Okay, get up off your couch and do something

Remember the woman who fell in Moab and was rescued by her dog?   A new story about her this morning:


‘How’s This For Rehab?’

Injured Dillon adventure
racer’s return to competition stuns onlookers in Buena Vista, doctor in

Click to

Danelle Ballengee was back at it Saturday, winning a 12-hour adventure
race in Buena Vista as a solo female competitor. She completed the race in a
time that would’ve made her the fifth-place solo male

Special to the Daily/Winston

summit daily news

16, 2007


BUENA VISTA — The poor guy had no idea. Jogging wearily alongside a
30-something woman during Saturday’s Adventure Xstream 12-hour adventure race in
Buena Vista, he tried to make conversation.

“Is this your first
adventure race?” he asked.

One can only imagine what went through Danelle
Ballengee’s mind when she heard that question, but she did not flinch. Instead,
the two-time world champion replied, “No, I’ve done a couple others. How about

The man explained that he, too, had done a few races in his time,
swearing that he is normally in better shape and closer to the front of the
pack. Ballengee acknowledged his reply and kept her eyes on the trail. Shortly
thereafter the man stopped running and began to walk. Ballengee kept

By the time she completed the 60-mile course (roughly the
distance from Golden to Silverthorne), 11 1/2 hours after she started,
Ballengee had done what others believed it would take a year to do. Only she had
done it in about 40 percent of that time, just five months after her now-famous
and near-fatal 60-foot fall in the Moab backcountry last December. The
trail-running accident left her unsheltered and stranded for more than two days
and two nights before a search party located her, dying on a frozen rock,
crippled with a shattered pelvis.

Her doctors said it would be 3-6
months before Ballengee might walk again. Many people who break their pelvis
this severely — in essence, the left side was no longer attached to the right —
don’t last longer than 12 hours before they perish due to internal bleeding, the
doctors told her.

That didn’t stop her from signing up two days before
the race, last Thursday, just a couple months after getting out of a wheelchair.
She had intended to do the sprint course with a friend, but a pair of potential
partners fell through and you’re not allowed to race the sprint course as a
solo. What the hell, she figured, and she signed up for the 12-hour course

Before the race, Ballengee said the longest workout she had done
since December lasted about three hours — and that included plenty of rest
tossed in with hiking, running and mountain biking stints. She did not tell her
doctors that she intended to race. Nor did she tell her physical therapist until
after she’d signed up.

Balancing nerves, doubt and a growing hunger to
test herself like she’d done so many times before, Ballengee went into the race
with few expectations. “I was just going to see how far I could get,” she said.
“I really didn’t think I could finish.”

Will and Jenny Newcomer, who run
the Xstream series, were admittedly uneasy when Ballengee signed up. They talked
at length with the three-time Primal Quest champion about what the course
entailed, making sure she knew exactly what she would be entering into. “The
last thing we wanted,” Jenny Newcomer said, “was for her to get re-injured
during our event.”

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE:  http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20070516/SPORTS/70516011

Yay her.

Happy Earth Day

Earth_day It’s Earth Day.   One very tiny thing you can do today: run on over to your local Whole Foods and buy a few groceries so you can get one of the cool bags they’re giving away.  Super lightweight, hold a bunch of stuff, and free this month with a purchase. 

They’re really terrific, and even if you think global warming is a crock, it can’t HURT anything to try to stop using plastic bags, right?

Hugs and kisses to Mother Earth. X O X O

Writing my way back

Lit_candle I made a choice when I began writing this blog that I would try to stay away from politics and world news.   As I am a somewhat political and passionate person, that’s proving to be more difficult as time goes by, and today, I find it impossible. 
Often, because I am a writer, and a mother and a citizen of this planet who dearly hopes to leave it a tiny bit better than when I arrived, events leave me sorrowful or full of despair.  By writing, I am sometimes able to write myself back to faith.

For two days, I tried to duck the news pouring out of Virginia.  Resolutely, obstinately covering my eyes, my ears, and making noise–lalalalala–so the news did not get in. As if that would make it disappear.  As if, in my good
fortune, it would not be.  Sometimes, it seems we are all so very afraid. Afraid of all kinds of things.  Of everything. All of us.  What terrible
things are lurking…there, up ahead?

One of my little habits in airports is to pray for the soldiers I see.  It’s nothing elaborate, just a simple "take care of that one," and "that one," and upon seeing the rosy cheeks of a girl, "oh, especially her."  I hate the war and it overwhelms me and I don’t know what to do about it, and finally, I settled on this little ritual.

