Category Archives: Instagram Short Posts

Waking Hours

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The first few hours after emerging from the tent are the most soul filling and inspiring aspects of time spent camping. It lends itself perfectly to introspection and as the light is so beautifully soft and enticing, I remember what the world looks like without walls and solid shadows. The rays of morning flicker and scatter through the proud trees in a dance of light on the eyes. Then that first breath outside plumes into mist and the gorgeous morning light sparkles through the particles in the air.

It’s in the quietest of moments we hear the most. My silence is found in the wilderness.

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“Upon Which We Stride”

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There are many ways to love the trees
And each is to their own
But these are the ways I have seen
These are the ways I have known

Run blindly through the undergrowth
Swing wildly from the branches
Climb swiftly all the rocks of stone
Heed not anyone who watches

Here we are young explorers
Those who wander though not are lost
Here we are proud sentinels
Standing at our post

In this way we are proud
Proud enough to feel free
Though the changes here are not loud
Here we become all that we want to be

Then, if we wish to dig deeper
If we wish to incorporate spirituality
There’s a second option we pursue here
And it’s one of utter simplicity

We pick a rock or ledge by a valley
Or overlooking a lake
And keeping our minds gloriously empty
We find what dreams it will make

Our hearts feel the thrum of the earth
The variety of life is no surprise
We find home is the land of our birth
And the land upon which we stride

 

 

Poem: From the Earth and the Trees

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I arrived at a place where the water cut the trees from the soil

Its underbelly was a frothing turmoil

And yet it appeared to me

That the water came straight from the tree’s body

From under the tree it flew

As if in its long travels, it knew

The direction in which to flow

And here it is I came to know how from the earth and the trees the water has flowed gently by for many centuries.

And though not the dam of a beaver will make it stop

Or the dam of man can make it halt

I see in this place I’ve stumbled upon that Mother Nature continues on

Without anger or sadness or deep betrayal, Mother Nature bids us all to hail her beautiful continuity.

The water continued to flow as I gazed and the tree’s uncovered roots saw the sun’s rays

But in this moment, I could not halt the water or cover the roots

So I slipped off my boots and

Stepped into the icy cold water of the earth.

Though I remember the sight of the water like glass somehow flowing over the mossy grass

The thing that will always stand out to me is knowing that this moment was meant to be.

Whether it took days or months or up to a year for me to stand up and come to be here

The land was building this marvelous sculpture

And now here I stand, stock still in rapture.

Whether or not I saw it will change nothing of it’s existence

So I’m content to be able to think of it in absence

Of the sound of water and bubbling brook

My feet in the cold

And mother nature revealing herself as an open book that reads

From the earth and trees we are to be and to them we shall return.

 

“Outdoorsman” is Not a Fashion Style

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I read in an article recently that outdoor companies like REI and North Face are having to tailor their brands as fashion lines because this new view of the outdoors as a fashion statement. As if being an outdoorsman is a style.

First and foremost, outdoor recreation is about respect. Clothing companies like North Face created truly rugged clothing lines out of respect for the tough environmental conditions that exist out in the world. They were explicitly aware of the fact that things could go south at any moment and a person better be prepared for it.

Now, it seems like taking outdoor adventures is about what is most instagram worthy. It’s no longer about what we do just as long as it looks cool to show off.

I think, it’s really about testing who we are. It’s about broadening our awareness of the natural world and our place within it. It’s an adventure because it’s something we do to grow and thrive.

It shouldn’t be about what is popular or what is “in” or what the style is, the outdoors is about getting back to biophilic roots.

It’s a way of life.

As we as human beings move further away from our roles as hunters, gatherers, and survivors, we grow weak and complacent at the core of who we are and lose ourselves.

We gain weight, lose coordination, and are generally unremarkable.

I sincerely love the moments outdoors when I can’t feel my fingers and the snow is blowing and my nerves are on edge because that’s when I feel alive. It’s when I realize that my blood flows and my eyes wander for danger and my legs pump across uneven ground.

That’s the outdoors to me and in my fervor to chase what will turn heads I lose the wild in it and unknowingly succumb to aggrandizing the wilderness.

That’s what’s in.

Well, I live to be out.

That’s an outdoorsman to me.

