NOTE: Open post and then Single Click On first Post Photo to view an album in a more detailed, larger format...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Baptism and Fatalism... "A Separate Peace"

The mark of true friends is that they don't require an explanation. However... 

MarkTwain once said that in order to experience true joy, we must share it with "someone." So I reexamine, look within, and ask myself what to do if indeed, as B. B. King put it, "the thrill is gone." After a decade of blogging, from various "pulpits," thousands of posts—from the original Artful RV Adventures to the current Box Canyon Blog—is it time to move on to something else? Are the "rewards" worth the time, effort, and occasional aggravation to keep the Box Canyon ball in the air? The answer from within comes as a question, "What worth doing does not involve time, effort, and aggravation?" Touché.

Being the son of a preacher man I'm reminded of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus implored his gang of disciples to "hide not your talents under a bushel." An out-of-tune Sunday School song replays from an Assembly of God Children's Choir under my misdirection. 

This little light of mine, 
I'm going to let it shine... 
Hide it under a bushel, 
NO! I'm going to let it shine... 

One need look no further than North Korea to understand that indoctrination is most effective with young, impressionable "blank slates."
If one chooses to risk their "light," share thoughts, heart, art... whatever, with "the world," they must be willing to pay the price of scrutiny, criticism, and, perhaps worst of all, "silence." 
How does one refute silence? 

It seems the older I get the easier I bleed, literally, and metaphorically. It has inched me toward fatalism, a warm and fuzzy "religion" where everything is out of our control, so why worry about it. Besides, if prayer actually worked, kids wouldn't' be suffering and dying of cancer every single day; ultimate injustice in my book... the Ultimate Bully... picking on weak, defenseless, and innocent children. 

In the end, I believe that it's not death that scares us so much as it is the lack of control of how and when. I'm currently reading friend and fellow Rv'er Gwen O'Leary's book "When Life Hands You Alzheimers's, Make Aprons." In it, Gwen deftly and humorously renders her personal account story of care-taking her mother through the ravages of such a disease. It scares the beJesus out of me. Fatalism is the antidote, it encourages one to live wild and free every day, while they still can. It's analogous to certain Baptist sects, who believe "once saved, always saved." Really? Cool! Sign me up. Now all a fatalist needs to do is join in with the Baptists and all bases are covered, the perfect religion where neither risk nor sin haunts the wild and wicked. It's freeing. I went straight out (against Doctor's orders) and bought a brand new fat tired, full suspensioned mountain bike... one built to take on the sketchiest trails, the kind one needs to sate the inner adrenalin junkie. Ah, Baptism and Fatalism... where Quality of life trumps Quantity of life... a Separate Peace in the Valley I've been searching for.  
I digress. Now where was I? Explanations...

Yes, I could use some thicker skin. Silence amongst the congregation can be deafening, and it's known to cause outbursts of bravado... which, in reality, is nothing more than insecurity, boiling to the surface. Your recent accolades in the Comment Box are every bit as warm and fuzzy my new religion. Reassurance has the power to resurrect. But Gee, at 66 years old, you'd think it's about time I could turn off the lights and go to sleep without a "Teddy." 

Your "outpouring" to my tantrum was heartening... and now, in retrospect, even a tad embarrassing. As some suggested, I will attempt to find balance between those things I'm passionate about... realizing that there are limits to energy, time, and, more to the point, talent. Movement in the outdoors remains at the top of our priority list. The clock, like rust, never sleeps. At the end of our mobility awaits the arts. Till then...  

Tis better to appreciate things one can't have than to have things one can't appreciate. Burt Hubbard

So, to my gracious, oft under-appreciated congregation, a hearty, well-deserved Thank You!  

You try to be smart
then you take it apart
'cause it hurts when your ego is deflated.

You don't realize
that it's all compromise
and the problems are so over-rated. 
Petula Clark, "Don't Sleep in the Subway," which is a perfect segue to a recent hike... 

Now, by special request (you're welcome Gayle), Mr and Mrs Guide Noir and friends reprise a challenging hike into The Subway... a literal short-course in bouldering, balancing, rock hopping, endurance, and route finding.  

Left to right: Maikel, Andre, Bobbie, Susan, Chris, and Gayle. Speedy Rose had moved on... out of sight, down the trial. That gal can move! 

The first of dozens of crossings over the Left Fork of North Creek... rock hopping in an effort to keep feet dry as long as possible. Ultimately, as the canyon closes in, it becomes easier to just wade.

As in the previous Slot Canyon post, low light (shade) messes with photo quality. Please pardon what can't be helped. The Subway is no place to be lugging a tripod! 

Just before the big wedding and our departure, Venice Beach, Californians Andre and Rose stopped by for a get-acquainted visit at our home in Lovely Ouray. After learning they were keen on hiking and biking, we extended an invite to join the gang at our Virgin Boondock. It was fun having "new blood."

