Wednesday, June 20, 2018

“Never Stop...”

"Be like the explorers of old... Never stop learning, never stop exploring, never stop going on adventures." 
D. Ming-Dao
So never shall we..... DSD

Friday, June 15, 2018

“Timely Truth...”

 It 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, 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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

“A Book Of Musings...”

A small book, a great mountain, slowly unfolding sunrise, then a powerful storm.
Endless unique rock, many little stones, very strong winds, then some gentle rain.
An old book passed forward, now read upon a mountain seemingly on fire, gifting images of spirit, and lingering alpenglow.
A very old weathered tome, with an aged character and cover of leather, discovering the experience of losing oneself in its musings, now finding even more to ponder , then to write about too...
A small book, a great mountain, a brilliant sunset, and then such calm.
All reflecting the spirit of our adventures, and now of such lasting precious memories as well..... DSD
Dedicated this adventure day to all of you hardy spirits who are 'Adventuring For Another Reason' .

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human..."
Viktor Frankl
This, my Friends, is what we as adventurers do each and every step on our journeys...

Friday, June 08, 2018


Having mused these many years here, there are times when I've included phrases a number of occasions over. One in particular many of you have commented about echoes with the words, and the metaphors reflecting: "Further, farther, onward, upward, and inward as well".
I describe such phrases as echoes, as they are not really mine, but potent words, within powerful memories from out on Outward Bound courses. Every time, each moment, one of our Leaders shared such an encouragement, it resonated and resounded greatly with all of us. They often only used a few simple words, then began inviting and allowing for us to find our own meanings for them amidst our experiences out there.
"A little longer", they would say, "A bit further", they said, and then too, "A touch farther", "Onwards", and "Upwards".
Then so quietly, "Inwards" too, they would gently invite us to gaze.
The passing forward of such echoes, are gifts given many, many, times over..... DSD 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

“Subtle Choices...”

There are always subtle choices to be made when adventuring out there... In the ways and means we each choose for our own paths. Especially knowing all the while we will need to forsake soreness. 
We press past our perceived physical limitations so many times.
When mountaineering, hiking, and paddling, we deny the discomforts and refuse to give in to whatever pain is often present. 
Being tired and sore is a price of admission we have each committed to pay, as we break away from whatever soreness used to mean to us. When preparing and training, we already know that it not just about pain & gain, but respectfully, purposefully, guiding ourselves past those prior points of reference.
As many have mused before, and as I have always held closely to, we would rather be worn out than not have gone, and soreness simply tells us we are chipping away at the rust of it all...
While forsaking such soreness, we do not withdraw our enthusiasm, nor renounce our intentions - we simply refuse to allow such fatigue and physical discomfort to make us abandon our chosen adventure objectives. We will not desert our goals for wandering out there.
We have broken away from more commonly held notions, because we know in our hearts that the toll & price of the pain of regret is much higher than the costs of our efforts. For if we relinquish what is truly important to us, if we give up on what is distinctly meaningful for each of us - then we have forsaken so much more than soreness..... DSD 
Dedicated to all those who keep going, putting one foot in front of the other...

Monday, June 04, 2018


Countless dreams, endless visions, like eternally polished stones,
As we so journey, very far away, we then discover home...
Hand worn wooden staff and paddle,
Ancient trails of rock and water,
Along paths of such immense beauty, enduring memories then to share...
Elusive summits, among open valleys,
Overlooking deep canyons, at first so very hidden,
Islands of wonder, wild rivers and oceans,
Seeking the whole mystery, becoming even quieter still...
We are able to discover, so much eternal wonder,
While musing and pondering, lingering and wandering,
Seeing with new eyes, within our many adventurous ways...
Finding such connections, along our shared paths,
As we so long journey,
We will surely then discover home..... DSD 

Dedicated this season to all you Fellow Wanderers, who are out still 'Adventuring For Another Reason'. 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

“O Muse...”

“Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings, O Muse...".  Homer's Odyssey

Friday, June 01, 2018

“Mountains Within Our Dreams...”

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 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

”Contemplative Motion...”

