Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Too Low..."

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark...".  Michelangelo

"Castles In The Air..."

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them...".  H.D. Thoreau

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Ours To Aspire Towards..."

"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to...". K. Gibran

"What we earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are...". A. Jamson

"What are your mountains? What ideals do you aspire to? Leaning back, looking inward she says, 'Truth and Beauty'. Of that, Truth is definitely higher. But be careful, for as you near any summit, the way becomes steep and narrow, as mountains are apt to do, and increasingly difficult...".  J. Auld

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"A Map & Compass As Well..."

"Truth is both the best map and the most useful compass...".   Anon

"Keeping Going..."

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth - not starting, and not going all the way...".   Anon

"Of Truth And Stones..."

"It's only called a stone because it would be a reliable truth... Look for the eternal truth amid the flowing change of all things. Like a stone in the river...". J. Auld  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

"For Our Outward Bound Schools..."

To ponder is one thing. to muse another. 
Reflection is wonderful, and dreaming is a gift. 
We have such abilities to envision all that we so want to wander among and through. Our minds create the possibilities, and then it is time to climb further... 
"Put some boots on your dreams", our Outward Bound Instructor said. 
Then we were to learn of the wild places beyond contemplation; of the terrain of taking actions. These were steps on trails of another kind, towards horizons of dreams now made very real. 
'Boots on our dreams' - a so potent shared metaphor, said so long ago to us, long pondered over many more seasons, and now passed forward once more to all of you Dear Friends..... DSD 

Dedicated this adventure day to all our wonderful Outward Bound Schools.

"Your First Course...

"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time...". T.S. Eliot
On Outward Bound, on these many adventures, over all these long wonderfully full years, we share in learning more regarding what the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and the canyons are all really about...
On Outward Bound, through such adventures, over these endlessly amazing seasons, we then share in the knowledge too about who we are truly becoming as we are out wandering...
For we learn so much about all of what is out there. 
Then we discover as well that there is so much more within than ever first realized.
For as Henry miller wrote too: "Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things...".
From gazing back upon where we each started .
Look at where we are now..... DSD 

Dedicated to all those about to undertake their first Outward Bound course this year.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"You Know Your 'Why'..."

"The Greeks pondered the causes of things. If you had asked them, 'Why are there mountains' they'd give you four causes. The Material cause is the ground has the potential to become a mountain. The Efficient cause is that mountains are just elevated earth standing up. The Formal cause is the earth raised them up. But the Final cause is where it gets interesting. They'd say the Final cause of mountains is they exist because humans need to look up and dream..."
"I've always been fascinated by the why . You know, the oldest questions in the world...". J. Auld  

"Beside Me..."

"With the long trails... I'm in the habit of rarely stopping, but I keep turning and listening to the silence, as if someone walks beside me...". J. Auld  

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Hearing Our Silence..."

"Much silence has a mighty noise...". Swahili Proverb
"The quieter you become, the more you can hear...". Ram Dass
There are many voices being raised far out there. 
The one voice we each need to hear. The many voices of the most most vulnerable ones.
Often the quietest one, is that which speaks from within such silence.
Nature and our Mother Earth are a silently powerful, yet vulnerable, entity that also must be heard.
Wild place adventures embrace a silence that must be listened closely for too.
Why is our quiet time of musing in nature of such value?
Pythagoras said, "Learn to be silent. Let your mind listen and absorb".
When we wonder in this way, we come closer to discovering our motives; our own personal why's.
When we ponder such, we begin to then create meaning.
These become the very essence for our motivation - for why we go, and for what we do out in the wild places...
Then in understanding what as Nietzsche wrote, "Our greatest experiences, are our quietest moments".
We will then stand up for, and protect, that which we see as important and at the foundation of our intentions and meanings.
All of this provides us with a sense of true purpose.
And that is much to gain from the silence of a quiet moment of musing out there.
A silence that must be heard..... DSD 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"But To Myself....."

"I do not know how I may seem to others, but to myself, I am only a small child wandering the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to be contented with"...".  Plato   

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Stones Of Meaning..."

