Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Signing On....."

Kind of a little ditty, a farther musing, from an Outward Bound echo from so long ago...

Here's the deal our adventure's quietly seem to say.
Before us is the open contract for all to see.
Clearly concisely written in desire and commitment.
Then formalized through our dreams and visions.

This kind of agreement will always rings true. 
While every one of the individual seasons abounds.
Whether between yourself or any companions too.
Especially among the wild challenges out before you.

Here's the deal, it resonates right from the start.
Here is the evidence of what we have agreed upon.
Also the fine print for that which we've taken on.
Even between the lines true meanings are there.

So now we each choose to sign ourselves on.
There within the terms of our efforts and dedications.
Openly sealed by our enthusiasm and motivations.
Always still keeping to those principles of our intentions.

The elements will forever hold us to these agreements.
As they are so loyal to those inherently potent meanings.
The only deal breaker may be the attitude we personally carry.
For we really know deep inside that is we who has chosen.

We hike, climb, paddle, and canyoneer further and onward.
Finding it that reflection of that lake or out upon the open ocean.
In the presence of what we have truly each signed on with.
We shake hands with our spirited selves, set out, and thus seal the deal... DSD  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"An Interesting Yin & Yang Of Climbing..."

"If hubris is the yin of climbing, humility is the yang..." J. Waterman

Pride does have a certain power, but likely loses its potency when it becomes presumption, loss of perspective, and at times even arrogance. 
An adventurer full of hubris is less aware of the cliffs between us and the horizon.
And this can be a dangerous precipice to balance upon.
Many ordinary adventurers I've met over the years have developed a kind of modest pride over their outdoor accomplishments, and then seem to carry themselves with a different quiet dignity. 
They not only are aware of the cliffs, but see way past them to the horizon. 
I admire that.
Theirs is a heightened sense of self - but self in relation to a respect for the wild places, others they travel with, and especially the inherent risks out there.
As for my own experience with hubris... 
There have been those days out where part of me believed I have climbed, kayaked, or trekked in perfect style. 
Only to then realize that where ever I was, on whatever path, there was always someone ahead of me, and someone just behind. 
That perspective allowed me to touch humility.
I would ask though, is it a vice to feel such confidence? Is there not an energy within such pride? 
Much here to muse over...
Over the years there have been many phases of each of these - hubris & humility, as goals were met, limits pushed, trials endured, and and when developing a bit of understanding of the dual impacts these two states may have, and how their elements affect our adventures and thus our lives.
What has also been surprisingly useful, is an awareness of caution, even of many anxieties, fears, and doubts that would balance out the giddy optimism and ego that adventures may give birth to.
I sense walking along this edge between optimism and reservedness keeps us safe while allowing for exceptional fun out in wild places.
I have also benefited from the sharing by adventure guides and mentors about these two perspectives.
Those who have themselves achieved that balance between real confidence while in dangerous surroundings.
Those who belay themselves across the high ridges, where we may surpass our limitations while still acknowledging our humanness in making mistakes and errors of judgement.
I recognize now too the importance of appreciation and gratitude in developing humility as the natural opposite of hubris.
Especially in beginning again after severe adversity; then dreaming about all the further possibilities out there. 
Also in acknowledging those who have gone before in setting our routes; while acting upon the need to pass forward to those yet to follow.
B. Blanchard, a Canadian Mountaineer of exceptional talent, said himself: "Humility is the key to being a good alpinist...".
Even though adventures are all about pushing personal limits, where confidence plays a potent role, there also seems a place for other levels of awareness.
I believe the crux between hubris & humility may be climbed past in developing an understanding that adventures in wild places are not just about 'me'... 
They are inherently about all of us, and the inevitable impacts we each may have in the wild lands.
Yet again it would seem that as in all things, especially adventures, and with these small stones, that the real summit to be attained is a balance within the experiences, lessons, and memories gained.
Maybe most significantly between hubris & humility..... DSD 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"An Interesting Pondering..."

"To the untrained eye, ego climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical.
Both kinds of climber place one foot in front of the other.
Both breathe in and out at the same rate.
Both stop when tired.
Both go forward when rested.
But what a difference!
The ego climber is like an instrument that is slightly out of adjustment.
He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late.
He's likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees.
He goes on when sloppiness of step says he's tired.
He rests at odd times.
He looks up the trail trying to see what's ahead even when he knows what's ahead because he just looked a second before.
Ho goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about something else. 
He's here but he is not here...".  R. Pirsig

Thank you for sharing your images my Friends.  

"Beyond Our Own Last Blue Mountain..."

"The acid test of a true adventurer, if presented with certain anonymity, is whether each of us would still have made the journey beyond the last blue mountain...". M. Clark
We all have blue mountains within our dreams, and distant endearing islands too,
Hidden wild places we very much hope to see, with so many possibilities awaiting there...
We all have blue high mountains within our dreams, and hidden islands too,
Elusive experiences we simply call adventures, our personal journeys of effort, mind, and spirit...
We all have blue stormy mountains within our dreams, and misty islands too,
Such ephemeral memories that are yet to be, true paths and trails we are each destined to share...
We all have countless blue mountains within our dreams, and endless islands too,
Always echoing from our ancient selves, while we forever seek such horizons to this very day..... DSD     

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Out Beyond....."