To Kinhin - To go forward.
An Eastern concept, reflecting being on a course of philosophy and meditation.
To be within our Kinhin is to be immersed in a meditative meditation while moving; often as a walking meditative state. Other motion can be embraced though as well.
The Kinhin process is linked to our breathing, part of each step, yet found between our steps too.
The Kinhin experience is an awareness of body, joined in movement. The gentle focus upon position of our head, shoulders, hands, the transfer of weight, our balance & center, all step by measured step.
This is contemplative motion.
A single step, then another, each step, by step, within a further step.
Our mind, core, legs, feet, and then the earth, all joined, blending, while looking down, yet ahead as well. Feeling like yet another kind of ephemeral trail dancing.
Being within Kinhin requires only a gentle focus of sorts at first. But the goaless goal is simply to do it, be it, without over thinking, thus creating the eventual meditative movement within each moment.
If our mind wanders, or the vistas attract us, or a conversation engages us, then we eventually just return to the meditations, the movement, the motion..
We adventurers are usually quite mindful about all the kinds of terrain within our perceptions out there, as it is important often for safety, and also fun to do so.
Yet the Kinhin quieting is another level to our awareness out within the wild places. As we hike, drift in our kayak, in the midst of our climbing, all blending elemental rhythms of self, earth, air, waters, and the energy all about and within us... DSD 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Just My Pack And I..."

Such very old friends we are,
Good companions for quite long.
We've shared so many wild experiences,
Within endless days well out there.
We've journeyed far and wide together,
Carrying things for each other.
Me toting these old packs,
Then them carrying me as well.
No one else about this day,
Nothing more needed for our hike.
Just our own company yet once again,
As we begin the trail and the pathways up.
I so enjoy these adventures which we share,
Such moments seem simpler and then more clear.
Nothing technical to be done this time,
Only the essentials will we both carry.
I am always very happy to see again,
These old cherished well worn partners.
Much like their siblings from the past,
Who have become special for me as well.
Such very old friends we are,
Great companions for so long.
One more lovely day out there,
For just my pack and I..... DSD   

Friday, May 18, 2018

"Just A Heads Up..."

Such a subtle transformation it was.
One of the processes of alchemy that Outward Bound Instructors are so well known for, as they lead wondering wanderers out there for their first time.
It was at the beginning of our course, with those heavy packs, the unknowns before us, some with new boots, others with doubts and fears, all inexperienced adventurers.
All of us were heads down it seemed, when hiking, when climbing, even as it felt at times when we were resting too.
If we looked up at all we would catch that inspiring glimpse of one of our leaders, head up, relaxed and contemplative. Mostly of us, but also of their surroundings, and even of something maybe not really seen, likely more elusive for those of us so new to these highlands.
As we so journeyed, we were coached and encouraged to keep our heads up. Initially because we would likely breath better, Later it was more about awareness... Of the wild places we were moving among, and the unfolding experiences we were going through.
As the long days became deep nights, and the nights evolved back to enduring days, then further to expansive hours, and more finally slowed to moments - one by one we individually found ourselves more heads up.
We began recognizing this in each other, and also saw the ongoing smiles this sparked within each of us.
The packs were still heavy. The terrain just as challenging. The footing as tricky at times. But we were no longer existing just with heads down.
These wild place perspectives had changed us as we had evolved farther while journeying through them.
From heads down. To heads up.
From enduring to enjoying.
From doubts to confidence.
From unknowns to welcoming embracements.
From just tired meandering to blissful wandering.
All with our heads up, held high, with great big full wonderful smiles to be found upon everyone's faces.
Heads up my friends..... DSD 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Waiting To Be Discovered..."

When introduced to our first Outward Bound Instructor on my initial course, we would learn that this person was very much a Leader, then also both Mentor and a Guide, yet even more.
We all began to realize from those moments on that more within this adventure experience was waiting to be discovered.
When we thought we were there, he invited us to move further along the trails.
When we believed we were too tired to take another step, he gently showed us how to go even farther.
If we thought it couldn't be done by ourselves, he would then support each of us in taking turns leading our group onward.
At times we could not see our way, and were then inspired by his vision.
As our doubts and uncertainties about where we were, and what we were doing became apparent, he modelled and demonstrated  the ways and means to keep going upward.
It was clear that what was heard and learned by us now, was becoming more than only what was said...
But what I myself found most intense, so distinctly vivid still in my memory, was what happened after I had shared about some particular limiting beliefs.
He looked right at me, if not right into me.
He didn't sit back, but instead stepped forward.
He asked certain distinct questions that only I could answer myself.
Then he also whispered quiet affirmations that seemed to resonate just for me.
What was said echoed out, but what was also truly sensed right then by me was an invitation - reflecting an intense enthusiasm, for sincere and powerful commitment.
What was said, then what was sensed, would now guide me along those endless paths for discovering more within than I had ever first realized..... DSD  

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

"Your First Course..."

