A Spark of Observation


Wind River Range, WY Part 4.

A hummingbird buzzes around my camp.  Inspecting my red water bag.  It’s morning, and brilliant sunshine blankets my camp.  The sky is that perfect shade of blue.  Just a slight breeze keeps the bugs away.  Many birds wade in the shallow stream next to my camp.  These granite fortresses, although impressive yesterday, are much more beautiful today as they sparkle with morning sunshine.  After a night of freezing temperatures, the air is warm and crisp.  I’m filled with excitement as I enjoy my hot cereal and green tea.  A new valley will be explored today.  Complete with lakes, one almost 2 miles long, streams, marshes, ponds, and of course the rock spires that are so prevalent in the Wind Rivers.  All cloaked in dazzling sunshine.

How lucky am I?  This is my life!  Free to wander among God’s most enchanting creations.  How lucky are we?  To have Wilderness!  Free of charge to anyone and everyone who is willing to walk 15 miles with a backpack.  Nothing compares to this beauty.  Not even the grandest of churches, cathedrals, monuments, city scapes, resorts, or amusement parks can attempt to compete with the heartbreaking beauty of this place.  Yet there is no one here.  Not another human soul on the other side of this divide.  A sparkling Garden of Eden awaits those who are willing to walk.

Last night, or rather early this morning, at approximately 5:30 am, I was awakened to the sound of thunder.  Or at least I thought.  The first loud crack announced that it was close by.  But the sound lasted much too long.  Possibly 30 seconds of rolling thunder.  And then a minute later, that same long drawn out cracking sound again.  A rumbling explosion.  When I got out of my tent to investigate, I saw nothing but the deep purplish-blue of pre-dawn sky.  It was then I noticed what had happened.  In a huge rock basin just to the north of my camp, a large cloud of granite dust was rising.  An impressively large rock slide had just occurred.  Amazing that this could make such a sound!  I’ve heard rock slides before, but not anywhere near this magnitude!  Just another reminder that these mountains, like the clouds above, are in constant movement.  Constantly changing shape.  Being pushed up and then weathered down.  Always in motion.  A sinuous flow.

I’m reminded that I myself am here for a mere instant.  A spark of observation.  The flash of a camera lens.  And what a miracle to capture such beauty and perfection in a single flash!  To witness the Earth in its most pristine state.  At this exact 40 year moment!  There is peace in the stillness of an instant.  It’s as if I’ve taken a snapshot of a crashing ocean wave and then walked into the photo, now having ample time to explore its smooth edges and crystal blue water.  Suspended in time.  The wave will crash.  The wave will become the ocean once again, but for NOW!

With this kind of rare opportunity, to be alive at this particular instant, how can we possibly not go and see all there is to see on this Earth?  Every beach.  Every desert.  How can we not snorkel every coral reef?  Mountain bike every trail.  Surf every break.  Sail every sea.  Climb every rock face.  Run every river.  Paddle every lake?  There is so much to see!  We have been given the gift of this stupendous instant!  We are the miracle!  This is it.  The moment we’ve all been waiting for.  TA DA!!!!

Now go.  Leave your cubicles.  Your private offices.  Your steady paycheck.  Your “benefits” plan.  I just can’t see the benefit of sitting inside a climate controlled building, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.  Just so we can go home to our 2nd climate controlled box.  Once again sealed off from the “real world”.  The real world is outside.  Away from our manmade boxes.  Away from our concrete cities.  It’s out there.  Existing only for you.  You always have a choice.  You can remain part of the machine, or you can walk away.  Into the great mystery of life.  And find your treasure.


Some notes on writing. . .

Writing.  It does require some technical skill.  Words.  Vocabulary.  Spelling.  But it’s a completely open platform.  It can start as a structured piece.  And then abort the structure, exploring boundless territory.  Cosmic places can be reached and explored.  Crescendos can be made.  Explosions of inspiration and improvisation can be attained.  And then the whole thing can be brought back full circle to that intricate place of pristine, tender beauty, sparkling like dew on the pedals of a flower.  Where the heart is touched in the most delicate of places, bringing goosebumps to the skin and a tear to the eye. Words on a page.  Empathy.  Telepathy.  Conveyance of feeling.  Emotion.  A unique perspective of the world.  Not a photo, or a painting, but an interpretation.  The image of a heart wide open.  Completely vulnerable for all to see.  It can inspire change.  It can lift you up.  It can remind you who you are.  Why you are here.  And what you must do.  It can inspire you to dream.

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If you’d like to follow me on the rest of this amazing and spiritual journey, please SUBSCRIBE to my blog.  You can easily do so in the upper right hand corner of this page.  The plan is to post one entry onto the blog each week from the trip.  Any feedback or comments would really be appreciated.  Also if you could let me know which posts are best for submitting as editorials too.  Enjoy the ride!

~Scott Stillman


A Spark of Observation — 5 Comments

  1. Nature is truth. :) Thanks for your thoughts & reminder, Scott. I’m heading out again myself at the end of this month to watch the aspen in all their glory!

  2. Wow! Thank you so much for writing so beautifully about the wilderness experience. As I was reading I felt like I was there seeing, smelling, sensing what you were. And it nourished me. I am at a crossroads in my life and this is so nurturing to that part of me that feels like it was tamed. You are inspiring me to open into the wild again. Thank you.

  3. There is nothing like the Church of Mother Nature. She can remind us of where we came from and who we are at our core. When we shed the distractions of modern life, we often find the clarity we seek. Thanks for reading and commenting Carolina.

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