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Where not all roads less traveled are roads...

Header Photo: Table Mountain, Golden, Colorado, with views of downtown Denver.

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. 

9 comments:

  1. The need to prioritize my life became clear ~6 years ago when I was working 80-hour weeks and became sick. That's when I said "I quit", much to the concern & bewilderment of all my co-workers. My life doesn't have near the income it did before but I've never regretted it. So, I totally understand this line of thought!
    Nina

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  2. Me... As always... Used more words; "Take this job an' Shove it! I ain't workin' here no more!" :)

    ... But... A week at NASCAR don't count... Do it? ;-

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  3. Susan Wise here... not sure if the two words were "I quit." In my mind they may have been something else. We are so happy to be adventuring with Bobbie and Mark again. Love you too/two! It's worth all the baggies that I've washed out to save a few more pennies.

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  4. The day I said "I quit" was one of the happiest days of my life. It was the actual decision to do it that was much harder.

    Gayle

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  5. If you have a dream follow it, if you don't find it.

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  6. Great post today, very inspirational! Your blog is one of my favorites. Thank you.

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  7. Think outside the box. If you can dream it do it. At the age of 20 I asked for a "leave of absence" from my employer to "further my educational pursuits". Incredibly enough it was granted - for three months! I traveled with very little $$$ and much happiness (and incredibly enough a job to return to). Great post. You have some "Wise" friends.

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  8. Nina,
    Thanks for your take on the subject. Some of us are just not cut for cubes... :)) Enjoy your free lifestyle!!

    CowBoy Brian,
    No, NASCAR doesn't count... nor does being a pool boy in Lovely Ouray during the summertime :)

    Wise Susan,
    We are so glad you joined us here! I love your cookies, keep them coming and I will reveal all our secret places :0
    thanks,

    Jim and Gayle,
    If you think about quitting too much, it grows into the impossible realm. You have to Just do it and trust that the rest will fall into place. RV'ers are resourceful types.

    Gaelyn,
    Life without a dream is no life at all... Find it is good advice... and make it BIG.

    Ron and Cyndi,
    Wow, thank you...
    Now I feel "pressure" :))

    Maureen,
    Thanks for your comment and your experience with "quitting." I think it set a lifestyle mindset... and you are sticking with it pretty darn well. I love you guy's brave spirit and the places it takes you!
    Can't wait to meet up in southern arizona... hopefully in january.
    mark and bobbie

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  9. Hi Mark and Bobbie,

    Playing catch up after being swamped at w*rk. I will attest that fear is a big player in my inability to utter those two words. Our youngest graduates college in 5 weeks, my husband it tired of the rat race at w*rk and my dream just gets stronger every day (insert Chicago music here).
    I am enjoying your adventures in the Zion area, can't wait to see it in person. Someday.

    And I am super excited that the Wise Ones have resurfaced! I was/am a huge lurker fan of theirs, even have their old blog still bookmarked. And yours too for that matter! Glad to hear that they are doing well and that Susan is cancer free! Good for them for getting back on the road for awhile.

    Ya'll have fun!

    Julie in Austin

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