This year is going to be a great adventure—and a lot of fun if you plan to follow along.
My first book, Wilderness, The Gateway To The Soul, continues to be a big success. Thanks to you. Many have been asking if I intend to write more. The answer is an overwhelming YES. All my life I have been searching for a way to make wilderness my vocation. With you, that dream is possible. I do not intend to waste such an opportunity.
In March we will be hitting the road, venturing deeply into the world's first designated roadless area, New Mexico's Gila Wilderness. From there we will slowly crawl north, moving with the sun, through the blooming deserts of Arizona, and into the little-known canyons of southern Utah.
In the summer we will head up to the Northern Cascades of Washington, then into Montana and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and finally into the Wallowas of eastern Oregon. It's a rough plan. Subject to change. Like always we will trust our instincts, following our hearts into the unknown.
Just as before, there will be one purpose. To tell the Truth. To seek out the living, breathing soul of wilderness, listen to her sermon, and record her message with pen and notebook. I will try, to the best of my ability, to keep the message pure.
We must all speak up for wilderness. Or it will be gone.
Thanks for following along. Together we are stronger.
Off we shall go. Into the mystic.
Steaming coffee. Jazz music. Miles Davis' So What fills the room, mingled with soft conversation. Words. Ideas. Now that we're alive, what's next? We all fit in. Doing our parts. Perfecting our roles. Becoming masters of our trades. Cogs in the machine. All parts working and functioning perfectly.
Stay the task. Baker. Doctor. Electrician. Chef. The world is counting on you, please don't stumble, please don't fall. We need you! But at some point you will stumble, you will fall. And the eyes of the world will turn upon you. Produce or be replaced. The machine must continue at absolute efficiency. A broken cog will be replaced by a newer, stronger one.
I sip my coffee. Admiring the perfection and the complex machine that produced it. Everyone does their part, day after day, so that I can enjoy this coffee, this chair, this warm room, this jazz, the clothes I wear, the food I eat. I respect the process, and understand the importance of the machine, but I cannot resist the urge to jump off. The urge grows stronger every day.
But this is Anarchy. It's non-human. Anti-American! So why do it? Why the urge to jump? I cannot recommend the spiritual path, meditation, or anything that causes your mind to stop, step back, and look down upon the great machine. Or rather look up to it. Admire it's grand perfection. For it seems so impossible, so improbable, yet so mathematical. We all do our parts, day after day, year after year, and of our own free will.
THE GREAT MACHINE.
But if we step back to refocus, watching from a place of deep meditation, our world is changed forever. For how long can we continue playing our roles from this new perspective? The allure of the unknown will haunt our work days. What would it be like outside?
If we do jump off, could we ever return? Will they let us back in? Will we let ourselves back in? Or will we soar to unfathomable heights? Beyond our wildest imaginations. To that fairy-tale land beyond our dreams?
I want to fly like an eagle, to the sea. Fly like an eagle, let my spirit carry me. The Steve Miller Band grins through the sunshine of my mind on a kaleidoscopic joyride through this wonderland of cactus and red rock. This is living at the core of my being. Flowing. Caressing. Inhaling the very essence of the the desert. To be alive in this place of seductive beauty is like making love to God herself. Climaxing over and over until the orgasm becomes my new reality. This is when I truly begin to see.
The plants breathe, the trees dance, the raven speaks its truth, and we dance, dance, dance on two wheels, floating through space on six inches of air. The buzz of rubber vibrates against slickrock and we become one, the bike and me - the only way. Keep moving forward, eyes fixed on the trail. Not the cliff! Look where you want to go, never where you don't. The truths and realizations come at me a mile a minute, because a false move here could mean disaster. Any moment of hesitation resulting in flesh grinding against sandstone, bones crashing into rock, or worse.
DON'T THINK. RIDE!
I careen around the next bend a little too fast, into...
Six inches of suspension is a beautiful thing. The sticky rubber of my front tire clings like Velcro to the rock as I thread the needle, through a jumble of square edged boulders, down towards the trailhead below.
Back at the car I crack a Modelo, taking in a deep breath of the cleanest desert air I can ever remember breathing. I smile. It's been a good day.