Thoughts From The Wilderness – Slippery Slopes of Living

Although written just about a year ago, the message is still the same, and yes, still relevent. We can often find ourselves teetering on the top of some precarious slope in life, and wondering a couple of things. How did I get here? What should I do now? What are the consequences if I simply plunge forward?

Without stating the obvious, that is one ice-covered slick and smooth slope!

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Back in the winter Lynn and I were out hiking and photographing Hatchery Falls in north Muskoka. When out there, I came across this long ice wall on a cliff face at the top of the small valley the Skeleton River flows through.

Although not overly high or impressive we both found it neat and each of us was more than willing to hike, slip and at times crawl on our hands and knees to check it out.

The thing that was most intriguing and the thing that was calling us to explore more was this opening near the top of the ice wall.  12

In the first picture, that enticing call of adventure presented by the ice cave opening is just behind a few branches in the upper third of the photo. Although the picture doesn’t portray the scale very well, I’m 6′ 2″ and if I laid on the slope of the ice wall and my arms stretched out, I would just be able to tuck my hands into the edge of the cave opening.

Although we both wanted to have a peek inside the cave, it just wasn’t going to happen that day. Melting ice and snow from above had the ice wall slicker than one can possibly imagine. One wrong move and it would have been a quick slippery trip down to the bottom.

Sometimes, in life, we can find ourselves at the top of an icy slope or worse be hurtling down one wildly out of control with certain disaster awaiting us when we finally crash in a tangled mess at the bottom.

slopelogo
Source: Google Images

How often have we been perched seemingly at a juncture in our lives, peering down what we know will likely result in chaos and carnage in our life and in the lives of those around us, yet we still go ahead and take a step?

At those times, when teetering at the top and deciding what to do, we’re usually presented with a couple of choices.

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Source: Google Images

Or, the alternative. Taking a step and then seeing what happens next.

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Source: Google Images

In my mind, the apex of the slippery slope we encounter or worse create ourselves are the choices made at that critical point and the time leading up to that.

Much like standing at the top of a triple black diamond ski run in the mountains and the drooling about the good times of the apres-skiing drinks and fun at the bottom, we give no thought at all about what lies in front of us.

All we’re thinking is “good times ahead – get to the bottom and pop the cap off” that first frosty cold one. The problem here is I didn’t mention is this is our first-day skiing…..ever. Perhaps at some earlier point, we should have made some better choices for that last run. Now, we have just a couple of options available.

Brit-Stevens-Pass-Feb-14-041
Source: Google Images

Ideally, we need to take a step back; re-evaluate how to get down to the bottom of the run alive. Secondly, we can push off the top and start down a black-diamond run we have no place to be on and hope that our life insurance has been paid up.

We stand at the top and see something or imagine we see something and without thinking about the consequences we take that one tiny inconsequential step that starts to propel us down a slippery slope of destruction.

Life is full of choices. Once we take a step and head down a slope we shouldn’t be on, Newton’s First Law of Physics takes quickly over – “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

Once we start careening down a slope where we have no place to be, it’s hard, maybe impossible to stop.

Life certainly isn’t without challenges. All of us would be naive to assume we will never find ourselves teetering at the edge of a slope destined for a result that we thought would never occur or taking the step and praying that the odds are in our favour for once.

I often wonder if at that point it isn’t already too late? That perhaps the inevitable is going to occur anyway.

Yup, life is full of challenges. Some present themselves un-expectantly and without any doing on our part, while others evolve entirely from our own choices.

I guess the question becomes, can we keep ourselves from even getting to the edge of a spot we really shouldn’t be in the first place and if we do, what decisions do we finally make once we’re there?

On the other hand, are we wired as human beings to seek out “looks like good times ahead – get to the bottom and pop the cap off that first frosty cold one.”

Perhaps we just can’t help ourselves? Not sure.

Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – 360 Degrees of Change

360 degrees of change.

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Often as we bump and grind along in life, new and exciting opportunities will from time to time seemingly and magically present themselves out of nowhere. Or we may on the other hand, diligently pursue a new direction or change(s) in our life.

