Alluring beauty of youth /
Fades with setting sun.
Brief summer’s bounty /
Alluring beauty of youth /
Fades with setting sun.
From High Country Haiku - Summer. Free on Kindle August 3 / 4. Happy Birthday M3...
John Muir is an American hero, my hero. In the late 1800’s, he sought a path to enlightenment, traveling alone, covering most of the American wilderness on foot and without a gun, without a sleeping bag, with only a sackful of stale bread and some tea.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
Yes, John Muir went out walking, looking for the inner beauty that can only found in nature, and he found it.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
“One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers' plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul.”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
Fortunately for us, the genius of John Muir’s legacy lives on today. In 1903, he convinced President Theodore Roosevelt of the importance of a national conservation program, saving the Grand Canyon and launching the movement that would create many of America’s National Parks.
"The path to personal enlightenment lies all around us, but in the complexity of modern times, the road less traveled by remains obscured. Listening for the resonance of the elusive harmonic tenor of the universe, the divine rhythm of nature can be as difficult to discern as trying to distinguish the forest among the trees. Our chaotic world has become a blur; the speed at which we live our lives is spiraling out of control. Maybe we just need to slow down to ascertain a fresh perspective."
There is a Zen Proverb that encapsulates this concept: 'Before enlightenment; chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood and carry water.' After studying Muir’s life, I have concluded that he secretly lived out this simple Bhuddist creed as well.
“During his years in the Yosemite Muir used to view with sadness the distinguished visitors who were so ‘time poor’ that they could spend only one day among the glories of the mountains. He chose to be ‘time-rich’ first of all.”
“I might have become a millionaire,” he once said, “but I chose to become a tramp. I have not yet in all my wanderings found a single person so free as myself.”
The truth was that John Muir was also a successful businessman who chose his solitary life purposefully. Money, for him, was not the ends, but only the means. He chose to live his life in the wilderness, to live deliberately, live in the now… each day, each hour, each moment.
“When he [John Muir] cleared over $100,000 in his fruit shipping business in California, he told a long-time friend that he had all the wealth he would ever want. How did he know? On the Harriman expedition to Alaska in 1899, someone mentioned the great wealth of the sponsor, the railroad magnet E. H. Harriman. Muir replied, “Why I am richer than Harriman. I have all the money I want, and he hasn’t.”
In the wilderness, John Muir found his balance in this world. He walked among nature for all his days, and through his writings and conservation achievements, he left a world that was better because he had lived here.
“A man in his books,” he once wrote, “may be said to walk the earth long after he had gone.”
Above 8,000 feet, high in the Rocky Mountains, I am constantly seeking to walk in the footsteps of the man that defined the meaning of a true vision quest, to live a 'time-rich' life.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
In the unbridled beauty of the wilderness, John Muir, philosopher, environmentalist and nature lover, truly found his own personal path to the enlightenment. I trust that you will find your path as well.
Excerpts from “The Wilderness World of John Muir” by Edwin Way Teale, and “High Country Haiku – Summer” by Gary Wayne Clark.
Photography © 2012 Gary Wayne Clark. All rights reserved.
Am I a man dreaming of fishing, or a fish dreaming I am a man? Reality, it seems, is all about perception.
Tromping through the bush, I shake the leaves to inspect the insects that drop to the ground and their stage of development; interesting. Creeping over an old log upstream, I peer into a riffle and wait. Eventually, my patience is rewarded as a Greenback trout darts from behind a rock and feasts on a Stonefly larva as the hatch wiggles to the surface in its desperate short-lived metamorphosis. Ah grasshopper, today you are not; today, you are Stonefly, and you are hungry.
Armed with this newfound intelligence, I scramble out of sight, put on my magnifying glasses and fumble through the fly box for a Stonefly larva of just the right size… barbless hooks only, for today, this is not for keeps, this is just a drill. Now if I can avoid hooking myself this time in the process... I emerge from the brush prepared; I am both armed and dangerous to stalk my quarry. Think! Stay upstream, do not get the sun behind you; creep back downstream and study the water for at least 10 minutes before taking any action. Do not be overconfident; these guys have seen a hook before.
As I make my way upstream, a thundering waterfall plunges into the serenity of a turquoise mountain lake, unveiling the natural canvas of a muted, pastel world. Pausing to reel in the headwaters of my dream, I fall under the spell of a rhythmic siren song. Reality, like ripples in a stream, diffuses into diverse directions as my fly-fishing vision quest enters another stage.
And so the dance continues - evaluation, selection, presentation, and outcome. As always, it is mostly about rejection, at least until one combatant tires and relents.
Today, the fish wins. But not to worry, there will be another day, another stream, and another Cutthroat challenge test of will. And as I slip back into a relaxed state, my mind returns to the original enigma and I wonder…
Am I a man dreaming of fishing, or a fish dreaming I am a man? There is only one satisfactory conclusion to be drawn - if this is a dream, don't wake me up.
If I Were the Queen, of the For-est!
The world at 11 weeks through the eyes of a Great Doodle...
"Look at me Ma, I'm Queen of the world!"
With the force of the collision, they both tumbled over and ended up on the floor, Ryker on his back, face to face with Lexis. He could see that the anger in her eyes had not dissipated, so he grabbed her arms and held on to her tight.
“Killing the little fucker now would be like closing the barn door after the cow is gone, Wonder Woman,” Ryker whispered. “Not much use in it.”
Lexis breathed quickly, struggled for a second and then finally let her body go limp as she calmed down.
“Yeah, maybe not,” she hissed back. “But I don’t think you’re the one to be giving out lessons on tolerance, are you, Mr. ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’?” Ryker released his grip and Lexis rolled off of him.
“Well, maybe not,” Ryker answered.
“What’s the matter, Commander? You going soft on me?” she taunted. “I thought you had a front row seat to the Payback game.”
“Different game, kid. But when that game comes around, you can play on my team.”
Excerpts from The Devolution Chronicles: Rise of the Chimera
“God, defend me from my friends; from my enemies I can defend myself.”
Relationships are all about compromise; being willing to bend a little for the long term benefits…
The branch has staked out its position, and it is unyielding. The tree could easily break the branch, but instead, chooses to grow around the obstinacy, eventually engulfing it.
And so, in the end, they each find their compromise…
What's on my mind...