In my back yard, a spring emerges from the ground. It’s a gradual, gentle seeping forth. Seemingly, there are few influences to this water. But, I took a photo of the water right below the point of origin and apparently there are subtle changes……the rise and fall of the water level.
Archive Page 2
“Let us not paralyze ourselves for good, by brooding on man’s capacity for evil.” David Sarnoff
The mind, the power of the mind. A short bit of history, if you would…my father was a hillbilly boy from the holler near Panther, West Virginia. He was one of 11 children and for all intents out the door at 12 years of age working on the edges of saw mills and coal mines. In a few years he was off to war. To say he came from a harsh, sometimes violent, world is putting it mildly. He was quiet, he was fearless. He never graduated from 4th grade. He was self-taught, spiritual, philosophical and despite himself often a leader because of his dependable work ethic. He struggled with regrets, alcohol and an inability to show love.
Some where my father discovered The Science of Mind Magazine. A rag of a paperback magazine in the 1950’s. It had an impact on my father and he in turn was hell-bent on planting a seed in me: you have the power of your mind. You can change you, you can heal yourself, you can endure anything. As a boy of 12 or so, all I was hearing were the guys outside playing the sport of the season. I wanted to escape, but that was not the drill.
For a good few years, dinner would be finished and then I would sit upon a chair near my father. He would select a portion of his Science of Mind magazine and hand it to me. I had to read aloud the passage and then explain what it meant. Daunting. Reading aloud. Comprehending what I read.
In retrospect, he was being an amazing teacher and showing love and guidance his way. Out of the resentment I felt, grew those seeds of empowerment. This new age spiritual self awareness stuff that my wise, hillbilly father saw as worth more than sitting on a pew and taking guidance from someone else took hold. To him it was you & God. No church. A bit of the bible, your power of positive thinking and off toward the struggles of life.
How wise my father was. And, as usual, we don’t see that in the moment, but only later as life unfolds, unravels, boils over and we ultimately are faced with that core truth…it is up to you. Not once do I recall my father saying he loved me at any point in our lives. I only said those words to him as he took his final breaths, in his truly final moments of life. ‘I love you dad.” I stroked his grey hair as he chugged out his final breath.
Obviously this was my father’s way of saying ‘I love you.’ Those brooding clouds will come, how you handle the storms is, at least in part, up to you.
Every year, I have highlighted this admonition, usually for my fly fishing brethren that trek in to be alone while fishing. Be prepared. And part of that is pre-planning and also worst case scenario planning regardless of how competent you are. I am attaching a couple pieces here: one at Traditional Mountaineering and the other re The Spot, a GPS Messenger doodad.
The Traditional Mountaineering post details the 4 personal responsibilities of a backcountry traveler. Note, it is relevent to all backcountry travelers not just mountaineers. These are culled from the State of Oregon Search and Rescue (SAR) protocols and are worth reading about your responsibilities and ‘liabilities’. Although this references Oregon law, I imagine it is similar in many parts of the country/if not also abroad.
4 Personal Responsibilities of a Backcountry Traveler
1. Tell a Reliable Person where you are going, what you are going to do and when you planned to return. Search and Rescue personnel will want to know where you planned to park your vehicle, its description and license number, what gear you have, the names, cell phone numbers and provider information and experience level of your companions. Of course, you must agree that you will call the Reliable Person when you return to the trail head. Also, this encourages your thoughtful setting of a “turn-around” time for your adventure.
The Reliable Person must accept the responsibility for calling the local County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue through 911 with the above information if you do not check in by an agreed-upon time. Your life may depend on a timely call to 911. Experience tells us that the Reliable Person may not understand the importance of this responsibility.
2. The Second Responsibility of each individual backcountry traveler or climber is to be prepared with a light weight daypack and enough extra clothing, water, food and selected gear to survive an emergency stop of several hours or overnight. These Essentials are seasonal and specific trip related and should focus on keeping you warm and dry, hydrated, eating simple carbohydrates, and able to stay in one place. If you become lost, signal your location, perhaps with colored tape or an ordinary bike flasher and/or with a reflective, water and wind proof plastic 9 ounce “SOL Emergency Bivy” sac, and exercise your large muscles at your marked position to generate warmth. Do not try to find your way -becoming exhausted, cold or dangerously wet. Wait at your marked location for rescuers.
3. The Third Responsibility is to have a detailed topo map of the area, a declination-corrected base-plate compass . Experience tells us that you cannot get by with a cell phone “GPS” (no matter how smart) or a hand held GPS radio receiver alone – you need a paper topo map and a declination-adjusted base- plate compass, and the simple skills to use them together!
4. The Fourth Responsibility is: Carry your common digital cell phone and periodically turn it on to learn where you can contact nearby cell towers. Insure that you have the personal option to call for medical or rescue services.
This last point re communication touches upon how to reach out and this is where The Spot comes in to assist searchers to rescue you and not waste time searching.
Hiking, photography, fishing, climbing, camping, rafting, mushroom hunting….plan and take responsibility. All the ‘you could be charged’ warnings aside….just out of self respect and respect for the rescuer’s safety too, think about the basics and plan. Being near your car is not enough. A bad fall, heart attack, etc. will probably cut you off from the shelter of your car.
As an avid fly fisher, with a good deal of time spent on lakes, I have come to appreciate the Dragonfly. I know I attach some pseudo-spirituality, mysticism, good luck karma to them. I don’t get any of this with Damsels, Caddis, Mayflies, Midges in such, that I encounter on stillwaters. No, the Dragonfly, the friendly winged creature lands about me, dances on my fly rod, mates on my oars and generally smiles upon me with good luck. Here’s to you Dragonflies.
Even this past May, when I was nowhere near water and sitting contemplating the morning light and a hard task that was before me…along came a Dragonfly to wish me well…ok, maybe I am reading too much into these delicate creations. Butterflies come close, of course, but Dragonflies rule, for me.
Oh I know, “Is he for real? What about is own self-empowerment? He’s leveraging his fate, his life’s direction on an insect that at best only lives a couple of months!” Hey, just hedging my bets, just in case.