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Header Photo: Just an average hike on an average day in Red Canyon Country.



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Friday, December 20, 2013

To Be, or Not To Be...


Today's thoughts come from Lovely Ouray, Colorado. It is home…a seasonally appropriate and quiet place to land for the holidays and shake off the dust of travel. There is a befitting fall of snow beyond window panes, now framed with Christmas lights of blue, green, red and gold. I had to out muscle the Grinch in me to get them up this year; more about that in a minute... 


I know that most in the audience go to great lengths and expense in order to escape snow and cold every year, yet here we are again…surrounded by both. If your only home has wheels, I understand. I must confess, tho, being here—time present, cozied up to a warm hearth, flames licking yule logs, Christmas lights glowing, stockings stuffed, and packages—both sent and arriving—well, it feels kinda nice. My exercise bike faces Imax Windows, an iPod awaits cue on the sill, and a winter wonderland movie runs continuously…snowplows with flashing lights, soakers amongst the steam in Hot Springs, and breakaway puffs of clouds, slinking into La Crevice with the stealth of a practiced army. Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow…

This winter scene would not be complete without eggnog and a good book. Here are selected passages of Burnt Norten, from "Four Quartets," by T. S. Elliot; a Christmas gift from Nephew Darin. The selections have to do with Time, a subject that befuddled Einstein himself, until, in his later years, he concluded that past, present, and future all exist simultaneously.  

...Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all of time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable… 
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
…Humankind cannot bear much reality.
Time present and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

This jumped from the page, grabbed me by my mental collar and shook me awake…"All time is unredeemable," a familiar theme here at the BCB; and, Footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take."  Read it again and again.

Elliot's expertise at weaving philosophy and poetry is brilliant. He manages to bring significance to what is, for most, insignificant…the ordinary passing of time...which is to say, the use of Now. Reading his words, my shoulders can almost feel an uptick in weight, the responsibility and importance of right now. What an indulgence; I have lots of time to think about Time…I'm getting there, hold your britches.

Another book that rests on the hearth is, The Life of a Simple Man, by Emile Guillaumin (translated), a work of fiction, but based on truths about the tedious and arduous life of French peasant's in the mid 1800's. Emile was himself a peasant, but unlike his peers, he learned to read and write. And write he did...about what he knew best, a commoner's life of drudgery and hard labor, of being someone whose feelings and ideas are discounted among the stuffy bourgeois. Here is an observation by Tiennon, the lead charter…a hardworking chap trying to walk the tightrope of submission while imagining he's bettering himself.

"How great events hang on a mere trifle: a chance circumstance, a fleeting inclination, a moment of boldness or a moment of thoughtlessness." 

"You have to make a change to appreciate fairly the good aspects of your former life; in the monotony of daily existence you enjoy the best things unconsciously; they seem so natural that you can't imagine they no longer exist...only the tiresome things strike you, and you think they must be less in evidence elsewhere. Changing your way of life brings out the advantages you didn't appreciate and proves that troubles, in one form or another, exist everywhere."




In keeping with thoughts on "relativity" and such, I give you examples of rush hour; first in Philadelphia, then in Lovely Ouray.

So we go about our rounds here…making tracks in fresh snow through town and forest…trying Tiennon-like to adopting the philosophy that it is good to be where one is no matter where you are.  "To be, or not to be." That really is the question…  








So, our normal holiday in Lovely Ouray will be extended this year in light of new circumstances. It seems as though I developed a hernia, and it needs to be repaired. I'm not sure when or where it happened, but I think it was while we were rocking out in Virgin back in November. I had noticed a little discomfort, but, being male and all, paid no attention to it and carried on with hiking and biking and crashing as per normal. Now I have this little bulge in the area of my groin. It's not really painful unless I cough or sneeze or laugh...so it could be worse. 

And now I'm in the process of waiting (a month) for a Doc to look at me and say what I already know…"Dude, you got a hernia." Then comes the wait for surgery...and then the wait for it to heal. I'm much better at "doing" than "waiting." But it is a "wait in line" world we live in nowadays. If you don't believe me, just wait and see.
Making the best of it, "living in the eternal present," counting my blessings, glass half full and all that shit...
Mark

21 comments:

  1. So...been worried about Goldie ever since you took off for New York. Is she still safely stored in Hurricane? No damage from the gawd awful cold? Yeah, I like Christmas by the hearth as well, lights and snow and all that stuff. But by late January I am pretty sick of it. This year I'll be in the Caribbean and then on to Florida. Hopefully I'll get the Christmas lights down before I leave. Hopefully you can just leave your lights up for some cheery Ouray comfort as you wait for you surgery. Sorry, Mark.

