Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Such Innocence..."

"When you combine the innocence, imagination, unconditional love, and flair for adventure that both animals and children possess in abundance, the opportunities for growth, insight, and healing each offers is amazing and inimitable...".  S.C. McElroy

"A Way Home..."

"Animals can offer us a way home...
In their innocence and wisdom, in their connection to the earth, and its most ancient rhythms, they show us a way back to a home they have never left...".  S.C. McElroy

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"The Quietest Voices Calling..."

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."  I. 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    

"We All Spoke The Same Language..."

"In the very earliest of times, when both people and animals lived together on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to, and a animal could become a human being. Sometimes there were people, and sometimes animals, and there was no difference. All spoke the same language...". Author Unknown

"One Thing To Remember..."

"One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you...". Chief Dan George

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Found Again..."

"And the song, from beginning to end.
I found again in the heart of a friend...".  H.W. Longfellow

"Friendly Beings..."

"The only way to have a friend, is to be one...".  R.W.Emerson

"Adventurous Friends..."

"The language of friendship is not words, but meanings...".  H.D. Thoreau

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Of Friends, Companions, And Spirits..."

"We journey far and farther.
Then become friends with the winds.
Companions among all that stone.
Yet it was within the mountains we began to share in spirit...".  JRR Tolkien

"For All Our Shared Guides And Mentors..."

Yes, way back then, there was that truly essential guiding, the valuable teaching, the showing and necessary skill building, and all of the wonderful leading.
Yet, there was also so much more...
There were endless hours on very personal terrain for individual training, unique navigating, and priceless encouraging. There were as many days over even longer seasons for modeling, mentoring, and motivating - things as elementally important as any other element itself.
In much later years as well there was now the sharing of memories. the humour and stories, the remindings, and reflecting on all of the experiences of so much more than ever first realized.
Then, at a farther point on our joined trails, when reminiscing about the whole journey, we talked about the inevitable. That time when our paths would diverge and then forever change direction.
I will never forget the words quietly shared right then:
"I'll be climbing with you still".
So many further years have now passed. He no longer adventures among these earthly elements. Yet his words echo out resoundly and clearly.
"I'll be climbing with you still".
And he is..... DSD

Dedicated this adventure day to all those Guides & Mentors we all have been gifted with. I am listening even more closely this last while for their words of encouragement as I find my way on this present trail...

"Hello Altitude..."

"Hello Altitude.
My old friend.
Back to welcome & temper me.
Yet once again...".  Mountain Guide

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Farther Echoes..."

There were two climbers that adventure day, out upon a very elusive mountain peak. One was an elder adventurer, the second an enthusiastic and full of energy younger mountaineer.
The youth on this climb was pushing past limitations and challenging past perceptions of what was possible up there. While doing so, and when calling out climbing signals and commands, he noticed 'something else' kind of echoing back.
The higher these two adventurers climbed, the more clear the weather, the air, and these soft echoes became.
When finally attaining their shared mountain summit, the younger climber mentioned what had been heard throughout the day - when calling out, when yelling so, when then ensuring these calls were received.
There were responses of course, yet faint echoes too, of something.
Something else that was surely there as well.
The elder climber slowly smiled as this was being said, and then shared in turn how when out among the high places, we each begin to sense, so very much more...
The older climber, having been reminded of this gift, said that this was an experience many adventurers have. For what is being heard as time passes out there, are not just echoes of activity, or even of that moment, but for life itself...
For where you are when you call out.
When, and how, and why you call, all then become echoes for your life.
They reflect echoes of your very self.
Of who you want to be.
For the way you are choosing to live your life.

These two mountaineers, these two adventurers, were both long pondering their discussion, more silently on their way down.
Yet each were also listening even more closely now, and both were again hearing, so much more than ever before realized..... DSD

Shared on one of my Outward Bound courses.
Dedicated this season to all those on their first Outward Bound experience, and the wonderful new leaders who are now upon their journey as well.

"As Though..."

"Things you do,
Come back to you,
As though they knew the way...".  Rodgers & Hart

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Of Life And Harmony..."

"Love is the life of the soul.
It is the harmony of the universe...".  W.E. Channing

"Of Enjoyment And Love..."

"I so enjoy climbing.
It's a big part of me.
It's just going out into a mountain environment that I love.
The excitement of going for an unknown peak.
Where there is going to be an element of risk.
I so enjoy climbing...".  C. Bonington

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"From Your Heart..."

"Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top - it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others - it rises from your heart...".  J. Tabei

"That Of Which We Never Tire..."

"He does not climb only for himself, he throws open the gates of his mountains as a gardener opens the gates of his garden. The heights are a splendid setting for his work, and the climbing gives him a pleasure of which he never tires. But above all, he is repaid by the pleasure of the person he guides. He knows that such-and-such a climb is particularly beautiful, and that this ridge is delicate as lace. He says nothing of all this but his reward is in his companion's smile of discovery...".  G. Rebuffat

"Of Our Adventurous Spirit..."

"Physical struggle was part of the process of spiritual growth, and endurance was a demonstration of faith...".  K. Johnson

Monday, July 20, 2015

"The Longest Journey..."

"The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being...".  D. Hammarskjold

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Our Ancient Love Of The Adventurer's 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  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Then Into Both Love And Awe..."

"With a prolonged apprenticeship to mountaineering, there comes not only a mastery of the craft itself, but such an acquaintanceship with all natural forces as must surely ripen into both love and awe...".  L. Schuster

"Our Shared Love For The Mountains..."

"Ever since a small boy, I have loved to just look at the mountains, to see them in different lights, and from different angles, to feel their rough rock under my fingers, and the breath of their winds against my face... I am in love with the mountains...".  W. Noyce

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Always Happily Seeking..."

"Now I was faced with an alternate paradigm. For as Ken Kesey famously said, 'If you seek the mystery instead of only answers, you will always happily be seeking...'.
I wondered how many times in my life I had teetered on the brink of a magical moment but had never known it was nearby because I was too closed minded, unobservant, or busy worrying...".  J. Turk

"Our Shared Circles Within Circles..."

That small stones' beginning was an historical one.
Countless years and endless elements, all so very slowly polishing it over the millenia. It was the smoothness, shape, and in particular its location within a tiny sheltered cove among those distant coastal islands, that was what had held my attention.
Discovering it way back then was a gift, as I found myself almost letting out a small gasp of appreciation when such beautiful ancient stones are first seen.
This little stones' story back then became the painted scenes that unfolded upon its' rocky face. I slowly 'mixed in' each and every element also gathered up on that secluded island. Particles of sand, of ash from my beach fire, a crumbled tiny piece of a leaf, and even a few drops of that special salt water. The mixed in and painted scenes hopefully expressed the spirit of that wild place, and then too the journey this little Summit Stone would now be taking...
It awaited a few more seasons, then was placed within a summit cairn. High upon an elusively challenging and wonderfully engaging mountain, which I had waited years to climb.
Now, this is where the story of this stone began to unfold even further.
The Finder from back then - R.T., sent me a message, telling of the smiles of that discovery.
Then he shared more as his Summit Stone had now been passed forward even farther.
It always humbles me beyond words to learn of the stories of Finder's Summit Stones...
For this small painted rock, some longer years later, within the twists & turns of serendipity and previously unknown trails, actually was returned to me once more.
R.T. had passed it forward to another adventurer. Then that person who was known to me, wanted to give it back. So within a full circle within a circle, this Summit Stone made a return journey to my hands yet once more.
I so cherish such experiences, learning of the trails a little Summit Stone has travelled, then finding out about the smiles, and maybe a bit of shared awareness.
Such good homes they do find with each of you my Friends.
But this story does not end. Not here. Certainly not now.
For while this stone was a touch weathered, its' coating somewhat scraped, and that initial date on the back a touch faded, I decided to mix in and paint yet other perspectives upon it.
Ones that blended with the stories that had already unfolded.
Then I initialed it a second time, with that silver ink as well.
We adventurers often muse about such journeys, where connections and experiences bring us full circle, as we return to where we began, and then sense even more out there and within, than ever first realized...
So, when then reflecting on the whole of this small Summit Stone's journey, and the smiles all around, I gently placed it yet once more out upon the island where it was firstly found.
Forever moments within a long and enduring full circle, never ending journeys it would seem, for I hope you yourself might now be the Finder, of this gift passed forward so many times..... DSD

Dedicated this adventure day to those wonderful Partners In Placing who journey so far and so very high, sharing in the smiles all along their paths & trails.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"A Spirit And Story All Of Its Own..."