Out beyond those so very distant waters.
Higher still on the other side of our mountains.
So deep within those quietly welcoming canyons.
Near to the beginning headwaters of that raging river.
Also upon the far shores of our calming coastal islands...

Out beyond what we believe we know. 
Further than all of our prior experiences suggest.
Way beyond what only we have think we have seen.
Farther too than our prior perceptions have taken us...

Out beyond.
Are all of our adventurous life mysteries.
So much elusive beauty.
So many hidden wonders.
There rests many truths we hope to ponder.
Out there awaiting each one of us my Friends.
Simply out beyond..... DSD 

In appreciation for Outward Bound.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"So Many Wonderful Pebbles..."

"The ocean and I have many pebbles.
To find and wash off and roll into shape...".  W. Stafford

"Even By A Pebble..."

"The least movement is of importance to all nature.
The entire ocean may be affected by a pebble...".  B. Pascal

"Being Curious..."

"Never cease to stand like curious children, before the Great Mystery, into which we were each born...".  A. Einstein

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Shivers Of Excitement..."

They are such beautiful, ephemeral entities.
Wisps of fur and grey that we are so lucky to hear let alone ever catch a glimmer of.
Their beauty is a reflection of those truly wild beings within the timeless wild places. No wonder they are such a cherished spirit animal and clan whose ways of being many have wondered over. 
This day I am remembering, was unusual in that late season - the conditions of the ground, such moisture, remnants of the last snow, and that cool air, made for a perfect combination of elements.
As we set out we were just beginning to sense what an amazing day this would come to be. We were simply hiking and had no initial intentions of any kind of tracking. Yet now, when we discovered their fleeting impressions crossing the trail more than once, this now grasped our attention closely. We followed what we could in our inexperience and excitement, hoping to be able to see more of what we were attempting to read. 
But spirits like that don't leave much sign and mostly only give a sense of their presence, and that I pondered, is exactly as it should be.
But the distinct moment that gave us such pause, that took us in real surprise, was to come near the end of this full day of wandering and followings.
Not long before we regained the trailhead, at a curve in the path among old thick trees, we came upon a different kind of layered tracks.
These tracks were our own, still apparent although changed, for clearly across them and also right within them were more fresh tracks of the grey ones themselves. We were startled with this discovery, trying to understand what was represented there. Then with a dawning of awareness we became amused by what it likely meant. 
From the number and direction of their unique prints, there could only be one interpretation.
We pondered in wonder over, at what point in this day, as we had slowly journeyed along - at what point, did our novice attempts to track them - become moments when they were now tracking us...
The shivers of excited realization experienced at that moment were from much more than the dropping temperature..... DSD  

"To Be Like A Wolf..."

Bev Doolittle  wrote: "To be like a wolf was not a role undertaken lightly by any Crow warrior. The special qualities of wolves - endurance, loyalty, tracking ability - made the warriors who took their power from the wolf esteemed members of the tribe. Being like a wolf meant studying the ways and habits of wolves, focusing one's energies on living the way of the wolf."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Our Real Journey..."

"Centuries of lore suggest that when we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has just begun.
At that crossroads moment a voice calls...
The time has come to set out for the sacred ground - the mountain, the temple, the ancestral home - that will stir our heart and restore our sense of wonder.
It is down to the path, to the deeply real, where time stops, and we are seized by the mysteries...".  
P. Cousineau

Thank you for these images. 

"The Stirring..."

"For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so.
Then people long on pilgrimage go...".  G. Chaucer

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Outward Bound Maxim..."

"Keep moving.
Always keep moving. 
Rest, yes. 
Then onward. 
Forward. Upward. Further. Farther.
There is no real ending. 
So keep moving...".  Outward Bound Maxim

"Here. Now....."

"Here. Right now. At the beginning. 
Right at this point, From here on. From now on.
This is where it gets really interesting...".  Anon

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"What May Be, As It All Begins To Unfold..."

"It may be, that when we no longer know which way to go, that we have come to our real journey...".  Wendell Berry

Herein is a short quote, a reminder passed forward to me out on an initial adventure, while other worries of the world were also present, and health issues were starting to be so distracting. 
A few simple lines...
Words that I have passed forward so many times myself now as well, when other such trials can be seen in the eyes and on the faces of those sharing the trail that day.
Only twenty-one words that very much blend together into all of our lives, within our shared journeys. Twenty-one words that become a part of our adventures, and truly reflect the way we face adversities as well, out there and back here too.
Just seventy-one letters written so, that are as elemental as anything else for a great many of us. I couldn't count the number of occasions for discussion while wandering, and in comments here now too from you Dear Friends, who have found such quiet messages within the gifts Wendell Berry has composed for everyone.
A seemingly simply quote, passed forward to me on Outward Bound, so very long ago. Then shared again right when I needed to hear those words softly spoken.
Initially appearing only as a few brief words, that have now resonated and echoed out loudly over even longer seasons and years. 
"It may be...", Wendell Berry wrote. It just may very well be, many of us now realize as well.
It just may be..... DSD 

Dedicated this adventure day to Wendell Berry, Outward Bound, and with gratitude to you Friends who share their images here along with my little musings.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

For Fur, Feathers And Fins Fridays: "Spirit Animals..."