These new paths, whether it be a big change or a minor one always require us to deviate from the current heading we may be on.

Change always requires a course correction.

Nevertheless, whether big or small, minor or major, we all have the opportunity for 360 degrees of change in front of us.

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This should come as no surprise, but change can be difficult and often seems insurmountable by many. Within my circle of influence, there aren’t many who run towards change with reckless abandon.

We tend to accept change reluctantly when forced upon us. And take ourselves to the brink of mental collapse when taking on change of our own accord.

Perhaps the last bit about mental collapse isn’t fair. Nevertheless, implementing change in our lives does tend to put us on edge.

All change, however, doesn’t have to be earth-shattering and momentous in scope.

Change in your life of that magnitude may certainly be necessary. Your journey may be going in one direction and within a split second whether of your own accord or through circumstances, life, as you know and have experienced, is changed and altered 180 degrees.

But putting aside changes in direction that we have no control over such as serious illness, or the passing of a spouse or loved one, what about when changes WE decide to implement in our lives.

360 Degrees of Change

This morning you woke up and decided to change something in your life. Not your socks or underwear, although those are wonderful changes, especially to those around you, but a real change in your life.

So, the question might be – how big of a change are you making or contemplating?

For the sake of this illustration, if we assume that the direction we’re currently on is zero degrees, deciding to move your life in a direction change of 45 degrees seems pretty major. A course correction in our life of 90 degrees is like heading north, then changing directions and heading east. A much bigger change, usually fraught with more challenges and issues.

Moving 180 degrees is akin to dramatically altering your life and going in completely an opposite direction. Need I say more?

Big changes at times require much resolve to make them. Major changes have fear, the unknown, the expectations of others and a whole host of other items churning around in some cauldron and thus forming the recipe of the change.

Which is why for many people, although not all,  major changes or the contemplating of making these changes in and of their own violation, chase people back to continue along the same path they were trudging along before.

But, remember we all have 360 degrees of change to choose from!

And……..

one degree

Often it is the smallest things that have the biggest impact.

Ever had the tiniest pebble inside your running shoe? Try walking four kilometres with that little devil pushing into the ball of your foot.

Little thing – big impact.

A one-degree change of something in our life can have a huge significance. It may not seem like when we decide to implement it, but over time it could be big. Real big!

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I’m going to change my life.

You’re going to change your life.

If I utter those words or if an acquaintance spews them forth, my mind heads off along the path of major life changes.

But, notwithstanding, any of this. In reality, how often do we think about and even undertake major life changes?

Is it often, or perhaps not often at all. Might it be seven times during our life?

Difficult to say I guess because we’re all different and “major changes” is a bit of a relative term. It will have a completely different meaning and energy attached to it for each of us.

However, what might a one-degree change look like?

I don’t know how much a coffee or slightly more expensive drink at a coffee bar might be.

But let’s say whatever you have cost $5 and each day on the way to work you stop and get one. Assuming you work five days a week, you spend $25 per week on coffee or whatever it suits your fancy. If you cut down to only stopping four times a week, you’d save $5 per week.

That first week, you saved five bucks. Big deal!! That’s a one-degree change, but only for one week.

After 52 weeks, that’s $260.

A one-degree change in our life over time can make a huge difference.

Every decision, every change in the direction that our lives are headed don’t necessarily have to be earth-quake shattering direction changers.

Even a slight change can take us to a new and exciting destination.

We all have 360 degrees of change before us.

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Whatever direction we may be headed, could require us to use scores of those degrees.

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, it may only require one-degree of change to get us to where we need to be.

one degree

You’re the only person who knows how many degrees to use.

You’ve got 360 of them.

 

Remember…

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why I Ventured Into Poetry(or have I lost my mind?)

One alternative working title for this piece, was “Have I Completely Lost My Mind?” Another one, which I think in hindsight is far better was “How Poetry and Insanity Collided and The Resulting Train Wreck.”

Notwithstanding, the choice of title, the question still remains, “why venture into poetry?”

Over my many decades roaming the Earth, I’ve evolved into a state of bliss in my waning years of “you’ve done the difficult routes….now choose an easy route now.”

A good approach, that I find for the most part is serving me quite well.

So, not having read or wrote poetry since some time I’m sure in grade 9 or 10, heading down the “poetry rabbit hole” doesn’t seem to fit at all in my “relative state of blissful existence.” In fact, it appears to be a huge contradiction to my normal way of skipping along.

As many would agree, writing in any form can be a challenge at best. Adding poetry into the mix for someone who doesn’t know squat about poetry makes no sense at all.

The reality is though, as “blissful as I think this existence” might be, we all need to “spice things up” every once and a while. Perhaps not so much as “spice things up”, but a challenge in some area of life to push the edges of the envelope out just a little further than they were the day before.

One thing that I’ve come to observe and certainly is a mantra of mine is that, we are never just in neutral. We are either pushing forward in life through searching out and accepting new challenges and experiences or we are moving backwards.

So, challenge accepted.

With a few ideas in mind, I simply started hitting the keys on the computer and didn’t stop until I had something out that expressed what I wanted to say.

Do I have a style? – no, not really.

I write until it’s done.

Most, if not all of my writing swells up from within my soul and can be very heavily emotionally and experience-based. Poetry for me is exactly the same way.

I that at least at this stage of the process, I find I need to be in the “right frame of mind” to begin crafting a poem. Trying to force a poem out, when my mind and emotions aren’t in the right spot for the most part results in an exercise in futility.

Poetry is the hardest style of writing I’ve ever done, but at the same time, it has been some of the most rewarding.

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It forces me to go deep within myself and examine subjects and emotions which often are found in dark and forgotten recesses of my soul. But, that’s all right. All of those emotions and experiences need to get out into the light. Writing and expressing myself through poetry for me is a tiny light that shines through in my darkness.

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A tiny light shining in the darkest of places can make a world of difference.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Watch Your Step

Much as this sign points out potential danger to users long a boardwalk on a trail in Algonquin Park.

The same principle can be applied to life.

step

Often, we just simply need to watch our step.

Whether we go through life gazing upwards or with a perpetual downward stare or perhaps a continual glancing off to the side, we just need to be aware to “watch our step.”

The sidewalk of life can be filled with scores of fun, exciting and thrilling challenges as we stroll along on our merry way.

Every so often though, a crack can appear, resulting in the sidewalk being uneven, with the potential to ultimately trip us up and cause us to stumble.

Although there is no need to be fearful as we walk along through life, we just need to be aware and watch our step from time to time.

Nothing worse than tripping on the sidewalk of life; getting a “skinned knee”; and looking up to see the world or at least the world within your circle of influence has witnessed the whole dire episode.

Hopefully, someone will rush over and give some antiseptic, a bandage and a hug.

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Source: Google Images

If not, pull yourself up; dust yourself off and keep moving as if nothing happened.

Nothing to see here, folks!

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

A Morning Kayaking(Bucket List) – Prince Edward Island

Okay, it’s December 23 and given the busyness of the holiday season, Lynn and I haven’t been able to get out on much of any adventures. Nevertheless, on this early morning with the temperatures feeling like -10 degrees C, though I might update and re-post our morning kayaking off the coast of Prince Edward Island, back in 2017.

We’ve always been huge advocates of “stepping out” to try something new and exciting when it comes to outdoor adventures. Whether it be “tree-top trekking”; or hiking an “ice-canyon” at night; to “snow-shoeing” in the mountains. Thus, trying something new or an endeavour that may be slightly out of our comfort zone has always appealed to us.

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Honestly, I think it’s a necessary thing(at least for us) in terms of living our day-to-day existence here on Earth, to step out and try something that may be outside of our comfort zone. Out time here can be so short so why not enjoy life and new experiences.

Everybody is different, I get that; ………but I know far too many people whose lives kind of run along this very narrow set of tracks and they just aren’t willing or maybe even able to take a chance and step off the track for even a brief “detour” to see and experience something new.

