Monday, October 31, 2016


It is not what some may first think about that which haunts lots of us during the long, sometimes too quiet hours... For many adventurers it is not the darkness and depth of the night that makes us shiver; nor the risks inherent within all adventures which catches our breath at times. Not even the moments of trial and anxieties, and those real tests to one's determination and endurance that shake us on occasion. Fears about the unknown aren't foreboding to such explorers as we. Worries of keeping up or about competition simply are not there anymore for us elders either. The wild places are too welcoming for such wraiths to severely bother those who wander endlessly out there.
What really haunts many of us in those exposed contemplative moments; what truly may keep us up at night sometimes, are not so much these ghostly worries, but more so those ponderings and wonderings of what could have been...
We all have them. 
Those wishes for what might have been, for what we did not do.
Maybe sadness or deep disappointment for dreams not put in motion; and even at times possibly for the loss of the desire to go.
What may in reality haunt many adventurers in those long, quite hours are more the shades of lost moments, unused opportunities, when we may have been distracted by something other than what could have been truly meaningful moments out among the wild places. 
These are the spirits that may really haunt us if we do not exercise them.....  DSD  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"There Is A Time Of Day..."

There is a time of day, hours before first light, when adventurers - climbers in particular; rise to set out upon the earliest alpine start.
These are hours of the deepest darkness; where the intense mystery and the quiet may close in upon you in either comfort or anxiousness.
On my solo scramble that particular very early day, I was following the old saying of adding time to your day by being earlier up; rather than hoping for extra hours at the end when energy and weather are more unpredictable.
I was moving on the trail before three am, amidst that crispness and cold air the mountains are known for.
It was so very pitch black; such an intense quiet, only the crunch of my boots and uphill nature of my breathing was apparent.
What I saw I was not sure; not sure at all.
A sense of something, a glimmer of not one but two small points of light.
Just two small points of light - and then they blinked; closed for a short second and then turned and looked more directly, very intently, upon me.
I was no longer alone on that trail, maybe never was, but whatever was now sharing the path, of it all I could see were its eyes.
Only its eyes...
Eyes with a light behind them; reflecting an intelligence of another kind; wisdom of another nature. I do swear they shifted color ever so slightly as they watched me watching them.
After a few moments of quiet stillness my fears and anxieties diminished, were no longer as intense, and were replaced more now by curiosity and a feeling of kinship.
It was a moment of reminder; of looking back to our ancient selves and where we have all come from.
I was reminded too that our four legged fellow companions are always out there, we most often simply do not see them as they view us.
In a playful way as I have often done with my own furred companions, I made myself blink in a long, slow manner, as this is what many animals do when first meeting each other, deciding neither is a threat, and are then prepared to begin to trust.
And these two bight eyes blinked back just as slowly...
It was a connection; an understanding of sorts that I sense may have passed between us then. I moved further along the trail to see what would happen next, feeling clumsy in my movements and the noise I made.
This creature moved along with me, yet only the eyes could I see, and it moved in total and absolute silence.
We continued to share what I believe were a few more moments where each of us was wondering about the other. And then with a wisp of what may have been grey.
It was gone...
Many say or write that the eyes tell all.
When I looked into those eyes I saw our wild past. It affirmed for me yet again that we are not so far from our other family out in the wild places as we may think.
I will never forget those eyes..... DSD  

Friday, October 28, 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  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Your Little Stones Journey..."

Often, when painting these small rocks, while listening to the birds or the wind in nearby trees, and sometimes to specifically selected music, I will choose my next stone. admire it closely, and turn it over as I decide upon its best surface.
They are such an enduring, unique medium for my simple form of Naive art.
As I gaze over the three dimensional surface I can sense its character.
The tiny ridges, crystals, and cracks, that form a small world of their own, with all the elements of wild lands themselves.
I enjoy them much like the Ancients would a Scholar Rock.
I can, at times, lose myself, in running my fingers along and travelling over a stones' face.
Often, can I recall too what adventure I was on when this particular rock was gathered up.
My friends chuckle about how my pack or kayak is usually very much heavier coming back than when going out.
Then, as I begin this special process, the same unanswerable question develops as a thought in my mind: "Where will you end up little stone...?" "You have come such a long way", I muse, and are now undergoing a transformation of sorts. Much as I have over these last decades of adventure in the wild places, in slowly gaining an awareness of the importance of giving back.
Although I know I have no control over who will find these, I do wonder about that moment in time, place, and activity.
Will they see this as an intrusion in their adventure day? 
Or will they accept this small gift, and take it away, in the spirit in which it was gathered, painted, mused over, and later placed.
The locations these stones are returned to are usually not as wild as where they were originally found.
The vast majority are placed where a human presence has already been long established.
While I understand people will make what they will of them. 
I hope, as I begin to slowly paint, that the 'Finders' just may reflect for a moment upon this little stones' journey. Why someone would do this, and just maybe they might consider for a moment, what they themselves may choose to give back & pass forward.
Then this little stones' journey really has no end..... DSD  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"The Memory Of Rocks..."