Workspace

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Workspace is important. No matter what someone sits down to do, the atmosphere can make or break the quality of their work because it determines the state of mind someone is in. I believe that fully focusing on something puts a person into a kind of “flow” where movements become almost autonomous. The right kind of environment will put you into that state.

Martial arts practitioners and athletes of all kinds can attest to the fact that when in the throes of the sport, everything slows down. It’s almost like you go deaf for a moment. Thoughts are quick and sharply focused. Movements are muscle memory and reflexes from years of repetition. The mind goes, “I’ll take it from here.” The many times loud and intense atmosphere of sporting events results in an instant release of nerve tensing chemicals that leave a person high strung and twitchy. It’s this state, the state from the environment, that gets a person ready to do great things. Some writers like coffee shops for white noise. The constant flow of irrelevant sounds flow around the writer and lull them to thinking in a full form.

Some writers like total quiet. Immersing themselves within the depths of their mind and letting the hand put thoughts to paper.

Photographers subjects reveal a lot about who they are and how they think as well. The beautiful crystal clear lakes could be a photo from a person who enjoys the lone serenity on the shores of glass.

A person walking through the city street with camera poised could be inspired by the grand quantity of human lives surrounding them. Untold stories they wish to pen. Mysterious people they hope to understand. Or perhaps in themselves they see chaos. Photography lets them control it.

Whatever the state of body you desire, the state of mind comes first. Where? From the state of presence around you.

Vortexes and Alien Sightings

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I stopped by roadside America’s “Alien Watchtower” out of sheer curiosity to see what it could possibly be.

The tower itself was fairly uninteresting as it was a small white dome with a platform built above it and lawn chairs scattered haphazardly around the area.

However, just outside was a place they call “The Garden”.

Supposedly, as the lady informed us, it was the site of two vortexes that were portals to alternate dimensions. She told me that if I left a part of my aura there that the guardians of each portal would help my leg but only if I accepted it.

It was an interesting thing to listen to and hard for me of my personal knowledge to put too much stock into it. There was something else that I found inspiring.

The Garden was covered in the trinkets and personal belongings of hundreds upon hundreds of people who had passed through.

Coins from around the world, license plates, state ID’s, hair dryers, sunglasses, shoes, statues, necklaces, rocks, business cards, toys, Walkmans, iPod’s, phones and everything else you could imagine.

It was a garden comprised of pieces of peoples lives who believed they could be helped. It was the culmination of travelers taking the same roads I was. I wondered about who the first was. Who placed the first item and walked away from it to live out his life in a different part of the world.

There was a history at my fingertips. I didn’t believe in the vortex or the guardians, but I wanted to leave my mark. I wanted to be a part of this garden.

If you go, Look for the blue sunglasses.

Grand Canyon and Flowers

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How beautiful flowers are to be able to inspire happiness long after they are gone. Many things inspire only from the present.

The grand canyon was once a screaming cauldron of primordial anger hacking its way through the solid land. Shredding through the earth using bits of the earths own body.

Relentlessly pounding it for years upon years of archaic dislike, the rock cowered under the constant unprovoked torture of its land.

It bled and bled and bled.

Cut and torn.

Ripped and shattered.

The water laughed it’s way through the screams until we see what it is today. Most hear the power from the scenery at hand. Drinking in the majestic depth of field and wallowing in the provoked inspiration. Breathing in the sky and the mountains. Others can hear the endless anguished wails of the land hoping for a reprieve that won’t come from the knife of water. Dragging the blade slowly over exposed flesh. The fact remains that most will likely see the land only as it is now. The canyon is grand for the canyon after all and not the river it once was.

In a sense, the flower holds equal power in the fact that it can inspire from the past. From memory. After it dies the body will fade but the memory will continue to pervade in wandering thoughts.

The flower is a reminder that the past is beautiful as well. I challenge you.

Wrap memories you hold dear to your heart and store them for safe keeping. Keep the ones that continue to inspire you and glance upon their timeless elegance upon a full moons light to keep the suns rays away from them.

After that, Look, watch, listen.

Put only the best memories on the empty shelves and continue to fill them. Eventually the library that we call personality or experience will be a veritable sea of inspiration and antique happiness. When the library is filled.

You have lived a full life. I challenge thee.

Live a full life. Make full memories.