I guess that’s a discussion for another time. I’m not sure if it’s because people get too comfortable where they are? Or maybe not willing to take a chance and try something new because of the fear of failure? Perhaps it’s what will others think? My guess is it is more than likely a combination of all of this, plus a host of other reasons as well.

Most of our time in the past 30 years(or there about) that has spent on water has been canoe tripping. Whether it has been multi-day backcountry trips or simply days trips along the Highway 60 corridor in Algonquin Park………………all of it has been in a canoe.

So, when planning our trip to Prince Edward Island, we thought that going sea-kayaking would be a super adventure; something we had never done and for Lynn an adventure that had the potential to be way out of her comfort zone.

I’ve always expressed an interest in at least giving kayaking a try to see if I would enjoy it, but Lynn has an aversion to being in tight cramped spaces, so the idea for her in sitting in the cockpit of a kayak out in the ocean was not appealing at all.

Nevertheless, we decided or perhaps I convinced Lynn that at least we could give it a try.

Kayaking is a huge recreational pursuit on the Island, with a score of companies that offer short outings to day-long tours scattered throughout the whole Island

Seeing as it was mid-June when we were going, many of the kayak outfitting businesses weren’t open yet for the tourist season. After searching a bit, we discovered “By-The-Sea-Kayaking” located in the quaint village of Victoria, located between Charlottetown and the Confederation Bridge.

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Banner
Source: By-The-Sea-Kayaking Adventures
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Source: By-The-Sea-Kayaking Adventures

The outfitting company is owned by an older fella by the name of Paul.

I spent a bit of time chatting with Paul about life, following your dreams and what brought him to PEI. Like many people, Paul at some point in the distant past visited the Island and fell in love with it and decided to stay.

He loved to kayak and felt that “why couldn’t visitors to the Island have the same type of experience he has kayaking, if only for a short period of time.” Thus the company was born……buying a couple of used kayaks and started offering tours one summer.

The business grew from there.

Now, he’ll employ 3 or 4 experienced kayak instructors during the summer tourist season and that he’s crazy busy from sunrise(Sunrise Tours) to sunset(Sunset Tours) and the all hours in-between seven days a week.

Like many people, Paul explained that he does what he does because kayaking is in his blood ……..in his DNA……… something he loves and basically……….it’s his way of life.

During the off-season, he said he might go out west to work as a cook in a resort hotel, or at other times he stays on the Island and picks up work on a lobster boat, as well as any odd jobs along the way to help pay the bills during the off-season.

He mentioned he lives in an old farmhouse just outside of the village and spends “way too much money on buying kayaks and SUP’s.”

As the busy season hadn’t arrived yet(it would in less than a week), Paul had one person assisting him on the water.

As we’ve travelled over the years, we understand that in many resort or significant tourist destination areas, students arrive from all over Canada and the world for that matter working for a number reasons including:………… getting job experience; to live an adventure for a period time; perhaps a co-op job placement; or just to make some cash for the next school year.

Melissa was just one of those students. A super gal, getting her degree in “Outdoor Education and Adventure Travel.” Me being who I am, just assumed she was from the Island or maybe say from “out of province.”

I asked her, “so…….how did you end up in Victoria, PEI.”

I would never have ever guessed her response. “Well………..I’m from Arizona, but I’m going to university in Florida, and my boyfriend’s family own the Island Chocolate Factory here in the village. Just worked out that I could gain experience here.”

With Melissa leading us, our adventure was to take us out into the Northumberland Strait kayaking eastward to a point of land that Paul had seen some seals hanging about.

A return distance of maybe 7 to 8 kilometres.

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The trip out would be at low tide providing several opportunities to stop for a break and a well-prepared snack on some exposed sandbars.

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On our return, ………..lucky us …………..the breeze would be at our backs, making the trip back a bit quicker and easier paddling.

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A few pictures from the trip……….

Our tandem kayak………….

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Melissa……..

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Low tide and sandbar rest break……..

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Heading back to shore…….