From the very moment I saw it, in those minutes right when I gathered it up, that stone had a wonderful story to tell...
It is truly a beautiful rock, one whose form gives you a sense of its' ancient history. No way would it have been right there in that wild place; no way would it have been as shaped and as polished so finely - unless its motions over the millenia, among all those boulders, from within a nearby glacier, had taken it on its' own timeless journey.
From the very moment I turned it over and over in my hand, I was beginning to envision what this stone's essence would express. You could sense from its' shape, from the lines upon and within it, from the small chips, even the tinier cracks, and especially from the smoothness over most of its' surface- what its' temperament, strength, and vigour was sharing.
Here, in my hand, was truly a spirit stone...
One whose character had endured all the elements had placed upon it.
A stone's spirit is an essential thing, one I try to look so closely for and understand. Some have travelled so very far. Many have such unique virtue in the way they have survived the forces over so long that have attempted to break them. We adventurer's can identify dearly with these meanings.
Right from the moment I gathered it up I felt I knew what this stone wanted to reveal. I sensed I knew where it wanted to be later placed. So right from where I found it as well, I gathered up small particles of every other element, to be 'mixed in' within the bright paints to be layered upon it.
Now, in your hand, you may have this very stone.
When I gathered it up I hoped you would find it. I hope too you sense the essence there, those wonderful intrinsic components that made it, the virtue reflecting where it has been, the meanings of the elements in the paints, and the symbolism hopefully it also represents from within your own adventures...
Like Ceremony Stones and Scholar Rocks , your Summit Stone has a spirit and a story all of its' own, always calling to your longings..... DSD

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"A Mixing In Of Rainbows..."

This has become such a unique adventure in itself over these long years...
There have been so many wild places I have gathered up these little polished cobbles. So many techniques learned among endless lessons, to then splash a bit of paint upon them, in a Naive Artistic way, to try and make them into touchstones of sorts.
Now these last many years I have found myself chasing rainbows too, and smiling as I realize that, and then trying to sense how to 'mix in' those wonderful experiences into these Summit Stones created afterwards.
Discovering the endless kinds of rainbows out there is a very special part of our adventure experiences. One that often marks powerful moments, emotions, and meanings.
Rainbows are a unique combination of the elements in their composition, structure, color, and how long they endure.
There are many tales and legends about the meanings to be found among such natural artistry. Then even more mystery may be revealed within them too, we all sense at certain times within our wanderings.
Over many seasons I have gathered up selected stones, water, crystals, sand, and other elemental substances, found at the 'end of a rainbow'.
Many times after a storm out among distant coastal islands, as the rain came and went ,creating one beach rainbow after another.
Also when hiking to an endless number of hidden waterfalls, with the countless rainbows found within their mists, created in the early mornings there.
Then too on many elusive summit experiences, among the comings and goings of unsettled weather, where double rainbows appear, which illuminated the rocks up there with the shifting and changing of the colors and light.
All of which now has been 'mixed in' as best I can, so hopefully you can feel it too, in the little Summit Stone now in your hand Dear Friends..... DSD 

Dedicated to all of the past Teams, for Sandy & Sue, and for this year's 2015 Team of Ascent For Alzheimer's. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"The Messages..."

"As we observe the lives of many creatures who live with and around us, what unfolds is an array of opportunities to learn about ourselves and our world, to grasp life's paradoxes, ironies, and mysteries that surround and often confuse us. The messages can be many and amazing...".  S. McElroy

"The Same Language..."

"In the very earliest of times, when both people and animals lived together on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to, and a animal could become a human being. Sometimes there were people, and sometimes animals, and there was no difference. All spoke the same language...". Author Unknown

Friday, July 10, 2015

"From That Moment..."

"From the moment my eyes rested on the snow-clad Alps, I worshipped their beauty and was filled with a passionate yearning to touch these shining snows, to climb to their heights of silence and solitude, and feel myself one with the mighty forces around me...".  F. Du Faur

"Only One Language..."

"It's as if I have become truly part of the mountain, a working willing partner, harnessed to its energies, subject to its temperament, always conscious of its majesty... The mountain is always fierce, to the extreme; that is part of its power and strength. Beneath its surface the fierceness lies slumbering; it is like a wild animal, sleek, soft, beautiful, but always you are conscious of the terrible power that can be unleashed should the mountain choose.
On the mountain there is only one language, and we all try to speak it as best we can...".  N. Shulman

For Ping Yi-Ping & Mark Ivan Cole

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"Of Our Mountains Beauty And Mystery..."

