Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dangerous Trail Hiking

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
- Edward Abbey

Themes are an amazing thing. You speak them, and they come into being. So when I said that this year, I would be Ferocious.... boy did the Universe ask me to step up to that one. ( and that's the "serendipity"part)

So much of my life, I fought doing things the easy way. In fact, for someone who has almost no Earth in their astrological chart, I have a huge stubborn, bull-headed streak. If there's a way to complicate a matter, I'm the one charging straight for it.

My father once said that I like to shoot myself in the foot, and (a) complain about the pain and (b) show my wound to everyone and ask for sympathy. My father is ALSO a huge Edward Abbey fan.

Come to think of it, my father also tends to do things the difficult way. Sorry Dad, but it looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.... although I must say, if I'm going to be like someone, my Dad is a pretty fantastic choice. I've seen him go thru some pretty rough stuff, but he's discovered the joy of peaceful open place, and he honors his "inner wanderer" in wonderful ways. May I grow into that wisdom.

But I'm off track, I was going to speak to dangerous trails. The view is much more magnificent when you had to trudge a bit to get there. A road that challenges you beyond what you thought possible is the only way we get to experience our own growth. It blesses us with this opportunity to reach inside, and despite our doubts, pull something from within us, utilize some tool previously unknown, and conquer an adventure we would not have thought possible.

This seems to go hand in hand with this week's SwirlyGirl Figment, which asks us "if all expenses are paid and your safety is gauranteed, where in the world would you want to go?"

At first of course, my thoughts went to Scotland, the place that feels most like home. But I want to stay in Scotland, not just visit, so perhaps that is not the answer this week. I long to see the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris again. The sun setting, turning the marble pink, as street musicians play is one of my happiest travel memories.

But then I thought, "Dream bigger... have anything."

I thought of OuterSpace. Watch the earth rise from the moon. See Jupiter close up. Swim thru the cosmic materials in the rings of Saturn. However, her question does ask where in "the world would I go, and so perhaps "space" might be outside the rules.

This turned my thoughts to the even greater unknown... The bottom of the ocean. It remains one of the undiscovered countries of our planet because of the physics of pressure and light. A human being simply can't exist down there, but OH, what wonders haven't we seen.

Safety gauranteed, I could swim with dolphins, killer whales, sharks, and creatures that haven't even been discovered. Would a see the mysterious Giant Squid? Could I, in some essence become a mermaid, and live as one of the beings of the sea?

Changing course again....what of my Big Cat love? Safari in Africa is another wild and wonderful choice. Not just a tourists' drive through the open plains, but a stay WITH the animals. Sleeping on the dry grass of the veldt and listening to the lions hunt. Wander with elephants as they search for water and food. View an endless sunrise and listen to the wild world waking up.

Or the most dangerous trail.... Mt. Everest. If I was fully funded and gauranteed to survive, could I... would I .... hike the tallest mountain on our planet? Surely the sights from up there are beyond imagining... top of the world, knowing you are there through your own strength, stubborness and determination.

Then again, isnt' part of the thrill of Everest that ever-lingering possiblity that you may die? So would safety gauranteed be a help, or a hinderance? If it's not all on the line, do you still have the same determination to push forward?

Do we sometimes hike the dangerous trails, simply for the fact that they are dangerous? Or is that line of thinking why I keep shooting myself in the foot?

No comments: