Mamma Can’t Go No Higher


I was climbing Moro Rock in the Sequoia National Park. I hadn’t gone very far when I came upon a family hanging out on a wide spot on the stairs.


I took this photo of the stairs up Moro Rock.

I’d noticed this family before.

The older teenage daughter looked like she’d just stepped out of a Culture Club video circa 1984. Her eyes were heavily rimmed in black. Her short hair was a vibrant blue. She was wearing an over-sized flannel shirt with large black and white plaid, billowy black pants with small white flowers on them, and black Converse sneakers. On her head perched a large-brimmed black felt hat.

The younger child was of ambiguous gender (but I ultimately decided she was a girl) with natural red hair on the brink of dreadlocks–it looked as if it hadn’t been combed in a week. That child had a stuffed toy snake wrapped around her shoulders.

Mom seemed to be a redhead too and wore square reading glasses, but what I remember about her was what she said as the little shuttle bus pulled in. Run to the front kids, she instructed her children to push past the folks who had been waiting before them, there’s only sixteen seats on this one!

Of course, I and a family of four had been waiting for that shuttle 15, 20, 30 minutes, but mom didn’t care. She was bound and determined (perhaps hellbound is a better term) that her family was going to be on that bus.

So there they were again, apparently lounging on the steps to the top of the dome-shaped granite monolith.

I huffed and puffed and weezed and panted and made it a little way past them. Then I found my own little wide spot, hugged the rock next to me and stood there to rest for a moment.

As I stood there, I heard Mom say, You can do whatever you want.

Then I heard her screech, I said you can do whatever you want!

I looked over. The children had stood up and were about to follow Mom (and I realized at that moment there was a Dad too)  down the steps.

Mom then screeched Just because I have vertigo…

Apparently Mom’s vertigo had debilitated her, and she’d given the kids a choice: go on up without her or follow her back down. If this mom was anything like my mom, she’d offered a choice, but anyone who picked the wrong option was in for some mental and emotional punishment.

The Dad said, We’re all going to stick together…

Mom sounded as if she might cry when she said There’s no reception out here (referring to their cell phones, I presume). If we get separated…she trailed off, making it sound as if the family separated had no hopes of ever finding one another again.

She must not have remembered the days before cell phones, when folks who worried about getting separated designated a meeting spot.

Postscript: I ended up on the shuttle bus out of the park with this same family. Thankfully, I’d brought my MP3 player and headphones so I didn’t have to listen to their conversations on the two hour ride back to Visalia.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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