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



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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wis—Dumb for the Ages





“For last year's words belong to last year's language 
And next year's words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


It's easy to allow Life to rein us in during our so called "Golden Years." Resolutions wilt like a plucked daisy, as does the endless struggle against gravity and aging. It's like the Black Hole—a siphoning vortex—that force which ultimately overpowers the "solar flare" impetus of youth, reaching so far and high for one splendid moment, then yielding to laws of physics that rain them back to earth to await ever-shrinking orbits and a final burn-out upon re-entry to atmospheres out of our control and few to our liking. 

"(The old man) had, indeed, a great many things to say, and yet, after just a quarter of an hour's talk…came up short. The past is a pit where impressions of the moment are endlessly accumulated, layer by layer, the more recent obscuring the others which in time become a formless mass, where it is difficult to find anything clear." Emile Guillaumin, "The Life of a Simple Man."

Time distorts reflections in my mirror and reminds me that I have become my father. An epidemic of gray hair…that wretched bonnet of wisdom...herds me kicking and screaming toward corrals of age appropriate behavior

Good Lord knows I doth protest, so He piles it on. (Really, God? What's your point?) Looky here, I'm not ready for Caribbean cruises with six thousand risk-averse adventure seeking cows feeding at the slop-trough of all-you-can-eat buffets. Oh the banality, to then be further herded (a la cattle driven) to tree top Zip Line lines, sunset photo-op ops, and to natives, demonstrating the age old art of weaving baskets from strips of bamboo...now imported from China due to chronic deforestation as a result of Tourists needing indigenous Trinkets. For every million "trinkets" (or, anything else Made in China) another dirty, coal fired power plant goes under construction. How long till their smog spills into our neighborhood, and we are all wearing masks "Made in China?" I digress

I've long considered New Year's resolutions an exercise in futility and self-abuse. I mean, why wait till 12:01 AM on January first to begin anew, to quit smoking, loose weight, start an exercise program, or resolve to change something about myself or the world that I'm not particularly fond of? There is no inherent magic in waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square; no inspiration in the "oohs and aahs" of celebratory fireworks beyond the last boom; no resolve in stroke-of-midnight kisses that lead to progress…unless a baby is among your resolutions. We acquiesce to the head pain and eye haze of a blistering New Year's hangover, miserable, and falter at the alter; which only serves to reaffirm negative self images of weakness, lethargy, and failure. 

Here's what Mark Twain had to say about it:
"New Year's Day--Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion."

So, in the spirit of spitting in the face of "gravity, black holes, and failure," here's my New Years toast: "May you screw up, make new mistakes, and keep starting over. To new beginnings, where there is always work to be done. We may be too old to bear fruit, but there is no harm in trying. Cheers!"

 Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it now. What have you got to lose?

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life." Neil Gaiman.

And eventually, the circle completes...

"I end as I began; old age and childhood have their analogies; extremes often meet." Emile Guillaumin, "The Life of a Simple Man."


Today's Hopes and Dreams are like today's swing sets; they come in "kit" form and fall out of the box in a million pieces. It is our charge to patiently assemble, only then can we step into them.





Do you see the buck in this photo?



"The Crucifixion"












30 comments:

  1. As my blog motto on the header says DON'T WAIT, TOMORROW STARTS NOW.

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  2. Yes indeed...go forth and meet adventure head on! I personally can't wait to explore new places this coming year and I hope we manage run in to you and Bobbie at some point along the journey! Wishing you both a year of health and happiness ahead!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

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    1. Let's do meet up…I'll need a peek at your "schedule," tho… :))
      Wishing you and Surf Boy Hans a great year of continued explorations!!!
      mark

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  3. Happy New Year! To New Beginnings..........cheers

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    1. I'll drink to that!
      I'm guessing your "hitch" is getting pretty "itchy" about now…
      mark

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  4. Nice way to end your blog year. It took me a while to find the buck, I hope that wasn't Photo Shopped!

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    1. Jim and Gayle,
      No Photo Shop on this Blog (It's over my head complicated…not for a Mac kind of guy, for sure).
      Nice chat yesterday…thanks for calling and telling me how much fun I'm missing out on :((.
      mark

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  5. May the new year bring all that you hope for, and more.

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    1. And the same for you, Gaelyn. Keep the rust at bay...