"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time...". T.S. Eliot
On Outward Bound, on these many adventures, over all these long wonderfully full years, we share in learning more regarding what the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and the canyons are all really about.
On Outward Bound, through such adventures, over these endlessly amazing seasons, we then share in the knowledge too about who we are truly becoming as we are out wandering.
For we learn so much about all of what is out there. 
Then we discover as well that there is so much more within than ever first realized.
For as Henry miller wrote too: "Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things".
From gazing back upon where we each started .
Look at where we are now..... DSD 

Dedicated to all those about to undertake their first Outward Bound course this year.  

Sunday, May 06, 2018

"I Didn't Know I Had It In Me..."

A thesis demonstrated, a question answered, a lesson proved - out on Outward Bound yet once more.
I have seen it so many times over the years. Now it was shared with me again as a friends young family member pondered over their own elusive adventure experience.
There were remembrances of the trials out on the trails, the pushing of limits towards summits, and the evolving but sure developing of confidences.
Further skills needed to be learned and then truly practiced. Also enduring connections needed to be made with others, and with the many elements out among the wild places.
Yet, what echoed out most especially and significantly was what was then stated by a young adventurer who then quietly said, "I didn't know I had it in me...".
What wonderfully, powerful words these are.
That reflect even more potent meanings for all of us who wander.
Their Outward Bound maxim is that there is always more within us than we ever first realize.
This musing is one that we are quietly invited to endlessly ask deeply of ourselves.
The lesson then proved, is the gift we now have, in the answers we each create, while adventuring far out there.
There was still wonder, surprise, even awe, on the face of this young friend as those words were repeated again. By someone who now senses what they do indeed truly have within themselves. A young person who will now carry these dawning realizations further forward, and ever upward, now throughout their unfolding life.
Just like when I said this myself...
Way back then, so very long ago, and still subtly often do now, time and time again as well.
Such a wonderful lasting echo this is..... DSD 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Drums In The Distance..."

I think they have always been there.
These 'drums in the distance'.
Drumming has always been a very moving music for me to listen closely to. Those endless varied beats reflect our pulse it seems, the rhythms our pacing, and its' engagement our excitement.
So when I dream, ponder, and muse; then especially as I train, plan, and prepare - I often hear them building. These resounding drums in the distance.
The farther we go, the more clear they begin to feel.
The higher we climb, the more they resonate so strongly.
The longer distance we cover, the more distinct this music evolves.
The harder the experience we endure, the more pronounced the moving memories become.
I know I am not the only one who has sensed them..
There are many others who nod their heads, and slowly smile, when we quietly discuss hearing such music amidst our shared inspirations.
These drums in the distance echo off the highest mountains, within those endless ocean waves, from across the tallest desert towers and deepest canyon walls, even from beyond the farthest northern lakes.
These distant drums particularly resound from the long awaited anticipations, the real excitements, the epiphanies & wonders, and the unfolding awe we experience when beginning, and then enjoying, our journeys far out there.
The pulsing is really an inner music we know. The beat reverberating from our own hearts and songs.
But they are always there.
Never really silent.
Those slowly building, powerfully resonating, rhythmically feeling, forever echoing - our drums in the distance..... DSD 

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Musae, Movere, Ignis. Significatio, Elementi, Vita. Ignis, Ubi, Natura... Nine words of Latin. Written on some parchment. Found in an old register. Upon an elusive summit. It seems the interpretation though, is now up to each of us. Calculus...  DSD  

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Just One Stone..."

"If I am hiking along a ridge with my mind somewhere else, then the rocks and grasses between my feet are just rocks and grasses. But if I am mindful, curious, and observant enough to stoop down and pick up just one stone because it has an unusual shape, then it becomes magic, not just for me but for everyone around me... If I go one step further and grind up some pigments to make ochre dyes, paint the stone lovingly, and set it on the mantle as a reminder of this hike, then the magic has become a prayer for the survival of my tribe...".  J. Turk

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Our Adventure Fascinations..."

"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 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Right Where We Are At..."

