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The Rock Dancer

As a gift for my high school graduation, my Dad gave me this poem he had written about me when I was a little girl. I love reading it and thinking back on the many hikes and backpacking trips we took as a family growing up. It's so special to have this reminder from my Dad. 

The stream in the poem reminds me of a stream river we had to cross on one of our backpacking trips. We couldn't find any other way to cross. It was spring, and the water was freezing. My Dad had to walk back and forth multiple times to carry his pack, my Mom's pack, and mine as well. Then he carried me across because the current was much to swift and deep. And I can remember how worried I was watching my mom struggle to cross. I don't know if this is the same trip that inspired this poem, but it is one of my most memorable backpacking trips. 

I love to reminisce on our hikes together, and how even though he wrote this so long ago, he saw in me a love for exploring the outdoors. I'll always cherish this poem and I wanted to share it will you all. 


The Rock Dancer
A Poem for Theresa Whitney O'Brien

She trips, stumbles and then glides along the path.
At first, she looks out of control,
Not in sync with the outdoors.
Then we come upon a crashing, broiling stream,
Spanned by a narrow log.
She hops on. One foot carefully
Placed before the other.
Her balance is perfect. Soon she
Skips down the path. Grinning.
At camp, she flits like a humming bird,
Inspecting the pines, junipers,
paintbrush and penstemon.
She is never at rest. Darting to
Shrub, to flower, to boulder to
Flat polished granite slab. Always
She is grinning, the rock dancer...

Looking forward to our Tuolumne Meadows trip in a few weeks so I can do some more rock dancing!




  1. Awww! I love this! That's such a creative name, the Rock Dancer. I'm glad you and your dad have such a close relationship. Not everyone does. Thanks for sharing!

  2. wow you are a badass! thats awesome you went when you were so young and have all those memories. what a sweet dad you have :)

  3. I am such a chicken when it comes to rock climbing and rappelling. Kudos to you girl for doing it like a champ! But what a sweet poem that your dad gave to you. LOVE that type of stuff.


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