You think you have to want more than you need, Until you have it all you won’t be free…thanks Eddie Vedder “Society” ..crazy indeed, hope your not lonely without me..society. It’s hard to come home sometimes but I like to be there when I can. To remain in a state of constant arrival you need to loosen up on the definition of home. The temptation to fall back into an old expectation haunts my return. How can a real man experience real change and still fit the world he left?
The hard path…
Thats where you meet the people you want to keep.
Mah-Too-Tay was his name….
A Pemon Indian porter from Caramata.
While climbing in the house of the devil in the place where an angel fell…
I discovered the richness of friendship among strangers once more.
Ayan Tepui in his language meant “the house of the devil”-
It was named that long before the American Jimmy Angel was plane wrecked on top in 1937 and hacked his way through the jungle in search of gold and a way out of his predicament. Ole Jimmy found a way- the only walkable path down the tepui’s 3,000 ft sheer cliff face. The mountains and waterfalls that covered the top of the tepui stretched on for 300 square miles. The tallest waterfall in the world is named after Jimmy. How he and his wife found their way down in 11 days is unexplainable. The jungle heap has no obvious trails and the paralyzing fog camouflages the steep gorges making it dangerous to wander about. When the cloudy darkness sets in; which could be any time of day or night. It seems everything about the place is against you. When the sun shines there is no place more beautiful. The valley is covered with boulders and jungle thickery. Time seems to have forgotten this place, I’ve never felt so small or alone. 15 days fighting gravity with our fingertips as we cling to rocks. It made every feeling deeper- the hunger, despair, laughter and victory. Everything was so overstimulating. Bonds were forged among brothers and once strangers were like family. It took 5 days to get here, the isolation was key to the recipe. It was part of the devil you had to face inside yourself.I learned up there it is as Shakespeare said…”Nothing is good nor bad- but thinking makes it so.” The difference in heaven and hell was our attitude: the hunger for discovery of self. We developed more than a world class climbing area… there was a purification. The hearts of men were moved upon to care for each other. In this place.. the Galapagos of the jungle… no man lasted long as an island. With lungs on fire I pushed up the mountain for 3 days. The hands of brothers racking my back for breathing room as the sun collected in solar systems of the goal nada. The downhill should be easy right? My knees didn’t think so, neither did the crew. It was dangerous. A well placed stick in the path could skewer a man who placed a mis step. The Pemone’s were nimble on the hard path. I wandered what danger looked like to them. They were tiny and powerful… and thankfully kind. I was struggling to not fall, my body in rebellion wanted to quit. Then Mah-too-tay said to me in his Ewok language that he would carry my pack too. He said his bag was big but light, he was lying. He took my bag the last 4 miles as the steep turned to savannah. I was so grateful and thought the whole way that I should help someone on their hard path. My eyes are open now. When we returned I tried to lift his bag, it was 45KG… thats 90 pounds. He was not much bigger. The hard path.
Tis a new year, in a fit of morbid excitement i planned my funeral and will. just a few plans so far….
Bury me in a wooden box
Save your flowers for the ladies
bring me instead the colors of life
paint my box with handprints.
I want to feel warmth of friends-
those who have touched my life.
Save your tears for those who need them,
I have lived enough for 100 men.
To the list of those whose name I’ve journaled
I’ve left to you a lofty sum
but spend it only as I say….
“There will always be debt and never be time
there will always be an excuse in your mind
No more I say, please not on my day.
Please spend this money my way.
Be reckless and wild, push your dreams to the limit
Patagonia or Paris love everything in it.
Rather than cry in a room full of friends,
instead think of me as your adventure begins.
The world is yours.”
I recently bought an old alarm clock, it must be wound up every 8 days and seems to keep accurate time so long as i transfer some energy to wind a turnkey. A funny noise began singing from the little clock and I asked myself how long it had been since I owned a clock that ticked? Seemed rather annoying to be near it the first day. Even this morning I herd it and thought… I don’t know why at first I thought this sound was genius, then annoying so I banished it to a room I don’t sleep in. It’s really quite telling- it tells time. For better or worse it drones on behind me as I make breakfast and I pondered these thoughts. We have silenced our clocks and watches. Its easier to get lost in the day without the ticking, time seems to get swallowed up in big gulps by activities that take too long and have no real importance. If this laptop of mine would tick i bet i’d spend less time on it. I suppose we have decided that time it’s ugly and we don’t want to hear it or acknowledge it. We expect our faces to remain timeless and obsess over youth. Our bodies break down gradually; some grown older faster because of disease. Others float on carelessly until they hear or see time as evidence of mortality. The tick of time of time can be painful until it is granted the ability to change you. When you don’t fight time you won’t waste it either. You will collect people and activities to spend your seconds that really matter. Some of us hear the ticking before others and begin to live with intention early on. Its not fear that drives time, if it is… your best moments will end too quickly and your worst nightmares will seem like forever. Our time should be filled as the Exquisite Bastard says “with intense achievement”. How can i invest my time? College for example seemed to gulp years of my life- to finish it was an achievement, but this war of attrition is not what I speak of. There is little difference here than the man who tolerates his job only to get a paycheck on friday. Its not intense achievement to merely survive till friday so you can afford to put beer on the table. Finding joy in the journey is the only logical way I consider the destination worth it. For the Christian whose life was hell in pursuit of heaven; i’d say you missed your mark. We must make ourselves happy, not wait to be acted upon by something else or some impending future reward. To the sceptic who could find nothing beautiful because nothing was perfect. Know that time will scoff at perfection. The body you complain about might not be perfect; but just think how different time will pass if you instead remind yourself that you will never be more beautiful than you are today. We must push and pull ourselves as this tiny clock does, measuring each moment by the ecstasy we were able to pry from idleness. Our movement and breaths are counted and should be treasured. We should spend them wisely and with gratitude share our time with those that matter. It’s not fear that drives us… it’s gratitude. tick..tick..tickkk