Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Ever Farther Solitude..."

"The mind is keener and sharper in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.
Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences.
Be alone - that is the secret of creativity.
Be alone - that is when ideas are born...".   N. Tesla  

"Quiet Solitudes..."

"The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the region of solitude...".      A. Huxley

"Lovely Solitude..."

"What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be...".   E. Burstyn

Friday, April 29, 2016

"A Wonderful Musing For Fur, Feathers, And Fins Friday's..."

"Some places in this world are very hard to climb.
Sometimes people ask animals to help them with this.
Each person can only ride one.
And each animal likely has a different name.
The riders go up the trail in different orders.
They often discuss their various opinions about their experiences.
They may even have conflicting opinions.
At the summit the travelers all stand in the same place.
Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas.
The animals are then put to rest and graze.
We all travel such paths.
The animals are like the various doctrines that each of us embraces.
What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads to the same quiet summit...".
D. Ming-Dao

Image Acknowledgement  

"Just A Smile Within A Little Rock..."

Rock painting is an ancient practice of placing images upon stone.
The strength and durability of the stone was said to add to the power and presence of the paintings...
Aboriginal peoples on many continents have also colored and painted stones as gifts, rocks as markers, and rock walls as a means to record their histories.
At times it was the character of the stone itself that would also influence the eventual image that appeared. 
The paints themselves were often made of water and clay, berries, selected soils, animal fats, even blood. Some rock was also etched and then painted to enhance the chosen image with more than one dimension...
After collecting these little rocks on many adventures, cleaning and polishing them, musing over the stone, I now splash a bit of paint upon them, and then give them back.
Just my own simple way of passing forward and yet being a tiny part of an ancient past ritual...  DSD   

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"In Stillness We Then Rest..."

"After a long day of walking in the mountains, the ancients sat alone and in the quiet...". Deng Ming-Dao

In stillness we then rest, 
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
Now calm and vividly remembering,
Every single step of our long journey.

In stillness we then rest,
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
For a very challenging mountain had been chosen,
Knowing we would then embrace all then wildly given.

In stillness we then rest,
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
Atop the summit of a further elusive mountain,
Being present for all of that which has happened.

In stillness we then rest,
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
After a descent as challenging too,
Then so tired, and now safe as well.

In stillness we then rest,
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
Amazingly welcoming was that mountain,
With such adversity and then those teachings.

In the stillness we then rest,
Amidst the quiet, with our breath.
Having shared in those many precious gifts,
Meditative forever moments nourishing our very being... DSD 

Dedicated to those wonderful wanderers who are out there still,Adventuring For Another Reason.   

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Of Remembrance And Nepal....."

A few simple words.
Written long ago.
Gently echoing out.
With respect and remembrance...

On the summit we say their names... 
We safely stand up among the clouds, face the sun or moon, often into the wind, close our eyes, and slowly say their names aloud.
We say the names of past fellows who have journeyed the path with us; the guides and wild place teachers who have shared their hard earned wisdom; the close family and friends who still walk the same trails today.
We say the names of those who are now gone from these particular elements; the ones who knew and accepted us for who we are with all our flaws and faults; especially the ones who have challenged us to become something more.
We say the names of those who made us laugh; each one who shared a tear with us; and for those whose courage and resiliency we believe have been an example for us all.
On the summit we say their names...
By practicing an ages old quiet tradition of respect, of acknowledgement, of remembering, of bringing the past back to the present.
An ages old tradition of becoming grateful. Even in the midst of the most difficult times.
And when we are each gone, when we are no longer among the wild places, but have become a part of them instead, we hope to hear our own name said, then carried along out there among the winds, when someone on a summit says them out loud..... DSD

"A Short Year, Or A Long Time..."

"A Life List is, in the end, nothing more than a tool to look back on our lives and consider how we spent our brief moments on Earth. And what if, in those final breaths, you realize - I never gave anything back...". J.B. MacKinnon 

A musing that forever echoes... 
One year for Nepal. A short year? Or a very long time?
Please again look over the articles and many options for support that Jake Norton had gathered up for everyone to share in. He is a trusted friend, worldly mountaineer, and a true advocate.
Thank you my friends... DSD 

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Just A little Stone Parable..."

"A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream... The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. 'I've been thinking', he said, 'I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone'...". Anon

A parable of meaning within the context of the gift of a simple stone.
Like the Wise Woman our Mother Earth gives to us all each moment of each hour of each day.
It is then up to us to then ask, and learn, and become, someone who then gives back and passes forward also...
Have a special Earth Day today..... DSD    

"For Our Shared Earth Day...

