There are two kinds of people in the world, those that think there are only two kinds of people and those who know better. I used to believe that, but lately I have been feeling differently. Maybe there are only two… “them that are busy being born and them that are busy dying.” Age has nothing to do with it. Age indiscriminate. Unrelated. Immune. It’s a choice.
In the Rocky Mountains, I did a solo hike one morning climbing 4 miles, 2,500 feet straight up in less than two hours, starting out at 9,000 and ending up at 11,500 ft. Feeling sort of full of myself, rather self-satisfied until I got to the very peak of the “evil” Twin Sisters. There I saw nestled in the crook of two outcropping slabs of rock, like it was nature’s own answer to the lazy boy recliner, balanced precariously and dangling half of his body above a three mile straight drop, was a man ten years my senior. I guess he got up earlier than me. Scars ran the length of both of his legs cutting sharply across both knees. As he looked across to Longs Peak in the distance he told me in two weeks he would be doing it maybe for the last time. It’s one of Colorado’s fifty three 14’ers and he and his wife would make camp at around 9,500. She would make him breakfast the second morning before he went on alone. He’d been doing it for 20 yrs. Said every year he would listen for God to tell him when to stop. But so far every year, twice a year, he’d been good for it. He stared calmly at it like you would look at an old friend while we talked and he told me about how this had all been a gift.
My father used to say that he’d rather die of exhaustion than boredom. Well, Dad you did it . . . and why not? No compromises. No negotiation. On your own terms, it is your choice. Your life. Lionhearted. 21st Century Solomon. I knew him, he was a friend.
Stopped by to see some longtime friends in Albuquerque on our way back. Life has a way of separating you from the things you love when you are out to make a life for yourself. Hadn’t seen them for years but the kind of friends with infinite hearts who don’t waste time with judgments. Not where have you been (?), so much as who are you now? They make their living as artists, they are fueled by their wellspring. Living in the illuminated shadows of the Sandia Mountains, they are alive in their art, daily they are fearless, constant rebirth, re-evolution.
Find something you love to do and do it with all your might . . . and just maybe, you will live forever.
but always, as you go down the road of life . . . remember this above all else: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears. Bears will kill you.”
Sedona (yes again, didn’t get to do Bear Mtn last time), Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, The Rockies, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. 4,120 miles. 3 wildfires. 1 moon.