Sunday, May 29, 2011


Right at the very top was the hardest rock; right at the highest point required the most difficult moves. Much later I would learn to call such places the crux of it all. It was only our second time though, to climb upon the face of these cliffs, in the midst of our Outward Bound course so many years ago... A cliff that may feel small in perspective now, but way back then it was a towering rock face for us all. It was during our initial day of learning to top rope, to begin to sense what movement means over this medium, to feel the character of the stone, to trust the belay of another, and to experience what it means to trust ourselves more also... Our Instructors were positioned one below by our belay partner and the other at the top of the vertical world in front of us. I had watched my new friends trying to find their best within, and now it was my own turn... The first bit went well while all the later sections were a real struggle. We were learning that we couldn't force it, nor muscle our way past, or even change the route by being frustrated at it. But we did figure the puzzle out, learned to blend with the rock problems, and all exclaimed happily and loudly as we moved over and past them. Then to my surprise, as I had just touched our elusive objective - one of the highest carabiners on this route, the Outward Bound Instructor up there called out: "Again!". 'Again what', I said through my big smile, as he yelled to his partner and my belayer below; then arranged for my lowering. Their intention was to have us grasp for that very moment even more closely, to build immediately upon a success, to instill so clearly for us in the midst of this experience what confidence like this feels like... When I moved through the crux and touched that carabiner the second time, it was now me who asked quietly but so happily, 'Again?'. And again it was, time and time again, for each of us! What had been the crux was now the key, what was once the hardest was now the most fun, where the challenge before seemed daunting now it was powerfully affirming... Now in these distant mountains, as I wrote the first thoughts for this post, and look across at the young ones waiting in anticipation, we each look at the other and laugh loudly as we call out: 'Again!!!'. DSD

Friday, May 27, 2011

"No Tread Between....."

No Tread at all it seems, between us, and the trail this day. Within a flow, a sense of something else, such an effortlessness among our paths. These feelings, a so sweet spot to be, ongoing motion & momentum forward, no need for long to rest. No tread between us and the trail, nor between the mountain now. Steep slopes, so much loose scree, yet continuous movement still, with heads held up so very high. The knowing of endurance of another kind, an assuredness within each and every step. Forward, upward, now upon the peak, nothing between us and this ancient rock. No tread between anything at all, instead sensing, touching, blending, becoming one, between us and this whole adventure day.....DSD

My appreciation to C. Peter for the lower image above and to G. Dale for the upper image.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Meditations Upon Windtower....."

I have practiced meditation now since my teenage years, having learned many diverse forms and methods. In my journeys there have also been certain settings, selected wild places, where I have felt a connection between the terrain there and then the mantras utilized in a blending of those elements. Our Windtower is such a place near here... It is a mountain of a distinct form, of unusual rock, of a particular height, and a special location above West Wind Pass and the adjoining valleys there. Its' summit looks out in all directions over our Bow Valley, the Spray Lakes, and towards the many Rocky Mountain Ranges embracing this area of confluence and connection... I have scrambled there with close friends, my partner, and out solo so many times also. It is a challenge to put into words why I sense it to be a meditative peak. There are often many on the hike to the Pass, and also scrambling to the summit, yet on certain days, with a very early start on one's own, the ascent and the high point share other elementally calm secrets too... I often go when many would not wander in the poor weather. During a day of high winds, but with no troubling clouds or distinct rumblings that put ones neck hairs on end. Then you can feel the power of this Tower, and hear the callings of the winds play over the rock up there... Adventurous meditations become not only about a high and wild place, but also then more so of what is unfolding within - within the experience, within the mountain, within our mantra and breathing, then finding even more within ourselves as well..... DSD

The lower image above was gathered up from where I do not recall, but still wish to acknowledge the person who created it.

Friday, May 20, 2011


"People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering". St. Augustine

Time to go and wander, time to journey and wonder... DSD

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Trying To Catch The Sun - A Sea Kayaker's Game..."

We understand it as that which emanates the light and energy and warmth that maintains life. We know her by her many names too. Many of us sit out endlessly on the stones and sand, watching the tides and waves that she so influences, as we enjoy feeling the warmth of the rocks she touches. An elusive elemental she is, but that doesn't stop us from trying to catch up with the sun... We often have set out from the shorelines of a distant island camp we have already set up, only with sunglasses and much lighter kayaks, on a course that requires no compass. Directly into the sunset we paddle, not quickly but surely, as she descends so slowly and gently, soon to touch and then hide beyond the waters... Off we go again trying to catch her, even while knowing we likely never will. But as adventurers we always try, for maybe, just maybe, this time we will get close... The game is more about the effort, the direction we are going, certainly the fun, and the ephemeral mystery of the experiences in those so special moments... This always seems to be a unique time of sight and sound and feeling as she touches, then sets beyond our liquid horizon... Too soon we then turn about on our paddling return, in the very last light, with laughter, and smiles, and new memories... Such a wonderful game, trying to catch the sun, one we are always kind of successful in each and every time..... DSD

Friday, May 06, 2011

"Two... Climbing As One..."

Two climbers, two rope partners, two close friends. Climbing as one, on a mountain of rock, among endless beauty of snow and ice. Knowing that closeness and shared feelings of movement, sensation, of placement, and position. It is typically two who are out there, upon those mountain faces, while linked by rope, and commitment in that unique way. There may be two, but they are really climbing as one... A special experience of connection it is, of profound shared wonders and such potent energy. Touching the same rock - moving, blending, within the music of adventurous synchronicity. A mixing in of space, within moments of time, and of an agreed upon intention. One knowing the other, so very closely, in that experience of trust, confidence, and friendship. There may be two, yet they are more truly climbing as one..... DSD