Grief is personal knowledge. We didn’t need to understand. We read the way the poems shaped her shoulders against the white slopes, or the way her head bowed after each one — starting with the chin and ending with the eyelids. Snowflakes dusted her hair and dampened her hands. She’d wipe them against her pants or against her reddening cheeks and she slowly dampened, too, unraveling there in the morning glow. … More From the Journal: Dampened
These feats seem narrow and superficial when I compare them to the work my brain does when dreaming at night. The nightmares are such because they contradict me, risk everything, go beyond the threat of death by hypothetically starting the process. … More The dreams that scare me and how they nurture my curiosity
We quake in defiance of peripheral death. How we all engage in some form of spastic fervor to never be forgotten. Me saying that most climbers choose their mountains for a reason, could also be me saying that most people choose (however subconscious) what is to be perceived as an obstacle in their own lives. … More From the Journal: Echoes
Funny how I impose my loneliness and social anxiety onto them, in that I refuse in having them acknowledge me by refusing to acknowledge them. It really is a matter of self in these moments. … More From the Journal: Exhales of Air
When the festival began at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, I pitched my tent into a corner of the designated grass field, near the barbed-wire fence, so strangers couldn’t flank me on all sides (pro-tip?). I’m glad I did so; when the crowds arrived, tents were stacked next to each other like dominoes—and domino pieces are exactly what I thought of that very night. At 2:45 a.m., I woke to my tent pressed against my face. … More My First Red Rock Rendezvous
Patrick kneels into the mattress and leans over me.
“Sara,” he whispers. I open my eyes slow—
“The power keeps going in and out.” … More From the Journal: Mountain Farm Life
Fittingly abstract, but alluringly stoic. She is obviously not facing into the light, but she is pensive…who is she?
If I had to pinpoint the questions I asked myself the most this past year, they would be thus: Who am I, really? and What are my intentions? … More My Day of Birth, 2017: Persona
The cracks in my skin and the chalk that settles there, skin woven, white lace over burning sand. These are the things I’ve remembered, among things I carry, ephemeral as the action of having written them down: … More Yosemite Notes: The Things I Carry
It’s a Monday in Salt Lake City when we arrive and we’re sweaty and pressing Hydro Flasks into bathroom sinks, pens full of ink for the pages in our palm-sized notebooks and stacks of freshly-printed business cards. Locals always know when to cross the streets before we do. Exhibitors in the Salt Palace are in a mad dash to finish their booths and large crates of gear line the streets. We pick up our badges and wander around an outdoor mall. … More Outtakes and Off-the-Record Reality: Outdoor Retailer
All our shoulders are sore. My feet incite anxiety when they get wet. Tired legs. Today is more or less a do-nothing day but my body is in a funk. I’m quiet. Almost somber. Energy low. Raging headache. I ask Hatie for some of her Advil. I’m in an endurance hangover, it seems. I don’t even want to expend the energy talking so I daydream about napping. … More Boundary Waters, Part 3: Memory of Sounds
I can’t explain everything, honestly. We got lost. We might have been in Canada for a few hours, who knows. The water levels this year are high, Hatie says, and the islands don’t look the same – nothing really was matching the map anymore. So we paddled and paddled. Sonya brought an Oru Kayak and her paddling was even more exhausting I’m sure. We also decided to wear stick-on mustaches today; I have my silver leggings, Hatie has gold, and Sonya is decked out in champagne leggings and a matching tutu. We could most certainly be the lost girls of Peter Pan. … More Boundary Waters, Part 2: Lost
Sonya has started the fire and the light against the lake fools you into believing that if you follow the stone steps down to the water’s edge, you’ll fall away, airborne. Yet as romantic as it all may be, the mosquitoes are what keep you sane and seated, layered in clothing and swatting, occasionally smearing blood that is hopefully yours. … More Boundary Waters, Part 1: Inception
Sometimes it is steam over the stove, watery eyes, days passing like the hairs that slip from my head, tendrils of fate, always happening. They leave evidence to where I’ve been, who I’ve touched, what clothes I’ve worn; yet I’ll never know when or how, exactly. All I can do is close my eyes … More Write Anything, Memory
I caught myself pondering what aspects of my life I controlled. Are they small things? Big things? Strange things? How do I even define control? I started jotting down a list and eventually categorized them into three groups of things I feel I control, have trouble controlling, have no control. Then I made it look pretty, because that’s how my brain works best (a fine example of control): … More Dither Me This #9: Control
My husband has a point, despite his phallic humor. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure many are simply curious. Maybe they’re aware of how difficult writing can be going solo and that successful writers often do write for an entity. And in relation to the outdoors, I admit, that exposure tends to come on behalf of a company or magazine promoting your work, hiring you on, or sponsoring further content. But more often than not, I get the feeling that I’m about to be judged when people ask me. … More Who Do You Write For?
I wake up before Sonya, eat granola, snap peas, and sweet tomatoes with the back of the Jeep as my awning. Chug water. Look at the other water jug I peed into last night. Man was that rough. I could barely control it… … More My 5Point Journey, Part 3: Writing the Future from Mountainous Nothings
I get my shit together, even take a real shit by the trees, snap a few pictures of the marbled white and green grass before dusting off my Jeep for the cruise into town. Even find a note from Sonya tucked into the door handle. … More My 5Point Journey, Part 2: Twilight Zone Semantics and Backdoor Tequila
by Sara Aranda 4.19.17 I flip on the high beams, hunch over the steering wheel glass-eyed and squinting to read the land of yet another unknown place. Pavement ends and my Jeep bounces deeper into the hills of Prince Creek Road. Residents in town had described dirt and cattle gates, then voilà, campsites on either … More My 5Point Journey, Part 1: Rising Bird of Night
By Sara Aranda This piece takes a look at mental health issues that often coincide with an extended injury. I write from my own (current) experience, and that is it. But the more I talk about these things, the more I learn how common they are; yet how silent and detrimental the rabbit hole can … More Injury Diary: Cyclical Mourning
12.31.16 Vegas. Everyone has their own agenda. But we don’t climb because of wet rock and it continues to drizzle lightly throughout the day. Clouds saunter across the buttresses and ridgelines—desaturation, more or less, like ships penciled by a thick fog, mooring cautiously. I feel like I’m the verge of a head cold. Why does … More Red Rock and Life Lessons