The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Switchbacks

It's been a while since we heard from Patrick Parker, a judo and aikido teacher who has had something special going on

He's been doing some traveling recently. When he writes about his travels, I can see the light of Budo shining through. 

Below is an excerpt from one of his posts. The full post may be read here.


I like to have two or three discrete take-away points after any adventure – a short bullet list of things I learned or what I got out of the adventure, or how I grew or changed.
When we did Kilimanjaro (I can’t believe that was only 6 months ago), the magnitude of the trek and the mountain itself made it really hard to leave with a short list of things I learned.  The mountain was just so big and intimidating that it was hard to keep everything in mind.
Since we have gotten back from Kilimanjaro, I have managed to come up with some take-away points, but I feel like I’m still trying to figure out what that adventure was all about,
Not so with Mount Saint Helens! Saint Helens is a much more manageable adventure – much easier to keep the whole thing in mind to process.  I knew from halfway through what I was taking away from this trek.
For me, at least on that particular day, Mount Saint Helens was all about two things – rebirth and switchbacks.  I have already written a couple of times about the amazing rebirth and renewal after Saint Helens blew her top.

Switchbacks

Anyone who has done any hiking in rough terrain is intimately familiar with switchbacks.
A switchback is a trail cut diagonally across the face of a hill or mountain.  By going diagonally the incline of the trail is reduced to something that is manageable without specialty mountain climbing gear and skills.
The down-side to switchbacks is that by making your climb less steep it makes your walk much longer because you end up zigzagging back and forth instead of taking a direct route to your destination.
When we started our hike of Harry’s Ridge at Mount Saint Helens, I was amused to find that the trail starts out headed almost directly away from the mountain.  For the first quarter mile or so, the mountain is mostly behind you over your right shoulder.

Life is like hiking – there will be switchbacks

Sometimes you think are making great progress when your path takes a sharp turn and all of a sudden you seem to be headed directly away from where you want to end up.
What initially looks like a setback (in hiking or in life) might just be a switchback. Don’t despair, because switchbacks can look like an onerous detour when actually they are just an easier way to get to the destination.


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