“A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch [Arches National Park] has the curious ability to remind us–like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness–that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures.”
Edward Abbey, “Cliffrose and Bayonets,” in Desert Solitaire; A Season in the Wilderness (1968)
“We spend our days trying to be big. In the middle of nowhere, though, we can surrender to smallness again and instead find where we fit in the landscape. Out there, where there’s nothing, is where there’s the most to learn.”
-Christopher Solomon, “A Case for Getting Far, Far Away,” The New York Times, May 16, 2013
Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.
Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing back one sees the path that must never be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road— Only wakes upon the sea.
**A quick apology to those of you who may have received an erroneous notification from WordPress yesterday about a new Going Glacial post. Technology briefly got the best of me.
With the turning of leaves from vivid green to fiery shades of red, yellow, and orange, and the first dustings of white gracing our highest peaks in the West, I am suddenly made aware of the imminent change in seasons (and thus, of the pressing need to at last emerge from blogging hibernation). The summer of 2012 in the Salt Lake Valley proved to be a scorcher, with record-high temperatures and raging wildfires prompting steady use of air-conditioning, ample ice cream consumption, escapes on-foot and on-bike into the high-alpine enclaves of the Wasatch, and, quite often, more dramatic excursions to mountains, lakes, sea, and even to overseas snow for those changes in scenery so integral to satisfying the daily leaps and bounds of my imagination. The mountains climbed, food (as well as snow and dirt) tasted, conversation and company experienced, and languages spoken during these toasty few months have all done their part to contribute to a fulfilling and high-adrenaline, if not eclectic, summer, and to a compel a new period of hibernation for early autumn writing, picture-making, and editing…perhaps even before those fiery leaves fall to the ground and our beloved mountains welcome the graceful falling of snowflakes and make way for the delightful cold of winter.
As a preface to a forthcoming blog post (finally, some words! it has been awhile, indeed), I wanted to share two photos, one new, the other old, from outdoor adventures in two of my favorite locations. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation last night by Mike Libecki (mikelibecki.com). I’ll take a quick crack at describing this guy, and it most likely won’t be particularly eloquent: crazy, epic, amazing adventurer who goes on solo expeditions to “virgin earth” in hot pursuit of untouched rock climbing routes in the Earth’s remotest places. Let’s face it: anyone whose lingo features most prominently such phrases as “oh, the sweetness of life,” “the time is now,” and “don’t ration your passion” is simply awesome, and should serve as model for the “rest of us,” for those of us that struggle to adopt Eckhart’s “live in the present” tactic at all turns. I’m saying too much, when in fact I should be allowing the photographs to speak for themselves, but just a few more words…apparently I’m not so keen on rationing my passion on this pristine, bluebird morning in Utah’s Wasatch. At the conclusion of Libecki’s presentation on mind-blowing adventures in eastern Greenland and in Afghanistan, he started calling out numbers for a small raffle featuring gear/trail snacks donated by some of his big-name sponsors. It’s human nature to get stoked about winning “free” stuff, but I honestly didn’t need any of the gear that he was giving away, even for $5.00/ticket. Serendipity struck. When Libecki called out my ticket number for the “grand finale” item, I accepted into my possession a beautiful ice ax-like dagger that he picked up on his latest adventure in Afghanistan. Needless to say, I was delighted to receive a genuine memento from Libecki’s adventures and from his interaction with local cultures and populations, a sense of connection to his passion, to his adventure, and to his broader story. On my walk home under pristinely starry skies and through a welcoming cluster of snow-covered spruce trees, I started thinking about the passion that fuels our adventure in the first place, the in-the-moment experiences that keep the flame alive, the thoughts and emotions that we take with us at the conclusion of adventure, and the itch to venture forth, yet again, that develops soon thereafter. For me, the constant in this wild and wonderful constellation is an urgent sense of connectedness to and appreciation for the natural world. The knowledge that mountains, rivers, valleys, fjords, glaciers, and even beaches (yes, I like to unwind with some mindless lounging…occasionally) await my light and respectful footprints whets my appetite for more…every single day.
I’ve already said too much, and now it’s time to feel some winter sun on my weathered cheeks.
Flowery, Muir-like language aside: the world is simply an amazing, amazing place.