Sometimes, on a long layover, I’ll go out looking for uniforms.  On this trip, two soldiers sat next to me on the plane.  One was headed to Iraq in two months, and the other, older and more experienced-and Marine-had already been and spent the flight giving him advice.  The one next to me made me think of my youngest, with his pale brown skin and big eyes. He was sturdy and muscular and Hispanic, with a jailhouse style tattoo of a dagger emblazoned over the tender inner flesh of his left forearm, which he leaned on to listen to the Marine across the aisle. He drank an impressive number of beers, while the Marine drank a similarly impressive amount of Bacardi, both of them in one flat hour.  I had a good long time to ask for special providence for him.  I wondered if his mother was in LA, or if he’d been to see a sister.  He was polite to me, apologized at the end of the flight for
his rowdiness.  I saw him afterward at the airport, smoking with hard eyes.

I was thinking of him, this man-child, when the first news arrived out of Virginia. It demolished me.  Took the air out of me. And what can I do, after all?  What can any of us do?

But I am a human being living in this country.  I am a mother of children this age.  I am a writer who has been actively working toward peace for as long as I have been able to express myself.  I am a citizen of the world that produced this troubled soul.  In the end, there is no ducking it.  I am responsible, too.  If that is so, I must pay attention.  Last night, I could not sleep, disturbed by all the sorrow in the air, by the loss and the great rip in the fabric that is ourselves.  I let the news in.

Of course, the terrible thing hanging in the air arrived at Virginia Tech, where that boy-they are calling him a man, but he wasn’t-killed so many people.  So many.  The weight of it now, after so much, staggers us.  We don’t know what to do with it, how to even start talking about it.  Now, after so much.  I thought of the soldiers on the plane, who have to inure themselves to ordinary life in order to survive war time.  I thought of the war and the cell-phone videos of Saddam Hussein being hanged.

I thought of the dancer who was killed in Virginia, whose brother loved her. I thought of the students who were worried about exams on Thursday and those who had too many beers on Saturday night and those who went home for the last time a weekend ago and now won’t be doing any of those things.  I thought of someone walking into the same ordinary classroom that she always attended on Monday mornings.  I thought of the parents of the assassin.  I thouhgt of him, obliterating his face, and how much hate that evinces. How much hate he unleashed in the world.

A violent society produces violent people. Have there ever been peaceful societies where these things don’t happen?  I don’t know.  From here, it doesn’t seem like it.  And yet, we continue to wish for it, don’t we? We want a society where our children are safe and broken humans find assistance instead of buying weapons and spraying bullets into a crowded room.

It’s so easy to get lost in a world with so many people. 300 million of us in this country alone.  300 million individual human beings, each one with longings and hopes and dreams and broken places.  How can some of them not slip through the cracks?

We have so much material comfort now, so much ease and plenty (too much) to eat and too many ways to spend our time and too many choices to make without enough guidance or faith and few willing to don the robes of elder, to take the lamp and hold it up high for others to follow.

In the darkness, there comes the challenge–not how do we change this, but what can I do?  How do I serve now, and how do I prepare myself to be an elder, a wise one, when the time comes?  Each of us has seasons to serve in particular capacities, and if we are willing, we can work toward that better vision. What if each individual human has enough to eat and a clean warm bed, and access to medical care? What if our  highest goal was not to die the richest of them all but to serve the highest good, that of realizing the society we have it in us to create?

Because we do have it in us. I have it in me.  You have it in you.  The world resides within each of us.

I suppose my place in this picture is always the same. I am earnest. I am nurturing.   I use my words to attempt to heal broken hearts and humans in my small ways, through novels about people who have survived and triumphed; though classes for wounded or searching artists; through this blog, which is meant to be a peaceful pool and an exploration of the writer’s craft. It seems very small in a world that’s so full of trauma, but in the end, we can only do what we do.

I have been blessed to know some powerful elders in my life.  One thing they have in common is their faith.   My grandmother, who prayed without ceasing her entire life.  My late mother-in-law, who could fill a room with light when she lifted her voice in prayer.  My friend Kathryn, a Native American teacher, who led me to healing myself.  The mother of my friend Lynn was a devout Christian, the wife of a preacher, who put a great deal of stock in prayer.  She prayed for those she knew and those she did not, and when she
died, another woman in her church asked Lynn to take up the mantle.  "You have no idea how many people she was holding up by the power of her prayers."   She, was a light in the darkness of disease and alcoholism and lost women and broken children.  She served with her hands and her money and her heart, but she served most fiercely with prayer.

So, in dark times, there is where I go-to prayers and to words. What can I do? I can pour my sorrow into prayers for the lost and the dead and the grieving.  Here, I have written myself into believing again.
Here, I light my own candle.
And hold it aloft.