"Reinhold Messner, writes of looking up and seeing a peculiar cloud that revolved and hung over him with rainbow colors.
Now this gets at something important, the unusual or mystical, something beyond the face value of a scene.
The first thought is that such a rainbow filled cloud heralds bad weather. But there is something more mysterious in such a view of the sky and of that cloud.
It is told to us simply, if we see the colors and the movement.
Chris Bonington relates a similar experience that took place as he descended after his climb of Everest: 'I sat down every few paces, beyond thought, and just absorbed the mountains around me'.
These are the places where we climb...
Where we climb to the beauty and mystery, where we look upward into a rainbow cloud, where we sit and absorb the mountains...".  P. Ament

"A Trade Within The Mountains..."

"The great Tibetan patron saint of all mountain mystics wrote of the Himalayas:
In the mountains.
There is a strange bazaar.
Where one may trade.
The noise and confusion.
Of everyday life.
For eternal bliss...".  R. Schultheis

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"Meaning Within Our Journey..."

"Together, such musings aspire to the ideas echoed from the works of seekers everywhere, that adventurers cannot find deep meaning in their journey until they encounter what to them is truly sacred. What is sacred is what is worthy of our reverence, what evokes awe and wonder in the human heart, and what when contemplated transforms us utterly...".  P. Cousineau

"A Journey Of One Inch..."

"Our world is not only discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but also by a very personal spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home. It is a journey we can make only by the acceptance of mystery...".  W. Berry

Sunday, July 05, 2015

"Within Our Nature..."

It is in our very nature to be adventurous...
Anonymous wrote: "People whose seek adventure are true poets of living..." and another Anon said, "Adventuring is a means to express one's inner self...".
A friend once made an observation - that these little musings of mine on adventures; didn't have much content in them about what might be considered the 'technical' side of adventure activities.
And I guess that is my intent.
There are a great many sources for such information, from the extensive websites and many guidebooks available that provide details on those aspects of adventure - and I am no expert in these either.
Yet there would still seem to be many levels and even more dimensions, to our adventurous journeys though.
So there is as much to muse about therein as to the 'Why' of our wild play as there is to the 'How'.
Like 'why' we ever tried these things in the first place, why we might have kept going, and what we reflect upon within our wanderings after so many years.
These are indeed musings of equal worth.
Have we also read between the lines of those many other adventure narratives composed from out there? There are too many to tally. Although I keep trying to read them all.
Those who write about their exceptional adventure experiences give us a sense of what is harder to put into words; about what may lay hidden from far out in the wild world.
Things like freedom, joy, challenges, fellowship, even accepted adversities. Then by having such intense experiences, this helps us to even further mold our motives, assists us in sharpening our enthusiasm, reveals to us how to meet our needs.
And isn't that truly a little part of what keeps us wanting to go back.
I have experienced this myself regardless of the activity being it climbing, hiking, kayaking, caving, canyoneering, whatever.....
A. Hobson wrote about the value of this kind of awareness, "The adventure attitude, particularly as used in the metaphors of the mountain or the sea...can be applied to our daily lives."
We are meant to explore, to seek out the unknown, to find ourselves by journeying beyond the self.
Adventure is a subtle but very powerful means to these ends.
We all have our own mountains to climb; our own summits to achieve.
How will you arrange these inherently natural elements in your life?
What will your next 'Adventure Summit' be?   
All of this is truly within our nature..... DSD

Friday, July 03, 2015

"The Big Question..."

"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure...".  J. Campbell

"Only Adventure..."

"There is no certainty; there is only adventure...".  R. Assagioli

"Never Stop..."

"One should never stop learning, never stop exploring, never stop going on adventures...".  D. Ming-Dao

Thursday, July 02, 2015

"Of High Adventure..."

"It is in the compelling zest of high adventure, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys...".  A. de Saint-Exupery

"Of Art And Adventure..."

"A work of art is above all, an adventure of the mind...".  E. Ionesco

"With Our Eyes Open..."

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open...".  J. Nehru

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

"For Canada Day..."

"I think every Canadian should have a map of Canada in his or her house. It should be displayed in a place where one can sit and contemplate the wonderful vastness of this land... To understand the identity that exists in our hearts, think of our sweepingly majestic home, its quiet, serene beauty. A beauty recognizable to us all. We are proud of this nation and of who we are. We just don't always say it. It's like the map. But it is there on the wall, displaying the lines of our coasts, the bulk of our waterways, and the breadth of our northern territories. Surveying all of this leaves me in awe. It brings a tear to my eye...O Canada...".   D. O'Neil