The ancients called them Stones of Ceremony, Learning Stones, Rocks of Passage, among other cultural & spiritual references and descriptions too. They were used in sacred ceremonial experiences, almost always out deep within the wild places, most importantly as ways of keeping memories alive...
Being the substance of rock, that of lasting stone, they became symbols passed from one hand to another; from one generation forward hopefully everlasting in this way. They are instrumental as ways for remembering, for recalling significant events, to bring back memories of persons, in relearning lessons to important to lose, in sharing stories of challenge and accomplishments, wonderments, and especially of emotions too...
The stories that were symbolically attached to such Stones of Ceremony were woven into their history, beliefs, and ways of the people who polished them so. This is not surprising considering the enduring substance of stone, and the uniqueness of every one in its' own shape, color, texture, and even the character of each one.
I have seen how persons hold these memory rocks with such reverence, almost as if by handling them, they return to a time before and become more in touch with those who have long ago passed them forward...
Combined with the nature of stone we join and blend the wonders of memories and ceremony, and the synergy found in doing so, is truly another kind of elemental energy.
While we only pass through these elements, Stones of Ceremony are indeed one of the eternal elementals from out there. They are like the Scholar Rocks I have written about before, another of the mysteries of hidden history the I so enjoy reflecting upon within my own stone endeavours.....  DSD  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Scholar Rocks..."

"Venerable Eastern esteem for wilderness explains the popularity of 'Scholar's Rocks', single stones which have been carved into intricate, dynamic shapes by the powers of water, wind and frost. The stones - were valued for how they expressed the history and the forces of their making. If you stare at one closely enough, and for long enough, you lose your sense of scale, and the whorls, the caverns, the hills and the valleys which nature has inscribed in them can seem big enough to walk through." R. Macfarlane
Look closely.
Look closer.
Worlds inscribed within; reflects adventures experienced without.
Simple stone; venerable histories. Only rocks; but amazing images and meanings.
Imagine how these have been crafted so eloquently by natures' hand, and what it meant to discover them.
B. Juyi also wrote, of finding some Scholars Rocks: "Then I turned towards my two rocks asking if they would stay with me when I am old... They could not speak yet seemed to say that they would remain my faithful friends."
Interesting musings over the powers of the elements in shaping rock, stone, and most importantly, our perceptions...   DSD  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Climbing Down And Into..."

"It was also a connecting link... with the long story of man's urge to match himself against the canyon, to learn something of himself through learning its ways...". D. Lavender 

"I can only muse... as I've come to understand the word canyon. Elements of canyoneering come to mean the place, one's knowledge of it, and the experience... More than a simplistic view of a specific activity."  J. Annerino 

Friday, June 17, 2016

"For Fur, Feathers, And Fins Friday's..."

"Over all the mountaintops is peace...
In all treetops you perceive,
scarcely a breath.
The little birds in the forest are silent.
Wait then, soon you, too,
Will have peace...".  
J. Von Goethe

So very many poets and philosophers, were first climbers and adventurers.
We sense why, don't we my Friends.
Dedicated this adventure day to all those who are enduringly Adventuring For Another Reason ..... DSD 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Everything Fits Together..."

"There... Near that still water...
You will see all that can be seen,
You will know all that can be known,
You will be all that you can become.
There... Upon the still water...
Your reflection awaits...".
Grandfather, Mountain Elder

"And it came to me all in a feeling, how everything fitted together, the place, and ourselves, and the animals, and how the sky held us...".  
W. Berry

"Marking Your Steps..."

"The sun and moon... the animals, the waters and the wind... all help you mark your steps on the path". Grandfather, Mountain Elder  

"Creative Adventurers..."

"The many Elders and Wise Ones say that to know the wild places, and especially the mountains, we need to each grow what is creative within each of us..."  Grandfather, Mountain Elder

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"We Who Adventure....."

We who adventure...
We seek and we quest, we wander and we journey.
So very far, up so high, for long enduring awe filled days.
Then we each seem to discover, the forever moments far beyond the elements, within our adventures way, way out there.
These, then, also become wonderous treasures within...
To be truly among the elements, is to become elemental ourselves.
To be as...
Resilient as stone and rock.
Enduring as the endless ocean waves.
Forever committed as the sun.
Persistent as all the winds.
To be as...
Wise and knowing as desert canyons.
Eternally strong as the glacial ice.
Quietly reflective as our campfires.
Lively energetic as the wild ones.
To be as...
Flexible as any winding river.
As far seeing as our chosen mountain summit.
Open and welcoming as a coastal island.
Sustaining as our northern lakes.
To be as...
Beautifully enlightened as the flickering stars.
Forever sharing as the revealing moonlight.
And as giving as the essence discovered within each and every wild place..... DSD 

Dedicated to you all my Dear wandering Friends, and to my so appreciated Partners In Placing who pass forward many smiles along the way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Sitting Beside The Fire..."

“I sit beside the fire and think 
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring 
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet 
And voices at the door”     J.R.R. Tolkien

"Endless Time..."

