“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”
― René Daumal
This quote has, over the years, been one of my favorites because it pretty well sums up one of the main driving forces behind doing anything that gets you way outside of your “known” zone. I’ll be heading out this morning (July 22) on the Chilkoot Trail located here in Skagway in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The trail is 33 miles long all together, and follows the path the original Stampeders took to get up to the goldfields in the Klondike…thank God we will only be going about 7.5 miles the first day, and will be stopping to do 4 days of archaeological work in a place called Canyon City…then on to the Summit and Canada where we will catch a train back home…to Skagway that is. The pack has been unpacked and re-packed about five times now in an effort to get rid of anything that is superfluous or not vital for survival ….and I am not including make-up in this category as one never knows who one will meet on the trail does one! With all the stuff I had in there at first I felt a little like like Hermione Granger hunting down “he who must not be named” in a mobile library! Needless to say, going through the process of examination and discard is a subtle tap on the shoulder from the “it’s time to get back to basics” Ethers. I admit that I did ask the Universe to send me somewhere this summer where I would learn something, and since I got to Alaska I have met persons who have reminded me of who I am, and also who I am not. It has seemed too, that anything that does not energize or at least seem fun should be tossed or left behind. However, some lessons, like the trail in this case, are unavoidable, but next time I leave things up to the Universe, I think I’ll request Hawaii where the furthest I’ll have to walk is to the bar to get a fruity drink with an umbrella in it!