When my dear friend handed me this little package as a thank you gift the other day, my heart nearly exploded. It took nearly all my self control to not burst into tears of love and gratitude and wonder at my life. When I got home hours later, I did cry.
This package contains pieces of the hearts of three lovely women I’m lucky to have in my life: The incredible mountain guide and writer Charlotte Austin; the ever-talented and generous artist Claire Giordano; and the infallible mountain woman Teresa Hagerty.
Looking at this little package of mountain notecards symbolizes many aspects of my mountain life.
The two carabiners attached to the mountain notecards are my own.
This past weekend I spent two days mountainside with Teresa teaching two eager-to-learn ladies basic mountaineering skills. It was glorious, and admittedly, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Tromping around in the snow in crampons, tied into the rope and complete with clanking carabiners, pulleys, and belay device. Returning home exhausted, sunburned, and incredibly happy in a way that only being on a mountain can provide. In the shuffle of gear and skill demonstration, two of my carabiners ended up in Teresa’s stuff. This is how she chose to return them.
The purple paracord signifies our online community, Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women, or PNWOW. Teresa and I met through this group two years ago and I was able to wiggle my way into her life and make her my mentor. Since then, she’s taught me nearly everything I know about traveling on glaciers and sleeping in snow. PNWOW has connected me to many fabulous women, including my incredible roommate and a dozen very good friends.
In true Teresa-form, the cord is tied in a double fisherman knot, one of the many we learn and use a mountaineers.
Inside the cord are seven mountain-themed notecards created by Charlotte and Claire. Charlotte is a writer whom I’ve been following for at least three years. Her topics, tone, and style of storytelling resonate with me. I love her work. Claire is not only a lovely person, but a very talented artist who has chosen to pursue art full-time. She’s generous and amazing.
These two ladies recently did a month-long speaking tour. During the trip, Claire jotted down a few of Charlotte’s words and paired them with her own art, making these beautiful mountain notecards. The two revealed the cards only a few days ago, and when I first saw photos of them online, I knew I would want to get my little paws on a set. They speak to me in such a way that only mountains, Charlotte, and Claire can.
And here they are, these mountain notecards, in my very own hands. Inspired by a glorious and articulate writer, illustrated by a generous and kind artist, and gifted to me by a loving and inspiring friend. I couldn’t be more overwhelmed with love and gratitude.
Frequently I ponder this crazy life I have, how I got to this place at all, and how in the big wide universe I got to be so lucky. I have so many incredible women in my life. They are gracious, generous, kind, smart, and full of love for mountains. Every time I engage with my outdoor community, I am in awe of strong, tenacious, generous, smart women, and in turn I receive incredible friends and adventures to match.
I am just the luckiest girl.