"Geologists have a saying - rocks remember...".  N. Armstrong

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Within Everyone..."

"There exists within everyone a grand passion, an outlandish thirst for adventure, a desire to live boldly and vividly through the journey of life...'.  K. Hahn

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Kurt Hahn..."

"The worth of a belief, does not only consist of the clarity in which it is stated, but also in the steadfastness with which it is defended...".   K. Hahn

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Adventurers Are Studious..."

"Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from the wisdom literature and wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants and trees - should be your Teacher...".  M. Ueshiba

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"The Greatest Wonder..."

"The greatest wonder is that we can see these places and not wonder more...".   R.W. Emerson

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Mystery Creates Wonder..."

"Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand...".  N. Armstrong

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Mystery To Be Found..."

"Hidden in and under the mountain, and all around it, is a mystical, linear elegance, an atmosphere, the long jewel-like ridges. There is a meaning for us, an extended journey, a project of inspiration to which our minds will be apprenticed".
"The mountains... are an exultant image whose mirrors create the effect of endlessly receding planes. Their image is suddenly clear, then is blurred, an expression of our presence".
"The mountain... obscures itself among other mountains, finds secrecy in its weather and moods
There is a strangeness, one of a beautiful worth. A storm breaks. We are called to its prismatic, poetic mood, a beauty that pervades every part of us... for all that is given, and that we are blessed to know, and must leave hidden." P. Ament
Many life long mountaineers, like Ament, eventually journey to a waypoint where the mystery of their adventures' becomes as important as the places themselves.
Wild places, especially mountains, seem to inherently, yet subtly, invite us to search out the mystery to be found out there within these elements..... DSD   

"The Journey Beyond..."

"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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Just An Offering..."

"Having nothing to offer but broken pebbles, I have nevertheless tried to express myself with sincerity..."

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Ephemeral Connections..."

Remember, the last time you heard an eagle's voice. Those who have also heard the longing calls of a loon out over a northern lake know how moving this is as well. We who have listened intently to the haunting music grey wolves create in our forests and mountains, have felt so much within those meaningful moments too. When sea kayaking out near grey whales, or nearby orca's, these momentous experiences become unforgettable memories.
Who has stumbled upon the tracks of a wild animal, like a mountain ram, or those of a grizzly bear out among the high peaks, and has not known the wonder, the tingling, the impelling attention such a discovery invites within us all...
When we ponder the distinct significance of these moments, as we muse over the importance and symbolism within these lasting connections, we then discover such amazing meanings ...
We are all seeking so many things out there. Something reflecting our personal purpose, our individual insights, our own unique motives, These are enduring perceptions that affirm what is most moving for each of us.
It truly can be those ephemeral connections with the wild ones, our wild animal friends, that present exactly that kind of wonderful possibility. 
Then, when we share something of our intentions and commitments with them in turn, we begin to understand our most inner selves as well..... DSD 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"A Never Ending Wonderful Journey..."

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others...".    Gandhi

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"A Further True Journey..."

"Remember, again and again, that the true journey is into the undiscovered land of your own imagination, which you could not have explored any other way than through these adventures, with gratitude in your satchel, and compassion for all you see as your touchstone...".  P. Cousineau  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"I Have Been Given More Than My Share..."