Below is a reading from the Ute Peoples of North America, as quoted by P.Novak. 
A wonderful musing for pondering over adventure, life lessons learned, and experiences remembered, as we approach our shared Day for the Earth.
It could be said that the Ute Peoples were among the first climbers, canyoneers, and rock artists out in these wild lands.
"Earth teach me to remember...
Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled by light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me forget myself
as the melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me kindness
as dry fields weep with rain."
Metaphors with such meaning.
Each day a new beginning.
Every day something worth learning.
All adventures within themselves... DSD   

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"A Dedication Of Memories..."

Oh, to be encompassed so. To have such memories and reminders all around. Present on all sides of us...
We often have such intense adventure life experiences when we wander. Like when we hike a very favorite trail, passing through both the familiar terrain, and then long years of experiences upon it as well. 
We sense how being encircled in such a way, when out among the wild places, is being endlessly gifted with so much.
To be so surrounded by memories and and reminders.
What wonderful forever moments they are...
That day, when upon a summit, as I mused and scribbled these few words, I looked out upon many mountain memories, and even more river and valley reminders.
It also made me think about our den back at home too, seemingly a bit messy at times, with many old guide books, stacks of faded pictures, a lot of little journals & composings, and stones too many to count.
To be so specially surrounded by memories and reminders...
Then, when, we set out again as we always do my Dear Friends, after putting on our worn boots & pack, or readying to launch our scraped up elder kayak, the smiles just come. For the sum total of all of what we have shared in is right there once again, all around embracing us.
Yet, what I think is a key part of this wonderous mystery too, is that in being surrounded by such amazing memories and reminders, after clearly, intensely feeling again what was known before - than we are further inspired as well to envision what is yet to be..... DSD 

Dedicated this adventure day to those who are Adventuring For Another Reason in support of the many who have lost such cherished memories:   Ascent For Alzheimer's    and                    
Memories Are Everything

"A Unique Hidden Gemstone..."

There is a great wealth of wisdom literature around about the ways and means people keep going when the going gets extreme and severe. 
Most reflects upon how and why and with what motives they draw their strength from - even long after most of us might have expected to have given up. 
Much of this writing defines principles of behaviour and describes strategies by which severe challenges may be met and overcome.
Yet what I find of most interest is that a great many of the examples used and the case studies applied involve those who would see themselves as adventurers...
The unique hidden gemstone in this literature is that we, ourselves as adventurers, are very often the 'subjects of study'. 
Be it climbers, trekkers, soloists, survivalists, kayakers, adventure racers, mountain bikers - all of us at one time have become the prime case example in such studies.
The research typically looks at why we do it, how we bounce back, how it is we keep going, and going, and going; and also inquires about the paradox of us actually making experiences harder for the 'fun of it' out there.
This wild resilience we adventurers have is both puzzle and paradox to those who study us. 
Yet we know, don't we... 
The secrets of what is to be found out there... 
And within each of us as well...
Such examination and the wisdom literature that comes of it would seem to be of real and distinct value to all of us wild place wanderers who muse and ponder through tough times.
But also clearly for anyone hoping to better understand human resilience in general.
We are an interesting wild bunch aren't we Dear Finders.....  DSD   

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"What Stephen Invites Us To See..."

I have so  enjoyed M. Mardon when he wrote about images by Stephen Lyman:
"Yet another burned area presents itself further along the trail with many a scorched tree still standing, very likely to live on through many more thunderstorms. But one dead tree... seems to have stood in the ground through many revolutions of the earth... its bark peeling away exposing its wood to the elements. While the sides of the dead fir are charred, its upper surface is smooth, bleached to a uniform grey, and as inviting to an artist as a chalkboard. He takes a piece of charcoal in hand and sketches a woman's face, not in bold outline but subtly, with shadings and blurred features so that an unsuspecting hiker coming upon it later might wonder if Mother Nature hadn't drawn the image herself".
Because I believe what surprises us... often also inspires us.
We often find our perceptions have been wonderfully exceeded. Our awareness significantly expands.
And this is what wild lands and adventures out in them inherently do for us...  DSD    

"Only In Climbing..."

"The only way to understand what motivates a mountaineer is for one to seek out and engage the wilderness, for only in climbing the mountain does the answer become clear...".  Stephen Lyman  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"That Which Nutures Us All..."

"To the Four Legged Ones, who know wilderness as home and teach us how to live there; To the Winged Ones who see the larger picture from above... To the Plant People, who live the bloom of life constantly; to miraculous Water, who keeps life flowing... To the Stone People, who ground life with ancient wisdom and mountains of beauty; to the Earth, who holds and nurtures us all...".  Stephen Lyman   