Many have written musingly about, and even more have whispered gently aloud, that there is surely an art in creating a sense of endless adventure days for ourselves...
We talk too about the challenges and distractions, arising from simply finding the time to get out there. 
I've wondered often though, is it only how we get the time for our journeys - or is it also not more truly about the 'way' we are, the 'being' we become, within whatever moments we do have to wander...
Certainly we extend the time we have by going earlier, longer, through things like alpine starts and first light launches. We expand on the days too when we patiently watch the sunsets, sit for long hours by the campfire, and gaze up longingly at the full moon and its companion constellations. We prolong those measured hours so that hopefully they are transformed into memorable enduring moments...
Therein I sense is another elusively subtle way to timely navigate - by finding that which is personally memorable, that which embraces our individual meanings, deep within those seconds of our newly developing awareness and perception of what is significant, and what is not...
These are surely keys to the legends upon this alternative map for our wonderful endless timelessness out there. Such ways of 'being' and not just 'having' an experience, are clearly means to extending the length, breadth, height, and depth of time within any adventure journey.
Then it no longer about minutes, but more so now reflecting an artistry in creating timeless forever moments. 
'Time is relative' the wise ones have said, and we adventurers know how to really experience the truth of this..... DSD 

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Outward Bound's Timing..."

I remember, how the many aspects of time were not something I initially thought would be a part of my Outward Bound courses. 
But it quietly became so...
We took the time needed to develop both trust and the adventure skills important for out there.
We allowed time to suggest what we would need to do in the next steps, and if we might achieve certain objectives in a 'clockwise' kind of way.
Our time pieces were given over too during certain hours and days, as we would discover they were only distractions to the moments we were truly hoping to experience.
The rising and setting sun, the tempo of our pace, the duration and unfolding of a hike, climb, or solo - all evolved in their own good time.
The transition from exercise to experience, from periods of activity to stillness and contemplation, were all occasions and eternities when measuring the passing minutes.
Being out there at times was like being in a time warp. A different kind of elemental chronometry, a Zeitgeist of adventuring, where the timekeeper becomes something else, so much more than ever expected.
I remember, what was most timely though, in those gentle present seconds, was a subtle shift in time, a transition of awareness, where our perceptions were quietly shaken up, so changed in form, as to never go back to their old positions.
In retrospect we didn't see this change of form developing immediately, but like all ancient elder things of synchronicity and serendipity, we would never want to back to our past views.
This was the potently subtle shift in time from our original thoughts and feelings of 'how long it is taking us', and 'when will we be done' - to 'we hoped for more time out there'.
What a shift in time that was.
What a powerfully, freeing, timely presence within our new perspectives we had all been gifted with..... DSD  

Monday, June 06, 2016

"Countless, Timeless, Forever Moments..."

During countless adventure experiences have I mused about the nature of timelessness out within our wanderings...
Under many millions of stars have I then gazed up, dreamed about such journeys that we share in, and envisioned how we each then discover more within than ever first realized, thanks to Outward Bound.
Then this last season I reflected too upon...
Those hundreds of thousands of storms which have surely polished these kinds of stones which I seek for you my Friends, with that weather's powerful energy, and all those winds, snow, and rain.
About the tens of thousands of individual steps we take out there, where each and every one is a joy, while moving ourselves further among the wild places.
Also in how easily a thousand thoughts have been formed and focused up high, like the plans & preparation I make for an adventure such as on that day. Those ponderings within the excited enthusiasm and anticipations we all have, that take each of us so much further.
I reflect too over a hundred days and nights on other trips gone by, bringing me finally to be at this very high place on the map. About the many valleys and trails, hikes and climbs over the years, which can now be seen as actual directions eventually leading right there.
I muse as well on a dozen mountains here, embraced by such beautiful vistas, all where many climbs have taken place - such wonderous times upon those so special peaks.
Then to this, a single summit, upon this unique high point, now composing a few simple words, while having gathered up some small touchstones for you Dear Finders. Then as I descend with the sunset, a million stars will begin to shyly shine far away on the horizon once more. All enlightening this journey to here and now. These are the forever moments that unfold within our adventures Dear Friends.
Those truly endless memories that we so enjoy, smiling about them time & time again, and always then sharing them in our stories with one another..... DSD 
Dedicated this adventure season to those who Adventure For Another Reason whom I think about every time out there.
My appreciation for sharing your timeless images as well my Friends.

Friday, June 03, 2016

"Fur And Feathers..."