This is true, regardless of wherever on our maps we begin, or whenever we finally set out on those paths. However we start, full of anticipations & excitement, possibly a touch of doubt or anxiousness, maybe even wanting to leave behind some of the distractions from back here, and surely seeking out fun & freedoms out there.
Wherever, whenever, however - the trail always meets us right exactly where we are at.
This is not only a profoundly simple metaphor we mused over back on Outward Bound, nor only some kind of symbolism we have pondered over longer years since. For whatever adventures we choose to embark upon, we each can always be assured of the endlessly hospitable invitations of the wild places. These are our very own quiet accepting callings from far away.
The consistent greetings from the wind are always there. The embracements of both sun and moon forever present. The close connections around our campfires are truly lasting. Then there are the welcoming affections from the waters, the stone itself, and from all the elements then blending together.
The reception we are given, the genuine greetings always made, are the ways wherein the wild places truly make us feel at peace and at home out there.
What initially may only seem like terrain under our boots, becomes depths of emotion and such lasting memories, reflecting the experiences of every unfolding step thereafter.
Oh, the trail does indeed always meet us just exactly where we are at, and forever gladly received do we then forever feel..... DSD

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Far More Important..."

"That first flash of imagination, those first, simple ideas of the mountains - perfect snow pyramids, glistening with sunlight in rarified air. That is the true form of these mountains; not only their physical manifestations, but their metaphysical truths...
It is the thing not seen, known only by its effects.
Untraceable on maps, but far more important.
Like clouds, like love, like gravity...".   J. Auld

Saturday, April 14, 2018

"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.  

Sunday, April 08, 2018


During countless adventure experiences have I mused about the nature of timelessness out within our wanderings.
Under many millions of stars have I then gazed up, dreamed about such journeys that we share in, and envisioned how we each then discover more within than ever first realized, thanks to Outward Bound.
I reflected too upon those hundreds of thousands of storms which have surely polished these kinds of stones which I seek for you my Friends, with that weather's powerful energy, and all those winds, snow, and rain.
About the tens of thousands of individual steps we take out there, where each and every one is a joy, while moving ourselves further among the wild places.
Also in how easily a thousand thoughts have been formed and focused up high, like the plans & preparation I make for an adventure such as on that day. Those ponderings within the excited enthusiasm and anticipations we all have, that take each of us so much further.
I reflect too over a hundred days and nights on other trips gone by, bringing me finally to be at very high place on the map. 
About the many valleys and trails, hikes and climbs over the years, which can now be seen as actual directions eventually leading right where we each are now..
I muse as well about a very dozen mountains, embraced by such beautiful vistas, all where many climbs have taken place - such wonderous times upon those so special peaks.
Then to a single summit, upon a unique high point, where I composed these simple words, while having gathered up some small touchstones for you Dear Finders. 
Then as I descended with the sunset, a million stars will begin to shyly shine far away on the horizon once more. All enlightening the journey to here and now. 
These are the forever moments that unfold within our adventures Dear Friends.
Those truly endless memories that we so enjoy, smiling about them time & time again, and always then sharing them in our stories with one another..... DSD 
Dedicated this adventure season to those who Adventure For Another Reason .

Friday, April 06, 2018

"Stand Out Like Stone..."

"Life is mostly froth and bubble.
Two things stand out like stone.
Kindness in another's troubles.
Courage in your own..."  
A. Lindsay

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

"Adventure As A Poem..."

“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul...".  W. Maugham
"A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind...".  E. Lonesco

The substance of our adventures,
And the echoes of a poem,
How very much alike,
They feel so much to be.

The elements of adventures,
And the essence of many poems,
Far away they always take us,
How much then will we see.

A life among adventures,
The feelings within a poem,
Experiences we reach with hope towards,
Understandings that then embrace us too.

Truly they are one and the same,
So wonderfully similar they always are,
The adventuring of shared perceptions,
The poetry of our forever wanderings..... DSD

Dedicated this adventure day to all those 'Artists of Being Alive' who continue to Adventure For Another Reason.      

Monday, April 02, 2018

"The Compass Rose..."