It was on a multi day sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands, during a rest day, that we first set our eyes upon a Stephen Lyman work of art.
It was displayed in a small shop, and it needed no light to illuminate it, as it seemed to glow from within... 
This was his 'Mountain Campfire' creation.
That was decades ago and we have still not lost our appreciation for Stephen's wildlands muse, and his artistic and creative genius.
We all lost Stephen though, on April 16th 1996, in a high mountain accident.
He was a truly talented artist, one who inspires me still in my own naive way.
I can only imagine now much he is missed by so many...
The 'Greenwich Workshop' says of him, "Stephen Lyman was an explorer who specialized in painting the most elusive moments in nature", and that "Through Lyman's art, you can travel into a wilderness very few have experienced. You can share the sensation of being in the true outdoors - exploring, discovering, studying and enjoying the all-encompassing beauty of nature".
Stephen himself said, "All my paintings have their origins in my experience and perception of beauty in the wilderness".
I hope you too, dear friends, have been gifted with the wild place opportunity to experience what Stephen has portrayed through his artistic adventures.
Today, April 16, is a day to remember Stephen and respect all of what he has passed forward to us.......

Friday, April 15, 2016

"From Such A Height..."

"He clasps the crag with crooked hands.
Close to the sun in lonely lands.
Ringed with the azure world he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls.
He watches from his mountain walls.
And like a thunderbolt he falls...".
'The Eagle'  By A. Lord Tennyson

"For Feathers, Fur, And Fins Friday's"

"Seagulls... Slim yachts of the elements...".   R. Jeffers

"For Feathers, Fur, And Fins Friday's"

"Over all the mountaintops is peace...
In all treetops you perceive,
scarcely a breath.
The little birds in the forest are silent.
Wait then, soon you, too,
Will have peace...".  
J. Von Goethe

So very many poets and philosophers, were first climbers and adventurers.
We sense why, don't we my Friends.
Dedicated this adventure day to all those who are enduringly Adventuring For Another Reason ..... DSD 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Oh, To Muse Then Journal So..."

Early on in Outward Bound, in later years during multi-day treks, and still now when wandering the waters I take out a small moisture resistant ditty bag, and uncover yet another small journal.
Those blank pages have always seemed inviting to me.
Like the tide, I never know just what will turn up. I often wonder what unknowns, what sorts of secrets will appear through these written musings.
Mapping our journeys in this way through the use of a personal adventure journal has many, many benefits. 
There is a real potency in the simple use out there of pencil and paper. 
Seemingly simple words can resonate with an energy; much as any warm campfire...
There are many styles of journal writing we can utilize when wandering: Writing backwards is great for the memory; while writing forwards is a powerful enhancement to ideas about future adventures and our commitment towards them. 
Our memories can be sieve like at times; but the written word, even drawings and symbols representing our experiences, are not. There is no perfect format to follow; no index to use. Any individual style is really up to you. Often many of us will include other items along with our words: Souvenirs, memento's, and drawings all can be symbols that remind us and tell stories from out there in ways that words alone may not speak to. 
Such a record, in a personal journal, is not a map we purchase and follow, but one we create as we actually go along... 
After years of use, it becomes such a familiar piece of gear. 
Many times the dreams of where we want to go next out there are from a cherished awareness of where we each have been.
Such an adventure journal can, over time, become a treasure for each of us, as valuable as any of the other essentials. Most keep such writing to themselves although I recall a shared journal we also used on Outward Bound with very fond memories.
The endowment of words you map for yourself in this way Dear Finders, will become a journey in itself, and a wild place legacy like no other.....  DSD  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Once Again..."

When solo coastal sea kayaking, we find ourselves very aware of maritime distances, especially when out among endless wind and waves. We seek seclusion where the tides and timings of the season generously gift this to us. This chosen water route I had paddled many times, over longer years and seasons. My intentions were to seek solitude and these elusive islands provide so many opportunities and possibilities for just that...
I've read my charts very closely, always looking for new paths and inlets, and forever finding variations, even after many familiar wanderings out there. 
One wild place in particular is what I fondly refer to as my 'there and back' beach. 
A mile or so, maybe a kilometer and a half, of countless cobblestones, broken and whole shells, so soft sands, and shifting driftwood too. 
Sometimes it becomes more revealing with the ever changing tides, while other quiet moments shyly still keeping its secrets...
On this 'there and back' beach I have wandered across, then returned over long moments, musing while strolling and gazing, and often gathering up little selected touchstones. 
Just walking, maybe hiking, always pondering, only a short distance, maybe a mile or so, yet a thousand times or more...
A 'there and back' wild place this is, so known yet never twice the same, always something to be discovered, among the ever changing sands and ways of seeing too...
Time to wander there once again.....  DSD  

"What We Value..."

"There is tremendous value in getting out on the water and falling into the rhythm of paddling along an isolated stretch of shoreline. Testing your physical limits, setting your day according to the ebb and flow of the tides, falling asleep in your tent to the sound of waves breaking on a nearby shoreline...".  G. Rasmussen  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Unfolding Spring Tides..."