"I have had the world lie beneath my clumsy boots and have seen the red sun slip over the horizon after the dark Antarctic winter. I have been given more than my share of excitement, beauty, laughter and friendship...". Sir Edmund Hillary
When we climb on further, as we then attain such altitude, in those long moments along the way, and then finally up there among the ancient rock, maybe snow and ice, clouds and winds, of our chosen summit - we can be struck by so many things, even when no passing storm is present...
It doesn't matter at this point how hard it was, or what efforts and endurance were asked of us. We have paid the price and often see how inconsequential this is now. For we would do it all over again, because of those meanings are worth every step.
In these forever moments too other things of significance hit home as well. Those insights, those epiphanies, that awareness, which takes us beyond ourselves and the vistas before us.
Within those lasting seconds, in however we each define this, the inexpressible now becomes illuminated, the physical is now transcended.
Such philosophical time up at altitude within our adventures is indeed so very striking...
We begin to truly realize how lucky we are to have a body, a mind, the ability, will and spirit, which takes us upon such wild place experiences.
We have all felt that depth of appreciation when at such heights of emotion.
Then to remember those connections for those present with us, those who have gone before, and even those yet to come. Now we too, are of that family, whom the mountains' embrace...
There is indeed an elevating hopefulness and thankful gratitude that at times surpasses explanation up there. For suddenly, surely, completely, these heartfelt moments take us away and we stand in awe and wonder, as if struck by lightning, yet with no storm passing..... DSD 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"Of Gratefulness, Thankfulness, And Moments..."

Let's all take a few moments, to simply reflect upon our appreciations, and the gratitude we each have, for having one another in our lives.
A thanksgiving homage for all of you my Friends.

"Deeper Within Our Moments..."

Back in those initial moments,
During all of that intensive preparation.
We each dreamed of eventually being on our way,
Towards a longed for journey of adventure - and then we began...
Up there in those unfolding moments,
Upon that long winding ridgeline,
Over rock we were not sure of,
We felt there would be so much energy and excitement - and there clearly was...
Amidst those very challenging moments,
Throughout the route, and then the crux of this chosen mountain.
We thought there would be those engaging sensations of such focus and concentration - and there certainly were...
Then deep within those forever moments,
Finally upon our so elusive summit.
Within that calmness of winds, clouds, and perceptions,
We hoped for those gentle emotions of contentment and connection - and now there always will be..... DSD 

Dedicated this quiet thanksgiving, as we reflect upon that which we appreciate , that which we are grateful for, and as we muse over the many meanings of our wonderful journeys. 
For the WWF , WSPA , IFAW , and Vital Ground .
For all of you too who are still underway 'Adventuring For Another Reason'. 
It is a privilege to share in your journeys .
It is an honour to know you all my Friends....... 

"Rapt In Awe..."

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. 
He whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as gone; his eyes are closed...". A. Einstein

"Gaze Up..."

"I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly -- or ever -- gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe...".  B. Greene

Friday, October 07, 2016


"In earlier times, people recognized and respected animals as kin, as living relations sharing the earth. Through such kinship, animals were our totems, familiars, and healers long before they were ever domesticated...".  M. Fox  

"Each And Every One..."

"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

Thursday, October 06, 2016

"Begin With Fun..."

"The best climber in the world, is the one having the most fun...".   Alex Lowe

"Start Somewhere..."

"One who can move mountains, starts with the little stones...".  Confucius

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

"Unity Of Body, Mind, And Spirit..."

Deng Ming-Dao mused, "When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit... One is freed to observe nature's lessons. Gnarled roots. A flight of swallows. Bladed reflections of rushing water. Just budding bare branches. Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn. A fallen tree. A lone cloud. The laughter of plum branches. Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail - who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle? There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape."

Today, I hold a single rock in my hand, from such a wild place, remembering one meaning from within a thousand. 
Now, I think I will splash just a little bit of paint upon this stone, and place it somewhere special just for you... DSD   

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

"Farther Harmony..."

"Love is the life of the soul.
It is the harmony of the universe...".  W.E. Channing

"Such Harmony..."

“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.”  G. Flaubert

Monday, October 03, 2016

"A Further Secret..."

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, October 02, 2016

"A Little Secret..."

"One of the deep secrets of life is that most that is really worth the doing is what we do for others...".  L. Carroll  

"Sincere Appreciation..."

“A sincere attitude of gratitude is a beatitude for secured altitudes. 
Appreciate what you have been given...".    I. Ayivor 

Saturday, October 01, 2016

"A Subtle Truth..."

"Mountains are stories trapped in stone...".   J. Auld 

"One Of Our Oldest Questions..."

"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