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All in all, it was a great morning spent on the water. Paul and Melissa gave us the opportunity to do something that we had really wanted to try and experience. We felt safe at all times and they didn’t push us past doing anything or going further that we felt uncomfortable with.

And……………….no……………..the seals or any other sea-creatures and/or wildlife decided not to cooperate and make an appearance.

I could see both of us easily getting into kayak touring in the future. Despite Lynn’s apprehension at the beginning of feeling over-confined in the cockpit of the kayak………..she really enjoyed herself.

In fact, she mentioned that the cockpit had far more room than she anticipated and never at once felt confined or claustrophobic even when wearing the spray skirt.

I felt much more in tune with the water being in a kayak. Even though I kneel in a canoe with my butt resting on the front edge of the seat, I found sitting low in the kayak a much different experience and one I enjoyed immensely.

One last memory with Melissa

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Nope……….never would have guessed, not even in a million years………….. Arizona ………………. Florida…………….. Prince Edward Island.

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Stating The Obvious – Necessary?

I originally posted this back in August after we returned from the east coast of Canada. I re-read it in the past few days and added a couple of thoughts that sprang to mind.

Sitting here I’m wondering if a more appropriate title might be along the lines of “Thoughts From The Wilderness – Saving Us From Ourselves”

I don’t obsess overmuch I think. In fact, I’m not really sure I obsess over anything in particular. Certainly, not an obsession that has a negative attachment to it. But, on the other hand, obsessing over not obsessing over anything is likely an obsession in itself.

Nevertheless, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had this obsession with the phrase “stating the obvious”

I have the habit at times, as you may have of “stating the obvious.” One phrase I’ve used throughout the summer, given the fire bans that were in place throughout much of central and northern Ontario at that time was, “We could use some rain, it’s pretty dry.”

Brilliant deduction there Sherlock!

As I said, this “stating the obvious” concept has been rumbling around in my mind for the past week or so and has been leading me down the trail of “is stating the obvious” a good or bad thing? Perhaps it’s just a thing that’s more neutral as compared to being good or bad?

Or have we graduated to a state where much needs to be posted for liability issues given that many people can’t see danger when it is simply right in front of them?

This sign attached to a rock at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia certainly caught my attention when we visited there in June of this year.

sign

In my mind the question here is, why state the obvious when it should be obvious to everyone?

For those of you who have never been, Peggy’s Cove is a historic small fishing harbour located south of Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. Although it started out as a fishing village and there is still an active lobster fishery, Peggy’s Cove has now become a major tourist destination for the east coast of Canada.

Tourists flock there mainly for the views of the Atlantic Ocean from the rocks at the water’s edge and the historic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.

There has been a fair amount written in tourist publications and online about staying off “the black rocks” and as well, there are numerous signs at Peggy’s Cove stating:

danger

All of this seems pretty obvious to me – there is danger here, so be aware.

So, back to the task at hand.

I read that what is obvious to some people may not be obvious to others. Is this obvious to you? Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t.

Reading articles of whether “stating the obvious” is a good or bad thing, presented views at either end of the spectrum, as well as in the middle of the road.

“State the obvious – it’s a good thing.”

Only a fool “states the obvious.”

And finally, “does it really matter?”

“Stating the obvious” is all of these things. Perhaps one of the keys though is “what are we stating the obvious about?” If using Peggy’s Cove example, “stating the obvious” could mean the difference between life and death.

Check this CTV news article out from 2015.

Here’s a Twitter account you might want to check out too. The intentions were good, they needed some help in delivery though.

Over the years, Lynn and I have observed an increase in the number of signs posted, warnings written on permits and as well as media articles regarding safety for those heading into the great outdoors.

“Hazards Exist – You are responsible for your own safety”

3Is “stating the obvious” a non-issue? Apparently not.

Makes me think we’re heading down the road, at least in terms of pursuits in the outdoors of “needing to protect people from themselves.” And realistically, we’re already well down that road.

Nevertheless, here are a couple of things to think about when “stating the obvious.”

