strength comes from the incredible network of people in my life. My family; by blood and by travel.

In this post, I narrow the field to a celebration of the women who grace my world.

Up until a year ago I would have defined myself as a “guy’s girl”, a label with which a large population of women like to mantle themselves.

Some six months ago a familiar conversation arose between a co-worker and I; I have been having it since the girls’ dorms at summer camp and the script is pretty common. We sit around in groups and talk about how much we prefer hanging out with guys. In most cases it seems based on cruelty of the packs of rabid pubescent girls who roved the halls in Middle and High School, fueling their faltering egos by preying on the insecurities of others.

Still, there I stood as a young woman, having the same conversation. My co-worker said, “we get along really well, which is strange because I’m such a guy’s girl.” I was about to jump in, stating my own similar stance, at which point we would go on to marvel at how, that being a shared dynamic, it was all the more unique and reasonable that we got along. But I stopped, and in an uncommon show of maturity, thought before I spoke. I realized that in fact most of my near and dear ones are female, that quite frankly I did not like this particular co-worker very much, and whatever I thought I had to prove by stating these things, was not fundamental to my definition of myself. Instead I sat back and gave thanks. I gave thanks that…

I have a mother who, together, we stay up past our bed-times on stormy nights to do Light Bright sets of rocket-ships.

I have a little sister who reminds me that part of the fun in being a girl is dressing up and looking cute.

Both of these women give me fashion advice and share their wardrobes with me, even when I didn’t know I needed it.

I have an incredibly conscious, intelligent, and beautiful nest of girls from college amongst whom we can share most any triumph or tribulation and know that we love and support one another all the more for both.

In my darkest days, it was a woman who guided me to light. and I share the experience of that journey with girls; we the Dirty Mooners.

My passion for hiking and biking, and just generally getting down and dirty tends to keep me in largely male dominated arenas. I enjoy and am comfortable with this fact. It also makes me all the more appreciative and sure of the women who I encounter out there. When you are miles away from showers, mirrors, curling irons and straighteners your chances of encountering a “not my kind of gal” diminish.

Women like Terrapin Flyer and Trouble made the Pacific Crest Trail possible for me. My heart called their names even when many miles stood between us. I drew immeasurable solace just knowing they were out there somewhere, prevailing.

Women like Kelley and Sheila, who show me to ride my hardest and have my funnest every time we hit the trails.

Then there are my guardians. Those women who are no longer here physically but who speak to and through me. Who make themselves known when I pitch about in fields of solitude. Who wink from stars above,  who whisper on the winds, who embrace in the sun’s warming rays.

I am humbled to be enmeshed in a network like this. I know there is no way I can deserve it or do it justice, except to play my part in the greater weave of our fabric. To sing my colors and shine my song, rejoicing in it. But most of all, I can be grateful. So,

Thank you girls. Together we are indomitable.

One thought on “Light Brights

  1. Kyle Da Cook says:

    I entirely understand what you mean, Bethany.

    Alaskans have a great quote regarding themselves and society up here:

    “Alaska is filled with people who don’t want to be around people who are around people who don’t want to be around people.”

    In short, the reality of our situation is most often summed up simply and succinctly – we love those who love us in the way we see fit, which may or may not be the same.

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