A lonely climber’s tale of finding true love

I remember it well.  Feb 14, 1971.  Valentine’s Day.  THE day of the year to show that true love the depth of your adoration for the very ground that they walked on.  Oh, and I WAS in love!  Mary was her name.  School teacher glasses, long wavy hair (black as midnight), quiet and shy in the cutest way.  Today was the day that I was going to ask Mary to be mine – forever! I had held back no expense for my goddess.  Carefully choosing the shiniest, most highly polished stone from my rock collection, I spent hours the evening before carefully setting it in a stunning golden ring that I had procured from the 25-cent gumball machine (that’s right, the one with the good stuff, not those cheap dime machines).  I then judiciously chose the words for my card (‘You are the most beautiful woman in the world, will you marry me?’ I think is what I wrote) and placed it ever so proudly in her ornately decorated, home-made, first grade Valentine’s day box. 

Then I waited.

As she drew my card out of the twenty of so that she had received in our gift exchange, my heart palpated as sweat beaded across my forehead.  Opening the card, she smiled!  “Yes!  She would be mine!.”  Then she smiled even larger! 

Then she started laughing hysterically.  Suddenly my love, my dream girl, was surrounded by every other six-year-old girl in that class, all giggling and pointing at me. 

And so, I learned at a very young age, how cruel and painful love can be.

And I’m sure I’m not alone.  Many of you have likewise been jilted by lovers, left to heal the deep wounds of a vulnerable heart shattered and left for waste.

It is with those shattered dreams in mind that on this Valentine’s day, I want to offer hope . . . and healing. I want to help you learn to love again, to risk again, to smile again.  You see, I have discovered a new love, a truer love, a love that would never reject, never sneer, never cut down. 

I’m talking about jugs.  (No, not those kind of jugs!) 

The climbing hold jug. That impeccable piece of polyurethane that so perfectly fits the palm of your hand, it’s rounded edges begging to be caressed one moment and grabbed in a passionate rage the next.  The one hold that when all others fail you, will welcome you back, loser that you are, and invite you to throw caution (and technique) to the wind.  The hold that the tighter you over grip it, the closer it holds you.  And don’t worry, it is never ashamed to be photographed with you, even on those days when you are trying to position your body so as to cover up its enormous dimensions while your other hand flirts with the little crimp next door.

In the end, the jug knows that it is your only true love.  And so it sits there, patiently waiting as you pretend to move on to that which is clearly out of your league, knowing that soon you will be back with a sigh of “Oh thank god you are still here”. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Following my bliss,


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