It has been many years since I completed that challenging mountain scramble. It's name is reflective of its long history, both as a mountain to be climbed, and for how it has been a beacon for travelers down those long valley systems. Nowadays though, what I remember most after all this time, is not only about the route, the rock, or even the summit itself, but rather just as fondly - a raven, a ram, and a bear...
Three wild ones who made their presence known, who shared some brief moments with me, and whose inspiration kept me going that whole unfolding full adventure day.
The route finding there, the rock, and the ridgelines were very daunting at points for me in my younger years. I was out solo as well, having very much planned and prepared to do just that. But there were still lingering doubts present too, which we often learn to use as messages and for energy, to really focus upon what we each need for being safe and to keep going. 
That beautiful raven appeared when I was off route a bit, and stayed up above for the next few hours. So whenever I looked up and around, there that raven was, almost beckoning me seemingly exactly right along the way I needed to go...
Then, just before the summit block, when I was puzzled by the seemingly endless possible variations up those difficult rock steps, I could no longer see the raven. But right up above was now a mountain ram. Just gazing down at me, almost with a little smile on his face, as they often look to so have. Quietly, calmly, patiently, just watching. Him observing this other two-legged creature who was soon to share his rock, sun, and air up there. The ram moved off in the distance as I moved up, and the summit then became everything I had hoped it to be...
Much, much, later when moving along the trail out, after an even longer decent, I heard what we are often listening for in such situations. That movement, a kind of shuffling, through the ground cover and the trees. So I moved far back and away, and then watched from a distinct distance. An old black bear then slowly approached the trail from within the darkening trees, glanced directly at me, then ambled across and towards another valley. I waited for quite some time before moving on, pausing to look in the direction this Elder went. There on the ground, just off the trail, was quite a lot of broken rock that made me smile greatly. Such perfectly formed shapes and flatness were these stones, making them a wonderful medium to splash a bit of paint on...
A raven, a ram, and a bear. Gifting me with moments, memories, and so much more to mark and muse about that mountain adventure day...DSD 
My gratitude my Friends, for sharing your images with us all here.

"Their Way Of Life..."

"Every creature was designed to serve a purpose. Learn from the animals for they are there to teach you the way of life. There is a wealth of knowledge that is openly accessible in nature...".  S. Kassem  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

"Both Together..."

"It is not only light that we need, but fire.
It is not only the gentle shower, but thunder.
We need the storm, the whirlwinds...".   F. Douglass    

"Of Storms..."

"There is beauty and serenity in the eye of the storm.
I ride the storm.
Cheering wildly.
Thus I gather strength...".   J.L. Huie  

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

"Returning Full Circle..."

Just as the sun was setting I spotted it. 
Yet another smooth polished cobblestone; perfect for some small naive art.
My eye often wanders in this way, gazing, looking as I was now upon this quiet secluded island beach. The end of another so beautiful day of sea kayaking. 
I gathered it up and journeyed home where this stone waited patiently. It seemed wanting of a sunny day scene so that is what I painted; then tucked it into an 'Adventure Muse' and set it out ready...
It accompanied me to the summit of Mt Yukness to make friends among the other stones of the cairn up there. 
Just after gently placing it I spotted another rugged looking shard which I gathered in my pack just before the rain started. It needed a rainbow painted upon it, much like the one viewed on the descent. Then it joined us on that rafting of the Grand to be placed at a well deserved rest point among the sparse rocks and plants by the river. 
When packing up at waters edge, I stepped upon another small cobble and into my life jacket pocket it went to jostle and bounce and meet the rapids as we all hooted and smiled. 
The canyon scene painted upon that one may have seemed out of place in Killarney, but I don't think a 'Finder' would mind when discovering it out on Silver Peak. 
The view of Georgian Bay and the lakes there is stunning.
By one small, very clear lake, one more cobble asked me to take it on a new adventure.
This one out in the High Sierra's.
It was painted with a full moon and a thousand stars like that which may be experienced out in the Yosemite highlands.
The summit it rests upon is not well travelled, so it may be there a while enjoying the lunar vistas. 
Its brother I gathered up that day was perfect for a dual scene of night and day, which often reminds me of our northern lakes. 
So it was placed there by some quiet waters under the sitting log of a campsite.
This northern resting place has much history and mystery there.
The rocks to be gathered are of unique shapes and colors.
Painting them requires musings of another kind, and after doing so, one in particular was then placed in sister waters deep among yet other coastal islands.
While standing then at that point of the compass, I saw the glint of the setting sun on another wave and storm polished cobble. 
I slowly wandered over, gathered it up, while turning it over and over in my old hand. 
And then, full circle, I begin again.....  DSD