Repeat When Necessary

Not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but in Canada, we still mess up. We’ve violated in the past and continue at times to violate people’s Charter Rights; people still have challenges following our most basic laws; people continue to start walking across the intersection even when the “Don’t Walk” sign is showing.

Being reminded is important and necessary – why?

  • we forget
  • often it can take several times before we understand
  • we need reminders to put ideas into practice

It can take a number of cracks at it before we grasp something. Even when we know it, we can forget to follow what we learned.

Obvious to some; may not be obvious to others

  • just because it’s obvious to you, doesn’t equate into being obvious for all
  • people are wired differently, we see things differently
  • what we see as important, others may not see or be at a point to see it as important.

One last consideration is by not “stating the obvious” does that keep us from saying the things that actually might need to be said?  Could there be a stigma attached to “stating the obvious” that makes us shy back from saying things that require being said?

You know, “where no one wants to mention the elephant in the room.”

Maybe Samuel Johnson got it right  – “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” 

If this post doesn’t seem to make any sense or go any place in particular or have any conclusion that’s all right. I see a couple of new posts starting to form.

“Stating the obvious” – good, bad or neutral?

Lots to think about.

Thanks for reading.

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Thoughts From The Wilderness – Slippery Slopes of Living

Although written just about a year ago, the message is still the same, and yes, still relevent. We can often find ourselves teetering on the top of some precarious slope in life, and wondering a couple of things. How did I get here? What should I do now? What are the consequences if I simply plunge forward?

Without stating the obvious, that is one ice-covered slick and smooth slope!

27

Back in the winter Lynn and I were out hiking and photographing Hatchery Falls in north Muskoka. When out there, I came across this long ice wall on a cliff face at the top of the small valley the Skeleton River flows through.

Although not overly high or impressive we both found it neat and each of us was more than willing to hike, slip and at times crawl on our hands and knees to check it out.

The thing that was most intriguing and the thing that was calling us to explore more was this opening near the top of the ice wall.  12

In the first picture, that enticing call of adventure presented by the ice cave opening is just behind a few branches in the upper third of the photo. Although the picture doesn’t portray the scale very well, I’m 6′ 2″ and if I laid on the slope of the ice wall and my arms stretched out, I would just be able to tuck my hands into the edge of the cave opening.

Although we both wanted to have a peek inside the cave, it just wasn’t going to happen that day. Melting ice and snow from above had the ice wall slicker than one can possibly imagine. One wrong move and it would have been a quick slippery trip down to the bottom.

Sometimes, in life, we can find ourselves at the top of an icy slope or worse be hurtling down one wildly out of control with certain disaster awaiting us when we finally crash in a tangled mess at the bottom.

slopelogo
Source: Google Images

How often have we been perched seemingly at a juncture in our lives, peering down what we know will likely result in chaos and carnage in our life and in the lives of those around us, yet we still go ahead and take a step?

At those times, when teetering at the top and deciding what to do, we’re usually presented with a couple of choices.

keep-calm-and-take-a-step-back-1
Source: Google Images

Or, the alternative. Taking a step and then seeing what happens next.

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Source: Google Images

In my mind, the apex of the slippery slope we encounter or worse create ourselves are the choices made at that critical point and the time leading up to that.

Much like standing at the top of a triple black diamond ski run in the mountains and the drooling about the good times of the apres-skiing drinks and fun at the bottom, we give no thought at all about what lies in front of us.

All we’re thinking is “good times ahead – get to the bottom and pop the cap off” that first frosty cold one. The problem here is I didn’t mention is this is our first-day skiing…..ever. Perhaps at some earlier point, we should have made some better choices for that last run. Now, we have just a couple of options available.

Brit-Stevens-Pass-Feb-14-041
Source: Google Images

Ideally, we need to take a step back; re-evaluate how to get down to the bottom of the run alive. Secondly, we can push off the top and start down a black-diamond run we have no place to be on and hope that our life insurance has been paid up.

We stand at the top and see something or imagine we see something and without thinking about the consequences we take that one tiny inconsequential step that starts to propel us down a slippery slope of destruction.

