Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Annual Flight

After swim practice, Special Ed and I (and Wrangler and Jammer) headed south to Box. The desert is velvety green from the great monsoon season and the clear air made for crisp, sharp horizons. We started hiking through waist high grass in the LZ around 2:30 PM. The trail is mostly gone. Occasionally we would find a short strip of worn foot path, but most all of the hike was bushwhacking. The winds were very, very light, the temperature was warm, but it was the high humidity that made it uncomfortable. The humidity, trail breaking and having to high step through the acacia and grass reduced our pace to a crawl. Ed and I have both summited Box in 1 hour. It tooks us almost 3 hours yesterday.

The big surprise on launch was the smooth 6-8 knot breeze right up the spine. Perfect conditions for beginners or two old men who haven't flown in a year. I stepped off and immediately floated up 200'. Ed floated up right behind me. We floated around for an hour in perfectly smooth lift. A big raptor, maybe a golden eagle, flew around with us, but his min sink was better than ours so he topped out and headed toward the HG launch.

Before sunset, we headed for the LZ, calling the dogs to follow us down the spine. I left first and as I flew away, I looked back to locate Ed. I looked over my left shoulder, right shoulder, and then leaned back in my harness and rolled my head straight back. Imagine: upside down view of the rocky peaks, the full moon rising over the cumulus clouds on the horizon to the east, the silhouette of Ed's glider about the same angular size as the moon and just to the side of the moon, all in the radiant light of sunset.

We both did very conservative, text book aircraft approaches and had soft landings right next to Arjan's memorial. The dogs arrived in the LZ just as we finished packing up our gliders. Oh! BTW. Grasshoppers everywhere. The William Burrows Naked Lunch giant LSD colored grasshoppers. The west horizon was burning orange, Baboquivari a sharp silhouette, the full moon rising from behind the Santa Ritas.

A brutal hike, a beautiful flight. Life is very, very good.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

With apologies to St. Teresa

All is well
And all is well
And all manner of thing is well.

There are moments when the universe and my time and place in it are exactly as they should be, moments of perfection.

And this could be a perpetual condition, except that I go about applying my morality - this is good, that is bad, it's better over there.

To exist in the perfection of the moment, must one be will-less, ambition-less, passive?

To follow one's bliss, to act in the world, does that by default exclude the perfection of the moment.

How does one act in the world and simultaneously be at peace? Are they mutually exclusive? If you act but are not attached to the outcome - but what is the point of action if not the outcome?

"I have a vision of us transformed - courageous, uninhibited people living and loving with reckless abandon."

The hero ventures forth into the unknown, there fabulous forces are encountered, a decisive victory is won, the hero returns to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Jimmy Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life - Is he a hero in the end? Was it simply that his venture into the unknown was not the adventure he originally wanted, his was right there in his boring little bourgeois community?

I know a young man just back from Iraq. A few months ago he was knocking down doors and rushing into buildings with a machine gun, not knowing what was inside. Now he is digging ditches and installing electrical ducts in the ground in Tucson. He told me he misses his life in Iraq.

I always thought my attachment to the trappings of my bourgeois life were what were keeping me from living fully. Elmar helped me realize that was not true.

Who does not fear death, pain, loss, the little deaths we suffer every day?

I understand the Iraq vet. Life is more-better when you confront the fear and move past it.

Is that then the goal, to simply live with fearless intensity? Narcissus and Goldmund lived intensely, but were never whole.

To be at peace.
To follow your bliss.
To act courageously.

Simultaneously.
Sent from my Crackberry. I must be outstanding in the field.

Monday, September 01, 2008