The Compass Rose is often described as an ancient navigational symbol; a figure of direction; and a mandala for Adventurers.
It can be seen in so many forms, like on my Outward Bound pins which I am gazing upon at this moment. Countless references can be found in readings and stories that reflect on the historical values of its use; and in the meanings and analogies for compasses.
The Compass Roses' age old perspectives re-minds me to see adventure experiences through 'long term eyes'.
There are powerful metaphors and depth of meaning in well applying concepts of navigation and direction within our outdoor lives, and not just in the most practical sense of finding our way.
This image of a Rose within the Compass holds mystery too in allowing us to set an unknown but intentional course over lands and waters previously only dreamed about, and do we not all simply love that.
We have owned many compasses over the years, and still have them all.
I enjoy discovering the Rose as the key placed upon antique maps, which displays the skill of the artist, and have often been put there for luck, especially when the world was uncharted as it is now.
I've often painted elements of the Compass Rose on these small Summit Stones under mountains and oceans, to capture a sense of their essence.
If only a hidden one.
Some of the very first Summit Stones were only the painted face of a Compass. Now many have North, South, East, and West woven into the lines of paint on mountains.
I remember... Finding a Compass Rose carved into a large piece of driftwood just off Quadra Island.
I recall... a passage from a book in my youth, whose Author wrote:
"Under the rock was the rose of a compass that was not supposed to be there, carved as clearly into the stone as if etched that very day. If done by the hand of a mason or the elements I could not tell".
We each truly love the sense of mystery that accompanies the Compass Rose.
I believe that while Maps carry promises...
Compasses show us one way to fulfill these... DSD

Sunday, April 01, 2018

"Look At Where We Are Now..."

We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time...". T.S. Eliot
On Outward Bound, on those many adventures, and over all these long wonderfully full years, we all have shared in learning more - regarding what the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and the canyons are all really about.
On Outward Bound, through such adventures, over these endlessly amazing seasons, we then also share in the knowledge too about who we are truly becoming as we are out wandering.
For as we learn so much about all of what is out there,
then we discover as well that there is so much more within each of us than ever first realized.
For as Henry miller wrote too: "Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things...".
From musings while gazing back upon where we each started .
Look at where we are now..... DSD 

Friday, March 30, 2018

"What Matters..."

"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

Monday, March 26, 2018

"Outward Bound Echoes..."

"Attitude is one of those words that gets thrown around like it means something. It does, but not what most people think. It's not about how you look, dress, move, talk, or anything else you can work out with your bedroom mirror. Attitude is if you see somebody struggling, do you help... It's walking a moonlit forest like you belong there. It's going up against real obstacles and getting knocked around. Once. Twice. A zillion times. Then getting up. That's it. Just getting up over and over until one day, you're up all the way. And it can be anything. Sailing. Sea kayaking. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Whatever...". Outward Bound
Oh, how I've mused over the years, about these kinds of words. 
As a teenager I discovered Outward Bound but was not able to attend until later. I dreamt longingly of what I would experience there and was not disappointed. My first experience set the course for many adventures to follow. This was also not to be my only Outward Bound course either. 
I was mentored about attitude and adventure. 
I learned that what we often believe is only 'out there' we actually can create 'within' as well. And there was indeed 'more within me' than I had ever thought. 
My first solo was with them and these too have continued to be enduring, powerful experiences. 
Outward Bound is an experiential adventure metaphor in motion, and has been the first such exposure that many great adventurers found for themselves in their youth. 
Kurt Hahn and the Outward Bound Schools have such an attitude of service and have given so much to both individuals and their communities. 
I am proud of my OB memories and pins, and grateful for the instructors and their guidance. 
It was during these experiences that I first started thinking that if I can do these things, so many others can too, and if so many of us can then...  DSD  

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Of Difficulties..."

"The merit of so many things,
lies in their difficulty...".
Alexandre Dumas

Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Discovering For Ourselves..."

"We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves... After a journey through the wilderness which no one can make for us...".  
M. Proust