When musing about adventure inspirations, for many reasons I often find myself thinking of connections to various animals.
Grey Wolf said, "If you could be an animal, what animal would you be? Answering that question creates a powerful personal metaphor." I believe that we are much closer to the meaning of this than many would expect. 
We are indeed linked, and in so many ways.
Have you ever watched an animal at play or their energy when they run or fly, or even the gaze of a wolf or grizzly? They help us 'see' that our experiences out there are not just physical, mental, or even emotional; but can be very full of spirit as well.
Sometimes we are allowed a glimpse, a glimmer, of energy and enthusiasms that are difficult to describe.
There are many kinds of spirit within the wild lands, like those felt around ancient trees, or near ageless rock, but it has often been the spirit of animals who I sense have shared something of their enthusiasms with me.
In my many summits, there were too many to count where I had the fellowship of an animal to share the climbing experience with. Many were highlands birds, others were rams and mountain sheep, so many were the small four legged furries who talk so much in their chitters and whistles. 
Then there have been the crows and ravens, who seemingly were laughing at my ordinary outdoor mistakes and trials; but who I eventually learned to chuckle along with as I felt they were trying to teach me to not take it all so seriously. 
All have shared something of their spirit with me , and all have become part of what I've needed for adventure inspirations.
What often gets us going, or carries us through, challenging adventures can be said to be found within the 'spirit'. Aboriginals in many cultures believe that upon birth, or later through certain quests, that the spirit of an animal may enter and become one with an individual. Powerful meanings can be found too in the Animal Totem's that exist out there, and also within the metaphors that these then represent.
R. Ridgeway wrote that in one such experience he found that, "It wasn't until I returned to my own world that I figured it out. In that shaft of light in the jungle, I'd watched the Yanomami transform into a wild animal. For the first time in my life... I had seen who I used to be...".
Grandfather, a Mountain Elder said about the spirit, the energies, we create for ourselves out on such adventures, that, "I see in you... A wolf who now walks as a man...".
I'm inclined to believe that he is very right about all of us..... DSD  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"The Great Equalizer..."

Is the great equalizer...".  Mountaineers Saying

"Within The Night's Wind..."

"I felt part of some great movement.
One of an infinite scale.
Too grand to see.
But only to feel.
Within the night's wind...".  M. Stump

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Of Beginning Once More..."

A long, slow, journey we planned to have.
Within this new vibrant season playing out before us.
Adventuring for a fresh start this all was.
To begin once more so far out there.

Setting up our camp. Sorting out gear as needed.
Initial steps upon a dreamed trail.
With first light upon our mountain.
Previously envisioned, now so very real.

Such anticipation in getting going.
Much excitement for the unknowns before us.
Enduring past enthusiasms now evoking again.
Once more, so longer and further we'll go.

Echoes of our first time we feel.
Full circle in many ways it seems.
Those beginning moments once more renewed.
Yet feeling as if they are truly everlasting.

Beginning moments of mind, dreams, and visions.
Beginning moments of effort, spirit, and connections.
All once more starting, simply all unfolding.
With us embracing the wonder of each step... DSD  

Thank you for sharing your wonderful images my Friends. 

Friday, January 08, 2016

"Fur, Feathers, And Fins Fridays..."

Beginning a New Year's series of posts reflecting our shared respect and appreciation for all those with fur, feathers, and fins.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

"Pondering And Musing Within Our New Year..."

"The Greeks pondered the causes of things. If you had asked them, 'Why are there mountains' they'd give you four causes. The Material cause is the ground has the potential to become a mountain. The Efficient cause is that mountains are just elevated earth standing up. The Formal cause is the earth raised them up. But the Final cause is where it gets interesting. They'd say the Final cause of mountains is they exist because humans need to look up and dream..."
"I've always been fascinated by the why . You know, the oldest questions in the world...". J. Auld   

"Further Longings..."

"Indeed, whatever agonies and so-called miseries the sufferer may endure on their pilgrimage to the heights, and however often he may swear never to return there, longing to do so is certain to recur...".  C.F. Meade

Saturday, January 02, 2016

``Becoming Your Longings.....``

"In the mountains... There are times when a person's soul sets forth upon rambles of its own accord...". J. Muir

Become your longings my Friends...
Closely embrace the very things you wish for.
Then take form within your desires.
And become your longings my Friends.
Move towards your most inner knowings.
Mirror those things, those dreams you so long for.
Know that what you want can then be made real.
Take on your commitment and intentions.
Then create your very own motivations.
Look beyond any apparent mists of adversities.
Gaze past any regrets, even from long ago.
Find what is truly heartfelt just for you.
Such longings will then be so very lasting.
The eternal elemental essence of our lives.
Become your adventure longings, your very wantings, my Friends.
And thus create a source of endurance without end..... DSD