Life is full of choices. Once we take a step and head down a slope we shouldn’t be on, Newton’s First Law of Physics takes quickly over – “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

Once we start careening down a slope where we have no place to be, it’s hard, maybe impossible to stop.

Life certainly isn’t without challenges. All of us would be naive to assume we will never find ourselves teetering at the edge of a slope destined for a result that we thought would never occur or taking the step and praying that the odds are in our favour for once.

I often wonder if at that point it isn’t already too late? That perhaps the inevitable is going to occur anyway.

Yup, life is full of challenges. Some present themselves un-expectantly and without any doing on our part, while others evolve entirely from our own choices.

I guess the question becomes, can we keep ourselves from even getting to the edge of a spot we really shouldn’t be in the first place and if we do, what decisions do we finally make once we’re there?

On the other hand, are we wired as human beings to seek out “looks like good times ahead – get to the bottom and pop the cap off that first frosty cold one.”

Perhaps we just can’t help ourselves? Not sure.

Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Stating The Obvious – Necessary?

I originally posted this back in August after we returned from the east coast of Canada. I re-read it in the past few days and added a couple of thoughts that sprang to mind.

Sitting here I’m wondering if a more appropriate title might be along the lines of “Thoughts From The Wilderness – Saving Us From Ourselves”

I don’t obsess overmuch I think. In fact, I’m not really sure I obsess over anything in particular. Certainly, not an obsession that has a negative attachment to it. But, on the other hand, obsessing over not obsessing over anything is likely an obsession in itself.

Nevertheless, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had this obsession with the phrase “stating the obvious”

I have the habit at times, as you may have of “stating the obvious.” One phrase I’ve used throughout the summer, given the fire bans that were in place throughout much of central and northern Ontario at that time was, “We could use some rain, it’s pretty dry.”

Brilliant deduction there Sherlock!

As I said, this “stating the obvious” concept has been rumbling around in my mind for the past week or so and has been leading me down the trail of “is stating the obvious” a good or bad thing? Or is it just a thing that’s more neutral as compared to being good or bad?

Or have we graduated to a state where much needs to be posted for liability issues given that many people can’t see danger when it is simply right in front of them?

This sign attached to a rock at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia certainly caught my attention when we visited there in June of this year.

sign

In my mind the question here is, why state the obvious when it should be obvious to everyone?

For those of you who have never been, Peggy’s Cove is a historic small fishing harbour located south of Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. Although it started out as a fishing village and there is still an active lobster fishery, Peggy’s Cove has now become a major tourist destination for the east coast of Canada.

Tourists flock there mainly for the views of the Atlantic Ocean from the rocks at the water’s edge and the historic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse.

There has been a fair amount written in tourist publications and online about staying off “the black rocks” and as well, there are numerous signs at Peggy’s Cove stating:

danger

All of this seems pretty obvious to me – there is danger here, so be aware.

So, back to the task at hand.

I read that what is obvious to some people may not be obvious to others. Is this obvious to you? Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t.

Reading articles of whether “stating the obvious” is a good or bad thing, presented views at either end of the spectrum, as well as in the middle of the road.

“State the obvious – it’s a good thing.”

Only a fool “states the obvious.”

And finally, “does it really matter?”

 

“Stating the obvious” is all of these things. Perhaps one of the keys though is “what are we stating the obvious about?” If using Peggy’s Cove example, “stating the obvious” could mean the difference between life and death.

Check this CTV news article out from 2015.

Here’s a Twitter account you might want to check out too. The intentions were good, they needed some help in delivery though.

Over the years, Lynn and I have observed an increase in the number of signs posted, warnings written on permits and as well as media articles regarding safety for those heading into the great outdoors.

“Hazards Exist – You are responsible for your own safety”

3Is “stating the obvious” a non-issue? Apparently not.

Makes me think we’re heading down the road, at least in terms of pursuits in the outdoors of “needing to protect people from themselves.” And realistically, we’re already well down that road.

Nevertheless, here are a couple of things to think about when “stating the obvious.”

