Monday, November 5, 2012
For Every Drop Of Rain A Canyon Grows
Walking Zion's hallowed canyons has a way of reordering one's priorities and ego. If you don't believe it, it's because you haven't been here. From Kings to Kingdomites, Presidents to Citizens, CEOs to Worker Bees, it's as if a "Reset" button is pushed; "Wow, maybe I'm not so big and important after all."
These vertiginous pink walls have been around a long, long time. Predecessors of our predecessors were working out the kinks involved in transmogrifying flippers into legs when Zion's chasms were but sedimentary grooves under a receding sea. Throw in a couple of billion years... a pinch of iron... voila; this is what comes of freeze and thaw, expansion and contraction, wind and rain and runoff.
Bobbie and I have the pleasure of experiencing Zion's Atumnal wonders with Miakel and Susan Wise. On the road in their Airstream since July, they are enjoying an adventure filled break from treadmills... again. Oh, the Wise Ones are not "newbies," some will remember their travels in 2007 and 2008 from their fun blog. We serendipitously crossed paths with Maikel and Susan in Organ Pipe National Park back in January of '08. Being a hundred miles from internet, Susan knocked on our door and asked if we would be so kind as to let them do a quick post via our highly visible Data Storm Satellite. Well, of course... whadaya gonna say, "No... Go away?"
Miakel and Susan looked far too young to be fulltimers; I assumed that they were either "trust-funders" or "dot-com'ers." But no, they were just like us... "up to here" with working fingers to bone for unappreciative bosses. Being younger, their tunnel to freedom stretched out twice as long as ours. Yet there they were, and there we were... both on year long sabbaticals. Talk about "kindred spirits."
I only know of two words that can shorten work tunnels, but they take a mountain of courage to utter. The words are not for the faint of heart. They are not for those who lack self confidence... that somehow, someway, they will survive and all will be well. Those two words are often held up on tips of tongues... frozen in fear. They will only thaw and flow from the mouths of risk-takers, as opposed to risk-talkers. Only those willing to plunge headlong into their dreams, the ones that grips them like a vice, only those who question the value and purpose of continuing down an unfulfilling path so well trodden it's become a rut... so vapid and hollow it echoes with the moans of lemmings... will experience the release, the lightness of being... wings. Those who are thrilled with their jobs will not understand. This does not apply to you! In fact, you might as well stop reading now, and scurry off to work early... earn some valuable "brownie points." The rest, tho, should read on.
The two words I alluded to are, of course, "I quit." That's it. "I quit." Simple as that. Five separate times I've had the pleasure/trepidation/release to look an unappreciative boss square in the eye and say, "I quit." What a rush. Feet don't touch the ground for all the weight that comes off shoulders when a dreamer says, "I quit."
I don't know if Susan would agree, but I think breast cancer is a little like Zion. It can "reorder" one's priorities in the blink of an eye. I've seen cancer do one of two things, either solidify the chains that bind one to work, friends, family, community, or, smash "chains" into a million pieces and send them scurrying off in search of dreams put on hold... the secret life they wanted to live but were too afraid to go after.
Susan and Maikel decided life was too short to let a "roll of the dice" determine their fate. So here they are, again, job quitters, on "sabbatical," wandering the west's treasures, living in Glacier, playing on Escalante's immense Grand Staircase, wading chest deep through frigid waters of slot canyons, adventurously living out round two of what will no doubt be a fifteen round bout with "treadmills," on again, off again, having a ball.
It is a complete surprise that they are spending November reunited with us in one of the most spiritual places on earth. Susan remains cancer free, and the Wise's priorities are in perfect order.