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  6. Happy New Year, and here's to a good next year. It's going to be 71 degrees tomorrow, and I intend to go ride up a hill.

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    1. Well I hope you know which gears to use (sorry, couldn't resist peeling that "scab" Boonie put on you).
      I envy your temps…it's snowing like crazy here in Lovely Ouray…big, soft, swirling flakes. Happy New Year to you, Allison, and thanks for commenting.
      mark

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  7. I really enjoy your posts, great writing and pictures, with adventure thrown in. Looking forward to reading what you get up to in 2014. Happy New Year.

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    1. Gracious, Dave…
      You are too kind. I'll try to keep raising the bar, but sometimes you get what you pay for here :))
      Happy New Year,
      mark

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    2. Happy New Years to both you and Bobbie! May this next year be filled with even more great adventures for the both of you.

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  8. Even more? Whew, ok, we'll give it a go :))
    Upcoming Retirement Goals?
    Mark

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  9. Thank you for not IDing your photos Mark . Most us know who are coming.For the adventurous traveler making these discovers ourselves is what it's all about. There has got to be a book in your future; that would give you a challenging project to consider for your Golden Years, but first the Center of the Universe awaits.
    Your 1st photo was taken on private property, right?
    Stay thirsty my friend.
    Sonoma Co guy

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    1. Oh you had to bring up "The Book," something I both fall asleep, and wake up to, every single damn day. So many ideas…
      My first photo? No not Private property.Nor was the second…but the third was private property, over To Hell You Ride way :)

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  10. I'll raise a glass to that New Years toast!! As a first year full timer, I "screwed up, made more new mistakes, and kept starting over" more times than ever before in my life, and it was one of the best years of my life thus far. Here's to another year of screw-ups, mistakes, and new beginnings! I trust the best is yet to come.

    Happy New Year to you and Bobbie!

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    1. Cheers, Suzanne. Those mistakes make great stories, eh? Eventually, anyway :)).
      Your Mexico trip is fun to follow, you brave hearted woman!
      mark

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  11. Loved it! Thanks big guy -Caleb

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    1. Miss you, big guy II…
      I hope your back is better, Patience, Grasshopper, patience...

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  12. ha... no problem here for making mistakes ... I'm really quite tired of making them. I've decided to do a bit more thinking before I leap ... thinking stuff out has never been part of my world ~ so... I believe Ill give that a shot. 70 years of mistakes ... AND may I add! that I haven't repeated the same one twice ... well, maybe a few... damn tired of 'em.

    Happy New Year, Mark ... hope your old age awareness dwindles somewhat. Even Jane Fonda had to have knee replacement ... ;) Tony Bennett can still sing beautifully and Rod Stewart retrained his vocal cords but Julie Andrews can't.

    I say life is a pip. a real pip. climbing a mountain or getting arthritis in your guitar picking fingers ... it's all relative. My love of adventure is strangely diminishing ... it's quite a realization ~ BUT as my new FB profile picture says ... "Gone to my happy place. Not coming back" ~ I mean it! ;)

    Love the picture under the Airstream picture of the mad as a wet rooster boulder … Hahaaa

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Carolyn,
      I thought that boulder looked like Bart Simpson :))
      Happy New Year to you, and all of yours.
      mark

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  13. 2014 and new adventures....here we come!
    Thanks Mark for the words and the beautiful pictures!

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    1. Thanks for checking in Gay and Joe :))
      mark

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  14. I've always been a big believer in mistakes, it's what makes it easy for my kids to talk to me as they know I'll just shrug and say "hope you learn from it". As for resolutions...I don't think I've ever made one, not for New Year's at least. I've been married for 24 years and haven't been to one New Year's party, not to mention even stayed up until midnight. The real adventure happens every day, not just once a year, right? Hope you make lots of mistakes this year and have lots of fun!

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  15. "The real adventure happens every day"
    Well said, Pam.

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  16. Totally don't know what happened but I just realized that I am no longer getting your blog!! Duh! It wasn't until I was reading Al's blog and mentioned you that this light went off. I guess a month of being out of good WiFi and being on the cruise did strange things to my mind. But never fear I am back. Now I have to catch up on a lot!!

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  17. Goodness, I'm glad you are back :)) There is a lot of Homework to do…
    Mark

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