Friday, March 28, 2014

Solo Explorations

For the last decade I have been reading a quote to students as they start their time of solo contemplation on course.
The reading comes from the book “A Gift From The Sea”, by Anne Morrow Lindberg. I keep returning to the book because it speaks to 14 year olds and to 35 year olds, and I see that there is much more into to discover in it as I get older.

"We must re-learn to be alone. It is a difficult lesson to learn today–to leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week. For me, the break is difficult. Parting is inevitably painful, even for a short time. It is like an amputation, I feel. A limb is being torn off, without which I will be unable to function. And yet, once it is done, I find I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before."

I left from the friendly arms of Moab, finally tearing myself away from the security of town at 2pm, just in time for a hellacious windstorm.  The first night was how I imagine camping in the Sahara to be. My eyes were swollen from the sand, my shoes were packed with it numbing my toes and my chain sounded like a coffee grinder. During the multiple attempts to get the tent set up I gave myself a strong talking to about being a professional outdoor instructor.

The first section took me up Kane Creek and over Hurrah Pass. From there I found the entrance to Lockhart Basin, a pretty burly road with a lot of pushing and lugging of the bike through the rock steps. I took the cross-check, as I needed the panniers for the water carrying. It did great, a little more braking power would have been welcome, but it is a trusty little pony.

Sandy camp, sandy everything. 

Anne also said “Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.” I think that this is true for us all, but perhaps there are less opportunities, more fear for women. For me solo trips seem bigger, more intimidating; I feel smaller, more vulnerable, more alone. I also felt like an adventurer from the colonial days, but without camels and natives.

The road into Lockhart Basin. I finished at the famous Indian Creek Climbing Area.

And a last piece of the "Gifts" wisdom:  

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return.

We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.”

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