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Friday, March 7, 2014

"Still Here" Part II: Picking Up Where We Left Off, and "Church" Redefined

"I have not grown misanthropic, but with the passage of time I have come to value emptier spaces, to seek out the natural world and the ultimate of what travel has to offer—wilderness. Is it a way of reinvigorating myself with a peek at innocence, of having trespassed into Eden? It hardly matters—so much in travel is self-delusion." Paul Theroux, "Fresh Air Fiend."

More food for thought from the "Fresh Air Fiend." Bon appetite...

"The profoundest satisfaction in travel is a sense of discovery, the private thrill of seeing something new or seeing it in a new way... As far as I'm concerned, everything else in travel is a vacation, the view from a a chaise lounge—horizontal."

"Who are the great travelers? They are all sorts, of course. A large number have been depressives, bipolar types capable of serious gloom: Livingstone sulked in his tent for days, Vancouver locked himself in his cabin, Speke shot himself, Scott sometimes wept, Nansen was suicidal, so was Meriwether Lewis. But at their best they are curious, contented, patient, courageous, and paragons of self-sufficiency. Their passion is visiting the unknown. Travel, which is nearly always regarded as an attempt to escape from the ego, is in my opinion the opposite: nothing induces concentration or stimulates memory like an alien landscape..."

After this glorious, soul-quenching excursion into solitude and reinvigoration, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was a cleansed feeling, akin to how I felt as a child after my serial Sunday trip to the alter when Pastor Don would call for those with sin in their life to "come forward and be forgiven." Had I the nerve to ask for a little "clarification" on what exactly constitutes "sin" amongst prepubescent, hormonally assaulted males, one alter call would have sufficed (sigh). 

Even though I didn't go so far as to break down and cry up on the mountain, I easily could have. All that was missing was an organist with a choir singing, "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you to come home." Deep down inside, I've always known that "Church," in its most genuine form, is more than a building, more than a congregation, more than doctrinal mind-washing, more than repentance and redemption. Church (salvation) is a highly personal matter between an individual and what ever it is that feeds their soul, rights their ship, softens their heart, and tempers their tongue. Genuine Church is what ever it takes to magnify love, goodness, and humanity, while shrinking ego, self-importance, and greed.
I happen to find all of those things in wilderness.


  1. The snow looks so pristine.
    Nature is the best religion I've found.

  2. I go to the Church of the Holy Redrock as often as possible.

  3. I disobeyed doctor's orders and didn't take my post-surgery medicine. I just didn't want to wait an hour afterward to eat breakfast. I'm struggling to get my doses in every day because you can't take it an hour before eating or two hours after eating. Difficult for a gal whose digestive woes cause her to eat small amounts every two hours! By the way, how are you getting such crisp snow shots? I got a new Canon 70D and my snowy shots all look grey. Help!

    1. Pam, I find the 5:00 am 'potty break' time to be perfect for such Meds.

  4. Beautifully stated, and even more beautifully captured. I always said I feel the greatest sense of "source" when I am in the mountains or forest. But what you guys are seeing is like St. Peters, St. Paul's, and St. Salt Lake all rolled into one!

    One of my favorite quotes: "In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia." ~Charles A. Lindbergh

  5. So true. There are times when people show up and I want to shush them! They need to show reverence for what they are seeing. It truly does feel like being in a cathedral.

  6. OK, Mark, can I quote you?? raised to shake in my boots during that altar call because at ten I knew I was the child of the devil, I heard what you said deeply, and we share a similar "church" in our later years.

  7. Laverne says:

    Now you are speaking my language Mark.....we are all in this together.....our lives, our faith, our beliefs are what we make of them....all inclusive. Great photo's of lovely Ouray in the wintertime....thanks.

  8. Beautifully said. Nature is what I bow down to.


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