Defying Gravity

I climbed a mountain yesterday.

This school year has been hectic, more so than usual, & so we haven’t made it to the mountains as often as we would have liked. I love the mountains. Living car-free in New York City somewhat limits our options, but thankfully the trains can take us right to the feet of several peaks of the Hudson Highlands. I’m a bit picky, though – I love being outside among wild things & dizzying heights, but a steep uphill walk is not my idea of a good time. About six years ago, a coworker introduced me to Breakneck Ridge. It was the first time I had ever “gone hiking,” aside from a few walks through meadows or manicured forests during my Girl Scout days. I showed up in denim shorts & well-worn Chuck Taylors, not exactly prepared for the might-as-well-be-vertical rock scrambling the path demanded. When I hauled myself over the last boulder to rest at the first summit, overlooking the Hudson River from my newly acquired vantage point of about 720 feet up, I felt something in the basin of my gut take root & bloom. I was hooked & nourished at once, & I knew right away that I wanted to do this again tomorrow, & every day for the rest of forever. Continue reading “Defying Gravity”



The first time I heard the expression “beastin'” was in preparation for my first year of teaching high school. “Know the slang,” one of the advisers in my program insisted. “Learn it, love it.”

I didn’t hear it applied to me by students until my 2nd year of teaching, after I had started to figure out what the hell I was doing instead of going in every morning just hoping no one lit anything on fire. 2nd year me had not come to play. & I remember so distinctly that morning, as I circulated the room checking my students’ writing journals, that one of my 9th grade boys shook his head and sighed: “Miss, you beastin’ on this journal tip.”

I felt like such a boss.

It’s still funny to me, about 10 years later, that while my students have moved on & left this word behind as all hip young cats will, the concept of beastin’ is alive & well in the world of fitness & strength training.

& as ever, I love it:

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