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  2. Be careful with that hernia, my Mother in Law ended up with a small section of her large intestine being extruded and emergency surgery was required to save her life. It is a serious injury.

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  3. There's something to be said for a sticks and bricks to come "home" to. Sorry about the hernia, but you can definitely say you "earned" it. Bet the next couple of months will be slow to pass for you, but it won't be long before you're sharing some more beautiful country with us. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and Bobbie.

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  4. Ahhh...beautiful Ouray at Christmas - so gorgeous.

    Glad you came back West - was beginning to worry about you. Best of luck on the hernia and heal fast!

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  5. You think having to lift that bike off me all those times caused the hernia? My hand still hurts, so there.

    As to time, it is not too late to buy Bobbie that new shiny bicycle what with xmas and all.

    Jim

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  6. Happy Holidays--- Hernia--- TWICE! no problem- in and out same day-- quick recovery IF!!! IF!!! IF-- you do not rush back to too much activity-- big mistake =second surgery!! set back healing in unbelievable fashion!! learn from my mistake!! take care Walden Creek RV steve

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  7. You have a beautiful place for waiting!

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  8. ......looks like the Universe has made it possible for you to have some quite time to prepare for your rendezvous with PARIS Mark. (everything in life happens for a reason)
    So I will be mailing to you shortly an excellent read which I have read over & over again as the allure of the Middle Ages in Europe has always fascinated me. It will only cement your fascination with this unforgettable city.
    Unfortunately as much as it would delight me you & Bobbie will have a deeper experience discovering Paris on your own. (it works that way for most couples) The hernia could delay your trip this year and that might be to your advantage as European travelers book 365 days in advance as hotels & airspace fill up fast. Europe now is being bombarded by the Chinese along with all the former Soviet satellite countries (who can hop a train and be their in almost the same day).
    Again always enjoy seeing Ouray in Winter as we sit by our fireplace with some good port or currently good old Clover Egg Nog with a shot.
    Oh ye'll, Mark do us and I am sure many others a favor and get to work on getting that Live Web Cam off the top of the Blow Out and put it on top the Elks Club, thanks.
    ....and remember "there is only now, an eternal moment of always in which you are experiencing yourself": (from an old poster I had in the 80's)
    Happy Holidays P.S will mail book to P O Box Ouray Co 81427, I am sure they know you!
    from Sonoma County

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  9. Best to you with the hernia..I am counting...10 days till I get a needle stuck in my L-4.....Geez it's been 2 months.
    I am dying here...Hope it works so I will be able to meet up with you folks...In 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Accckkk!
    Time flies too fast the older we get..I still refuse to grow up....It's too late.
    David

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  10. WHY does it take a month to see a doctor to confirm your diagnosis? That's just crazy! I'm really sorry you have to deal with this. We were really hoping you'd make it to Arizona this winter. Good luck with repairs and all.

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    1. What's this? Mark not making it to Arizona this winter? Let's hope he'll soon be back to overdoing it.

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  11. At least you have a beautiful view while waiting for and recovering from the surgery. Hoping you have a speedy recovery.

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  12. Yes, heed Walden Creek's advice. Chris didn't listen to his doctor and ended up having the same hernia redone 2 weeks later. Definitely not fun the 2nd time around.
    Merry Christmas to you both!!

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  13. Ah...you're back writing! At least I thought you were still gone, but then I discovered that I hadn't been getting email notices of your posts and found about a half dozen I had missed...

    I suppose if you have to deal with a hernia it's better to be in a good sized house than in a little RV, no? Wishing you smooth sailing with this thing over the next couple of months (months...for crying out loud!).

    Metamorphosis Lisa

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  14. Good time of the year (January) to take care of a hernia. At our age you have to expect a few repairs, luckily we have good medical care to take care of these issues. Enjoying the pictures from Ouray, thanks.

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  15. Bummer on the hernia. I'm sure you'll be back on those trails in no time. Ouray sure is pretty anytime of year. Stay warm and have a great Christmas!

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  16. Eeeeoww...so sorry to hear that! Are you sure it was not from too many turkey dinners? Can't believe it will be a whole month until you can get it fixed. Maybe you better keep those spandex pants on to hold things in place until then. ;-)

    One of my favorite phrases is "Bloom where you are planted." I can't imagine a prettier setting to be planted for the holidays!

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  17. I had same problem as Lisa. No email alert on BBC posts Walden creek Rev. Steve

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  18. See what did we tell you back in UT? Isn't hiking much more fun than that silly mountain biking stuff? :-)
    When the Broncs go deep into the playoffs, you'll forget all about that inconvenient little bulge.

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  19. While I am sorry to read about your pending surgery, you do have the most lovely location to "suffer" through the winter. Take care! Hope all moves forward without too much pain.

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