Seeing in Black and White

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I think I sometimes see too much in black and white, fighting too hard for one side I believe in. Maybe I have too much passion. If I discuss something at school and say, “Three kids started fighting” as opposed to “Everyone erupted into chaos” which story appears to be the most severe? I’d probably choose the latter and I think this is simply two ways of looking at the same situation.

In the first scenario, the class would have erupted into chaos anyway if three kids started a fight, that’s implied, but still seems less of a dire situation given only a stated three kids were involved.

In the second scenario, a blanket statement begs the question “what happened?” And thus a discussion will ensue. Blanket statements beg an explanation; they incite discussion or demand expansion. If I broadly say, “My generation of kids are pampered by tools for instant gratification” doesn’t that spark something more than “There are some people in the world who rely too much on their electronics for answers?” For the former answer, I’d be wondering, “Alright, who does this guy think he is? What else does he have to back this up?” Both of these introductions could be used to start an essay on electronic dependency but, to me, the first introduction does much more.

The outdoors is my love. I may broadly state “My generation is disconnected from the outdoors”, then go about justifying the statement that by all means can be insulting to some. The difference in sounding arrogant in ones argument is to explain why. Making blanket statements and assuming them as fact is arrogance sure, but presenting a foundation for your belief and allowing open dialogue, is that not debate in and of itself? Points, counterpoints, and discussion, a person cannot debate their position without passion and a touch of arrogance.

My wonder is, where is the line in the sand drawn between making assumptions and making a point, and further, being rude, and being passionate?

Facing Away From Fire

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Facing away from the fire is disorienting. My ears still hear snippets of subdued conversation and my back is warmed by the fire but everything presented before me is sitting in the inky darkness.

A flicker of light will barely illuminate something in the distance but only for a beat, then it’s gone, and I’m left standing for a moment staring only at possibilities in the distance. Such is the lives we lead.

Happy memories and days past will always carry the songs of long conversations and comfort from the “good old days”. I’ll never forget the friends who made me laugh so hard I cried or the friends that made my heart sing.

Like ashes on the wind will some pieces of past come to haunt me, alighting on my shoulder to whisper weakness in my ear. But the way forward, away from the light and the warmth is another story.

The cold is not ominous, but an unsure hesitation, the threat of making a mistake. Like staring into a tunnel with light at the end, we know that the way forward is safe yet that first step is still done with tension. Every time however we walk from the other side into light and whatever stage fright upon us is forgotten.

With our eyes, darkness is the shape of the unknown. With our mind, darkness is the path into future. With our eyes we see the light of present, with our mind we see the previously illuminated past.

My love for fires stems from the idea that, just like a spark that starts it, maybe looking into the flames long enough will spark a flame of thought in me. I always hope a natural cascade of thought provoking revelations will provide me with light to take to my future.  That is the solace I find sitting beside the real flames, those in the present and in my moment.

But once and awhile, I’ll turn away, and ruminate on the fires that illuminate my future. I guess what is disorienting to me is myself. Is the fire behind me sparking my thought? Or the fires that have yet to be set alight what keeps me up at night? Or, further still, is it the smell of smoke and broken ash that disorients my compass rose?

Go Out and See

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Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the rigors of everyday life and it gets to a breaking point where I might collapse from the weight on my shoulders. At any point in time where this occurs, I take a walk.
There’s a small patch of wooded forest near my house where I go to ease my burdens. It’s the quiet inspiration I find in the woods that I wish to show other people. Loving nature is so much more than being a “tree-hugger”. It’s getting down to the roots of who we are and the environment in which we used to live.
It’s the feeling of something pure and calm.
It’s the crunch of leaves and snapping twigs.
Tweeting birds and croaking frogs.
It’s the freedom and beauty you stumble upon.
It’s the thoughts and emotions that are released.
How does a person explain that a love for nature is inspired from being within it when a person has never been in it before?
Schools get rid of outdoor Ed and families go to Disney to see Mickey. They tell their children, “We’re a hotel family.”
A president removes endangered species acts and the media never bats an eye.
Polar bears drown in droves and a person says that they will just be able to see them at the zoo.
I want to show the world that we need the wild. That it’s beautiful yet sick and we need to help it.
But the world is looking in the opposite direction.
And I don’t know how to turn their heads.
This flower carries all the beauty of the outdoors.
But if nobody steps outside, how am I supposed to show them?