Repeat When Necessary

Not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but in Canada, we still mess up. We’ve violated in the past and continue at times to violate people’s Charter Rights; people still have challenges following our most basic laws; people continue to start walking across the intersection even when the “Don’t Walk” sign is showing.

Being reminded is important and necessary – why?

  • we forget
  • often it can take several times before we understand
  • we need reminders to put ideas into practice

It can take a number of cracks at it before we grasp something. Even when we know it, we can forget to follow what we learned.

Obvious to some; may not be obvious to others

  • just because it’s obvious to you, doesn’t equate into being obvious for all
  • people are wired differently, we see things differently
  • what we see as important, others may not see or be at a point to see it as important.

One last consideration is by not “stating the obvious” does that keep us from saying the things that actually might need to be said?  Could there be a stigma attached to “stating the obvious” that makes us shy back from saying things that require being said?

You know, “where no one wants to mention the elephant in the room.”

Maybe Samuel Johnson got it right  – “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” 

If this post doesn’t seem to make any sense or go any place in particular or have any conclusion that’s all right. I see a couple of new posts starting to form.

“Stating the obvious” – good, bad or neutral?

Lots to think about.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts From The Wilderness – New Beginnings

Last week, Lynn and I took the Tuesday of “my long weekend” and decided to do a day trip north to Algonquin Park. Having made a minimum of at least one trip to Algonquin for the past 40 years or so, we’re not big into the whole having to do the “May 24th weekend” experience anymore. That ship has long sailed out of the harbour. We much prefer the solitude experienced by going mid-week or during off-peak times.

We did the same thing last year, going up on the Tuesday following the long weekend. Except in 2017, as we all remember the bugs were relentless. This year, they certainly were buzzing about and being a nuisance at times, but the “After-Bite” gods must have been looking down on us because the “little darlings” weren’t biting.

Bringing our senior four-legged companion with us, I thought of the many things we could tackle might be a hike along the Old Railway Bike Trail through the Mew Lake Campground and out into the Lake of Two Rivers Airfield. Flat and easy-going would be perfect for Katie. It was just right for her advanced age and short legs. But, after 12 hours of adventure, we had one pooped puppy on the way home.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 6.59.16 AM

Most of us who have visited Algonquin Park at one time or another have images or memories of the Park that are vibrant and full of life created over many trips and adventures.

The reality is that at least one part of Algonquin Park is this.

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In 2012, a prescribed and controlled burn was done within the Lake of Two Rivers Airfield. There was an information board along the trail describing how and why the burn was done by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Unfortunately, we didn’t snap a picture of it.

The following I found from a 2012 local newspaper article

“Prescribed burning was also used on two plots of land in the Pembroke area, covering a total area of 6.2 hectares on the Highway 60 corridor at the Lake of Two Rivers airfield. The objectives of the burn were to assist park staff with habitat manipulation of a grassland area for songbird research and to promote the development of fire management and ecosystem management techniques for the park’s interpretive program.”

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One can only imagine that after the burn was completed, things would have looked pretty bleak and desolate out in the airfield. We’ve all seen pictures and news reports of the devastation that wildfires leave in the wake of their path.

But, within the destruction that fire leaves, whether it be a controlled burn or an out of control wildfire, new life and beginnings many times finds a way and springs forth.

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Out there within the burned-out area and although it happened several years ago, new and growth sprang forth from that wreckage. We found several patches of these tiny clusters of purple wildflowers pushing up through.

Throughout our lives, we all go through or will go through at some time, situations or experiences that can leave us feeling much like the aftermath or devastation of a wildfire. But, that doesn’t mean our existence from that point forward will resemble the blackened mess left after a fire passes through.

Much like the after-effects of the controlled burn above, there is now the opportunity for new and exciting things to start to grow and happen in our lives. Maybe the experiences we have during these trying times can create the right environment that provides a more fertile ground for something new to grow; something exciting!

Metal has to go through a test of fire. Pounding, twisting and more fire before the end result is the product that it was meant to be. Maybe our lives are like that too. Perhaps we need to at times, go through a test of fire before we can come out the other end, being who and what we were meant to be.

Just a thought.