While even so called, I was to learn that such tides occur not just in the spring, but rather when the Earth, Sun, and Moon are in concordance. They are the strongest of tides; the tides of extremes for highs and lows, when the pull, the drawing, of both sun and moon work synergisticly together. The moon was indeed becoming more full as I looked out over those island waters; in a way I had not seen them in some time. 
The tide tables also shared what could now be viewed out among these quiet points of rock that were growing higher and larger as the minutes passed. 
The waters were withdrawing, were retreating, were letting go of their grasp upon the land. And as with all true mystery, now things were being shared that were not known before. 
I was up at that very early hour for just this experience. To listen in the night, to converse with the moon, to watch the waters ebb beyond, to walk upon a shoreline that hardly ever breathes the air, and hopefully to find those treasures that are only shared in those brief, ephemeral, moments such as this.
They were indeed there... 
The pure soft sands, the countless shells and sand dollars, endless polished cobblestones, and tidal life so vibrant and full of energy. I wandered and strolled and walked and mused and stooped and sat... for endless moments, until the waters voice became more insistent to return. 
Then the first full glow of a distant horizon began to more show itself.
Such a special spring tide.
Another of those gentle, hidden, beautiful gifts from out there.....  DSD  

Friday, April 08, 2016


"He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music...
Maybe it was the song in their own hearts that they walked to...".   L.A. Armer

For Fur, Feathers, and Fins Friday's".

Thursday, April 07, 2016

"Happy And Whole..."

"All at once, without warning, two men emerged from that impossible country. They carried packs on their backs, and they were weather beaten and distilled to bone and muscle. But what I remember best of all is that they were happy and whole... Then they walked away and I was left, still awestruck, looking out over into the huge, black, mysterious wilderness...".  Colin Fletcher

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

"We Will Discover..."

"You will discover as the years pass that hiking becomes a beautiful, warm, round pumpkin, that sits up on a shelf, always ready to be taken down... It wouldn't be the same round and personal pumpkin, of course, if you hadn't grown it yourself... And its always sitting up there on the shelf - that big beautiful pumpkin - just waiting for you to wave the wand and turn it into something more magical...".  Colin Fletcher

A favourite quote, for this time of year, as I gaze out across the memories, and the adventures yet to be... DSD 

"Just Out Walking..."

"There comes... a longing never to travel again, except on foot...".  W. Berry

Often, when Colin was asked where he had been, he would reply, "Just out Walking...".
I loved that...   DSD 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

"The Time Of Our Lives..."

This is one of those distinct truths, we adventurers come to know so well, within our awareness of time, and especially of moments out there.
The real truth of it is, very much written in stone it would seem, is that the time will pass anyway, regardless of how we plan or wander.
A truth we learn to hopefully embrace, not in any way of sadness or loss, for this potent awareness is so valuable, when understanding the depths of moments we each are gifted.
Time will indeed most certainly pass, no matter if we are aware, or do not choose to participate, as it is our time, and our own choice, to blend with this as we will.
When looking ahead over decisions and directions, then when gazing back upon memories and wonders, all the while accepting the elemental adventurous nature - of time..... DSD  

"Our Old friend Time..."

Hello old friend time.
Your'e always here.
There to help me.
Yet see again...  DSD

Saturday, April 02, 2016

"Colin Was Such A Stone..."

"The most beautiful stones...
Have been tossed by the wind,
And washed by the waves,
And polished to brilliance,
By life's strongest storms...".    Anon          

Colin loved stones. 
This can be found all through his writings. 
He would look down as often as he could be seen gazing ahead. 
"Discovery", he once mused, "is all around us...".     DSD  

"Colin Asked And We Often Do As Well..."

It doesn't seem to matter how many mountains have now been climbed.
There are still countless wonderful mysteries to ponder up on such a peak as this.
How is it...
How is it, that a place where there is little living up so high, can be so full of these potent moments for our lives.
How is it, that a barren place like this, can provide these peaks of feelings & emotions for us all.
How is it, I wonder still, that in the midst of those brief moments, so many lasting eternities of experience & memories may be found.
How is it...
How is it, that such intense companionship and fellowship, may be attained among places known for silence and solitude.
How is it, I ask too, that this mysterious mixing in of the elements out there, then brings out those elusive elements we all have within us - and then blends them into such personal transformations.
As I lay up here writing this by headlamp, gazing up from bivi sack & sleeping bag, upon countless constellations above, I continue with such musings, knowing that now falling asleep with these wonderful ponderings on my mind - is simply enough..... DSD 

Dedicated this day to those who are 'Adventuring For Another Reason'this wonderful season.
Thank you my Friend for sharing your amazing image above.

"Remembering Colin..."

"It was the emptiness... The vast, quiet solitude that caught and held me. 
I thought: This is what they mean by wilderness.
The word took on a new dimension...". Colin Fletcher

We all still very much miss you Colin.
Every unfolding year, I look over your many books, and am so inspired yet again. Thank you Old Friend..... DSD