Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Spectrum

For life to be truly rich and rewarding, we have to run the full gamut of possibilities. We have to take chances. Our thoughts and feelings, our experiences, and the people we encounter will always present us with the opportunities and obstacles to learn and grow. Sometimes the lessons are immediately salient and those are always welcome. I wish that would happen more often. At other times, the lessons are hard to come by, only revealing themselves at a much, much later time. It's the hard-earned lessons that really test us and therefore have the potential to be more enriching. On a personal note, it may take me several tries to improve on my thoughts, feelings, and actions but I can assure you I will make mistakes along the way. To be honest, if I knew what to do in all situations, I wouldn't be risking anything and I wouldn't be growing. Be patient with me though. I am not lazy in my approach. I will do my best with the tools that I have at that moment in time and then I will reflect and learn and hopefully earn my rewards.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pictures Speak Louder than Words

My pictures will never do justice to the places I go. My only real goal is to convey enough of my fascination to inspire the same.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finding Beauty

Beautiful places exist. Sometimes you have to go find them though. Sometimes you have to let go of the things that you thought mattered to make room for the things that really do. If there is anything I have learned recently, it is to always ask yourself, "What really matters?"

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Mountains Simply Exist

"The secret of the mountains is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no "meaning," they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all of this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day."
- Peter Mattiessen, The Snow Leopard

I read this book several years ago but I just stumbled across this quote again. I enjoyed The Snow Leopard when I read it but this quote seems more poignant today. I will re-read books at times when I find that the meaning has become more relevant. This may be just such a case.

I am about done with writing this blog. It reminds me of the meaning I once found in the mountains when the mountains just existed and I did too, ringing together. The words are just words now. I am no longer able to venture off and create the meaning I once had and yet I look up to the mountains hoping that it will come down to me. I know better. The mountains are amazing and I must exist.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

This is a classic line from one of the greatest movies ever made - Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Indiana Jones was a bit of a hero of mine growing up.  As a kid, phrases like this made a person sound tough and Indiana Jones epitomized tough.  

We all have fictional heroes such as this which is understandable given how easy it is to create the ideal person through fiction. For me, a hero is the kind of man who can always get up after one of those bone-crushing punches which, by the way, are probably the best audio clips ever put to film.  PUNCH

Heroes like Indiana Jones are fun to have, especially as a kid, but as we grow we need to have more real life heroes; people with flaws who experience consequences, people who know pain and the value of perseverance, and people who have risked more than a movie character racing into the next unimaginable cliffhanger situation without a second thought.

So where do we find these heroes? Family and friends maybe. A teacher or mentor perhaps. I wonder why is it so hard to hold up our own deeds as an example? Is it because it compromises our humility which is a trait we value in those we admire? No one wants to seem arrogant after all. But then in contrast, is it heroic to learn to accept our limitations? I was always taught to reach for my limits and surpass them if possible. 

Failure is a lot of hard work and it seems to contradict the image of the hero and thus complicate matters when celebrating real people. Real people fail. I suppose that is why we seek out heroes in fictional characters like Indiana Jones. We can dream about being that person yet we can also momentarily lose ourselves in a story as we try to escape the trials of our own endeavor. Family and friends and teachers are obviously great people to turn to but their experiences and examples are limited by the confines of their own path.

The bottom line is that there will come a time when fiction is just a distraction and family and friends don't relate. There comes a time when we have to be our own example, like it or not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Going It Alone (Revisionist Thinking)

There is a special excitement that comes from solo adventure; something that I have trouble explaining unless you already know what I mean. Don't get me wrong though, I do love sharing in the fun with my friends equally as much but for different reasons yet some of my most cherished moments have come when I had the courage to set out on my own. Most of my big, solo endeavors happened simply because no one could muster the time or money to join me and I figured that if I waited for the perfect circumstance, it just might never happen. So that's why I go . . . and I believe I am a better person for having trusted in myself. 

I remember one specific occasion, sitting in a dirt ditch, absorbing the sun and waiting for a bus to pick me up when one of those moments of pure self-satisfaction set in. The previous couple of days had embodied my ideal of solo travel, having not seen anyone for at least that long and subjecting myself to the tumultuous on-again, off-again Patagonian weather. I had just wrapped up backpacking the seldom travelled Mirador Zapata trail in the Torres Del Paine when a red fox decided to investigate my situation. He was wisely cautious but not very shy as is often the case with wildlife in the parks. I'm sure he expected me to throw him a morsel of food since that is the evolution of the national park sycophant (both parties being one, of course). For my part, I desired a stolen moment with nature and for the fox, he craved something sweet and so we both acquiesced. With Los Cuernos on the distant horizon and just me and the fox sitting there, I became ever more present in the salience of being alone.

Setting off on one's own excursion certainly has its rewards but likewise it has its pitfalls. Recently I realized that one of the unintended consequences is that people assume you always want to do things on your own which simply isn't true. It just works out that way. Another big drawback of "going solo" is that you sacrifice building some of those meaningful connections in life that are so necessary in finding happiness. Unfortunately, this lesson only becomes obvious when you are in need of help. When things are going well on your own it is all too easy to revel in your ability but when things aren't going so great, well, frankly the weight of the situation can be unbearable.

Does it build character to go it alone when things get rough? Who knows. I'll tell you if I figure it out.

Old post on the same topic. Going Solo

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Good Riddance 2014!

What can I say? At the risk of wearing too much emotion on my sleeve, this year fucking sucked (and the next one doesn't look too promising either). Oh well, I tried hard.  I got up and dusted myself off after numerous and on-going setbacks. I am not generally one to believe in superstitious bullshit or esoteric hocus pocus, but I do believe in all kinds of luck in the universe - good luck, bad luck, and dumb luck being the most common forms. Generally in life we try to position ourselves for good luck while consciously avoiding the bad. I accept that we exert some control over our world but there are many and unpredictable variables to consider as well. Hopefully I have run the well dry of bad luck for a while. Hell, I would be pleased as punch if a little dumb luck blew my way too.  

That being said, the prayer flags didn't blow off my porch today. I suppose that, in and of itself, is good tidings. You see the idea behind prayer flags is that the wind carries blessings and good will to benefit everyone around and it was one crazy, blustery day outside. The air must be lousy with prayers and/or good luck (or whatever other nomenclature you prefer). I guess we can only strive and hope that they find us all soon in 2015.

Good Riddance  - A throwback to better times.  I had to post something if I was using the title.