I grew up playing on cliffs similar to the one in the feature image above. (Sorry mom, I know you didn’t want me to. ). In those days I could free climb fairly well and would spend all day sitting on the edge and watching animals play in the valley below. Later in my late teens I went on my first organized mounteering exercise with the JROTC. When mom asked if I would jump off of a cliff because my friends did apparently the answer was yes. We spent all day repelling to the bottom and then climbing back up to do it again. On one trip back to the top my friend, Bobby, stopped to catch his breath and said “Down is easy but up is hard.” That little bit of profound observation has stuck with me for my entire life and the reason why is because of what he said next. “I have to keep climbing because home is on the other side of this mountain.”
Anything can become that steep mountain in our lives. And, it’s easy to give up halfway through a difficult journey. But the journey isn’t over until you have made it home again. It’s also okay to stop and catch your breath but don’t make your home there because there’s so much waiting for you at the top. Dig in deep within yourself and find that strength that I know you possess. Find handholds and footholds wherever you can and just keep going. Mountains are climbed one foot or even one inch at a time.
Tonight’s image was taken in Summerville Lake when it’s at winter pool. The cliff overhang is just a few feet off the surface of the water for most of year.
Do you ever wonder where all the great thinkers are today? The inventors, philosophers and problem solvers? Who are the real world leaders? I think I have an answer. They are you. You are the greatest resource on planet Earth. You, the individual. The human mind is the only known creation on planet Earth with the ability to reason beyond the moment. You have the capacity to dream and to forge that dream into a reality. Sure some are more skilled at different forms of creativity than others but that’s a measure of quality not capacity. As a human, you are singularly able to change your world to suit your vision. That’s why quite time is so important. You generate your visions in those times when you can get away from the noise of all the other voices in the world and have free thought. It’s how you sweep away the clutter of the mind and bring dreams into focus to obtain that clear vision.
The featured image is one such place where I like to go. It’s a spot on the Gauley River just below Summersville Dam. As the water pours out of overflow tunnels it forms class six rapids and the roaring river blocks out the noisy world. This is birthplace of many dreams and a refuge for a busy mind.
I learn a lot from watching nature. Take geese for example. They have no complex language (as far as well know) and yet they seem to have the ability to maintain social cohesion. Maybe not as perfectly as some other birds but they do seem to function as a single unit. What’s more is that they seem to take turns at being the leader with relatively little conflict. If you watch closely as that V formation flies over or swims by they shift position with the leader creating a wake for the rest of flock to cruise in. I know the science of how it helps them to travel farther but it amazes me how there’s cooperation. I think that the secret is that each bird knows that their own well being is dependent on the well being of the flock. In turn, the well being of the flock depends on the well being of the individual. If the flock loses a member that means that the unit can’t travel as efficiently during migration. I think it’s the interdependency between leadership and followers that maintains the balance. That’s a lesson we should all learn.