Freezing, thawing, rain, and gravity dislodges humongous boulders from canyon walls; a bit disconcerting knowing the wrong place at the right time could prove disastrous. Insert Fatalism here...

Nothing makes a 10 mile sortie feel like 20 than having to size up every step on wet, unstable rocks. Hiking poles are a must, and a little luck doesn't hurt. The Subway is a physically and mentally challenging trek, as the brain is stuck in continuous "calculate" mode.

Once past the dinosaur tracks, ledgy (and slippery) waterfalls come into view. Finally, we are getting close. The Canyon narrows, forcing us into the creek. The Esophagus awaits its next meal :).  

Feel the tube closing in...

Walls rising up...

More step-ledges and beautiful waterfalls... 

Then all of a sudden, our world goes vertical. Walls close in. Air cools. Light fades. We are greeted by The Subway... a fascinating, seductive vortex that beckons us forward. What a natural wonder, carved by innumerable flash floods, and certainly not a place to be when it's raining upstream. I never tire of that first glimpse... when butterflies flutter into the stomach and goosebumps rise up on arms. 

Rose contemplates the entry to Subway... 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

To be concluded...
Muchos Gracious, mi amigos!
mark and bobbie :) 


  1. Ahhh. I get to do the Subway without "doing" the Subway. My feet are dry, my knees feel fine. This member of the congregation is content, for the moment. Yeah, I used to sing that same song....Nazarene. I know where all that stuff comes from.

  2. Wow. Will have to think about for a while before I can comment. It's like having bitten off too much to swallow. Will be back later. Meanwhile, wonderful pictures, heavy thoughts.

  3. Love the pictures and the aging philosophy lesson that we all feel but are afraid to talk about it. John

  4. In the reality show of a "Trumpish" World your blog is like the health-giving clear spring of a creek destined to turn into a mighty river before it reaches the ocean.

  5. Enjoyed the memory trip through the Subway and all the time together in Utah. Speedy Rose says Hi.Looking forward to future encounters.

  6. Great post. Beautiful pictures! Thanks.

  7. Not to tell you what to do but to let you know what a slightly older (70) outdoor nut has been experiencing. In 2016 I chose to give up biking and hiking that had much vertical or distance. Now that I do not have the relatively long recovery times from what should have been minor mishaps, my participation time in the next level of outdoor activity has been much more full filling. I have never been a danger junky but am still a junkie for moving the body around. My time walking and beach combing, kayaking and photography, and painting has become very fulfilling and fun. Not having so much recuperation time taken from my life has freed up more time for the other activities involving moving the body around that I still enjoy. It is not like I lost any activity but that I have gained a large amount of quality time for the remaining activities. I would be lying to say I did not miss my biking and hiking but missing the days of recuperation is a much better addition to my living.

  8. Beautiful hike - looks like wet feet are inevitable.

  9. Great text and pictures, you never disappoint. As my 90 year old grandfather used to say, don't stop doing anything you want to do or you won't be able to do it anymore. The subway is on my bucket list, can't wait!

  10. Thanks, Mark, for honoring my request. Such a memorable hike! I was too busy trying to remain upright to take many photos. You and Bobbie are the best guides :-)

  11. I say it doesn't count if there's not ice in the stream. ;-)

  12. Great post with awesome pictures and thought- provoking prose. My husband and I always appreciate your quality posts. Thank you!

  13. This looks like such an amazing hike...those rocks do look extremely slippery though. I'm glad I can hike it vicariously through you!

  14. I love the softness of your photos, kinda like paintings. The Subway is on my bucket list someday. Glad you came to your senses and decided to keep posting because your posts are always thought provoking and your photos are awesome!

  15. WOW, great pictures as always! And I enjoy the writings as well. Its nice to be enjoying life!

  16. Sure wish I could have been with you. It's on my bucket list too and I'd better hurry up. I appreciate your opening paragraphs they speak loudly to me especially the question "How does one refute the silence" and the truth for me also "It seems the older I get the easier I bleed, literally, and metaphorically. That's for putting so eloquently how I feel about my growing disinterest in my blog and the silence it inspires.

  17. Do what feels right and gives you peace. You've earned it.

  18. Clocking in as it seems the least I can do after my own rant to your last post. Appreciate your writing as usual, and the hike continues to motivate me to keep walking and getting into better condition.

  19. May be hell to get old, but it does beat the alternative. So glad you went back to the Subway as I fear I'd be left in the creek trying to keep up with you and the gang. I think all us bloggers get to the point where we wonder why we bother as silence greets us. I'll just keep doing it for me as long as I want to.

  20. I'm curious now how many years I've looked at your posts showing Zion in October and said to myself "someday.." It looks like I place I would gladly go back to again and again as you do.


If you like reading blog posts...from any blogger...consider leaving a "tip" in the form of a "comment" to the author, lest the blog might disappear from perceived lack of interest.