Last night my son was part of a two-man presentation at our local outdoor store where he works, Black Creek Outfitters. Along with Jack Stucki they spent a good two hours detailing their respective adventures on the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail. The presentation topics included gear, food and mindset. On a personal note it was a proud moment through which I observed my son sharing his passion in a professional atmosphere.
One comment that Jack made stood out, and it greatly serves Clear Sky Friday, was inspired/taken from Zach Davis’s book Appalachian Trials. Part of Jack’s closing comments to the audience centered around why one might commit themselves to months on trail, a question Mr. Davis writes about as being elemental to answering if one is to best maximize the adventure. With my longest section hike being four days, the “why” of an extended hike had never been considered beyond the answer “I just like to hike”.
Both Jack and Evan, when speaking of memories, found that the community of hikers was a grand emotional monolith. From Trail Angels to a simple person willing to give a tired hiker a ride, the basic good you find while on trail is special. Being a hopeful cynic, this is what my “why” would be. To see the good in humanity. Yes it exists apart from trail, but the quiet of the hike along with the kindness of strangers amplifies it.
With that in mind, here is an article which reminds us that good is all around us if we just look for it. Link courtesy of Sustainable Man via Facebook.
My “virtual friend” Brad Hill runs a Jacksonville Jaguars site called Jaguarsblog.com. I wanted to write something specifically for the Jaguars fan base but was not sure it fit over here a Change-Can. However, I decided to link to Brad’s site because I the piece is an extension of what I wrote last week when the Jaguars made their sweeping changes at head coach and in selling the team. I sincerely believe that what we are seeing from this small market team and fan base is a disclosure of character. In essence this transcends football and shows how we ought to act. Is winning all that matters or is how you win important? While nothing is perfect in action, it can be sincere in thought through right intention.
My inspiration behind this course of thinking is due in part to my friend Joe Butler, owner of Jacksonville’s Black Creek Outfitters, turning me onto the book “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman” by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. What can we do and who can we impact by doing what is right as opposed to what we can do just to be successful. Simply put, it begs the question of what it means to be successful.
Over the past three days I attended two showings of a musical called Back in the Boondocks. It was put on by the CrossRoad UMC Arts Academy. The premise of the story is that of a family living in Louisiana. It details their struggles with relationships, alcoholism, friendship, death and faith. Musically the backdrop is solely Country with songs by the likes of Miranda Lambert (Kerosene), Joe Nichols (The Shape I’m In), The Band Perry (If I Die Young), Craig Morgan (Bonfire) and Little Big Town (Boondocks).
As someone who is not a big Country Music fan (yet I feel I am becoming a very selective one as each day passes), and a seasoned agnostic, the existential message disclosed by the production was something to which anyone could relate. For me it was summed up simply as this: we should not be looking for happiness, we should be looking for peace. This production was sharing how that could be found in Christianity and the crowds who I saw it with grasped that to thunderous applause. I saw the message as expanding beyond any one faith or belief system. Encountering, as well all surely have, individuals who do not hold the same life view as we and he who are at peace it serves not to remind us that we are necessarily wrong in our beliefs but that maybe we have gotten a bit off track.
There is one character who loses her farm after her brother signs it over to her seemingly ex-husband in good faith. Then there is that same brother who struggles with returning to Nashville in an effort to revive a successful singing career which he walked away from when his wife died in a tour bus accident. Amidst the messages of forgiveness and repentance I was more hit by the problem of attachment. Of holding on too tightly to something for fear of being without it. Such a crime assumes that beyond the now is not any better. How can we be so arrogant and naive?
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