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


At the entry to a valley I have wandered in over the years is a wooded area full of life and noise and wonder. 
It was here I first met Raven. 
Such a large bird of glistening black with so irritating a voice. 
Having returned there so many times, this Raven and I seemed to develop a connection of sorts, that went from simple awareness to something very much more.
Every time I went back was usually for a different reason, some to just walk, many to hike further, even more as the approach to a mountain then chosen to climb. 
Raven always seemed to be there, watching and waiting. 
In the early years, Raven stayed up in the trees, and let me know I was not likely welcome with that loud call, the fluffing up, and the spreading of wings. During later times though it appeared we were becoming a bit more used to each other and I would even call back on occasion in fun. To my surprise, Raven would then pause and give me the most inquisitive look as if I had said something of some meaning.
Those last years Raven actually came closer when I called back, flying over, landing near, hopping back and forth, all the while keeping those clear, sharp, curious eyes upon me. I am not sure when exactly our conversations started, but I think they began when I was returning from an unsuccessful summit attempt one year. I was upset by my route finding and less than optimal fitness that season. Raven probably heard me mumbling to myself as I neared and cawed out more loudly than ever before, "I know, I know", I said out loud in reply, and then took Raven's response to me as one of laughter over my overreactions and a reminder not to take such things so seriously. After then landing closely nearby, I looked over at Raven and that bird simply sat there, calmly and more quietly than I ever remembered, and just stared at me for the longest time. 
I couldn't help but just laugh out loud. 
Over the seasons Raven and I continued to converse about many things. Our chats became more personal as we allowed each other to get physically closer and I believe trustingly, more emotionally closer too. That loud brash voice so bothersome in its call, and yet so comforting in its messages. 
Our talks went on for over a decade and in that time I think we began to know the other better. 
We were more able to understand each of our worlds, and very much enjoyed a connection out there.
On each visit, Raven would hop about, clacking that dark bill, kind of whistle occasionally, peck at my pack, and remind me with a shrill screech that I wasn't paying attention to the moment. "I know, I know...", I would say yet again and again; and then laugh in response along with Raven's intelligent stares at me.
Raven always reminded me to remember the truly important things, always chided me when I was distracted, never allowed me to just wander past without pausing in those moments to say hello, and to share how each of our adventures were going.
Raven wasn't there that last season. 
I knew immediately something was amiss. 
It was too quiet and the silence lacked the welcome I had known there so many times before. 
I did later find two beautiful, long black feathers laying out there. Raven's last gift to me I am sure.
I like to think Raven's voice can still be heard out there though, all his kin seem to have taken up the call. 
To simply remind us to laugh and wonder, and to bring our attention back to those special moments that we mark our lives by.
I do miss you old friend. 
Your voice irritating and so very beloved. You were such a friendly cherished bother...   DSD

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Having, Doing, Being..."

“Lives based on only having are less free than lives also based on either doing or on being.”   
William James

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Moving & Stretching..."

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"The Quietest Voices Calling..."

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."  Immanuel Kant
There are very few of us adventurers who have not had desires and dreams about, and then actual experiences in sharing the wild places with, our family of wild ones out there.
Our experiences become so very special when this happens, when we see them, especially when we share a moment among them, and so we hope though while elusive that this will happen again and again for us.
Most of us cherish these moments almost as none other, they are so unique, so touching. Then we also often want to reflect upon our own lives through totems and symbols of what these special creatures of the earth represent to each of us.
I have forever longed for such connection with the wild ones, the quiet ones, and have been so grateful when it occurs. We admire their courage, their tenacity & endurance, their strength, their energy, the very spirit with which they live their lives out there. Without asking for anything in return they share with us their wisdom, and the mystery & memories of ageless wonders.
Yet we also know, as ones who wander out there, the risks they too face. We have seen the realities and the impacts of changes and clashes of territory, species, and cultures. We feel it deeply when their hurt voices are raised.
The truth of it is, even with their wild ways and powers we may envy, that they are really the most vulnerable ones, these quiet ones who call to us...
Within their callings they point us towards ways of fulfilling our own longings.
We adventure as we can, they must venture always.
We wander wild places to enhance our lives, they journey wild places because it is their lives.
We are an integral part within both of each others history and future.
They are our most precious ones. They are an essential part of our family, can be our teachers, our guides, our healers. They are the most vulnerable ones. They need us, yet we need them just as much, do we not my friends...
What would the wild places be without our family of wild ones?
We often hear their voices when they call in the dark, when dawn begins, and they can be heard too as we stop and listen and still ourselves when we wander out there.
They are the quietest voices, strong but often scared voices, they call as much to us as they do to each other to listen, to hear, to know, to feel...
Strong as they are they are vulnerable too. We know of such vulnerabilities, as we have touched it through our human frailties and with the risks we experience as we adventure. We are as vulnerable as well for in losing these quiet ones, in not hearing their voices, in not taking those paths that might mean some extra efforts on our part - will most certainly result in the loss of experiences shared with them and horizons only dreamed of.
We can do this, we who wander and adventure. We have strengths that can be theirs, and these quiet ones will then in turn share their wisdom with us, which may a saving grace for all.
Please listen with me for a while as the quietest voices are calling.
They are calling for us.
They are quiet voices reaching out to each of us.
Let us each respond, in our own way, even in some small way, and then go out there again, to see them, to embrace them, because we really are on one and the same path..... DSD