by David Huebner
Right now I lie sunning myself, in this warm high alpine sunshine, as the busy world of the earth, the natural earth, goes about it's morning around me. The crickets are clearly involved in a war of some sort, flying, buzzing as loud as miniture helicopters, landing, hopping, and taking off buzzing again; while I seem to be a suddenly new feature on the horizon of the working ant that always has somewhere to go, and other ants to talk to, seemingly greeting always with an "Ah, how do you do?" Very formal, discussing such matters as what they've hauled in that day---how much more it weighed than they do, etc.; and while the anys mingle and scurry about, the mosquitoes are all to happy to see me, the few of them that are still alive after the snowstorm we had the other day, as I present a wonderful blood sucking feast, lying out here sunning myself; as the flies and beez soar through the air, desperately in need of an Air Traffic Control Station in their crowded world of buzzing crickets, annoying mosquitoes, gnats, themselves, and me, in case I should stand up, I might end everything. And beyond my little sphere of hearing, I see flowers of yellow and pink and purple; and the mountain heather, like a thick, spikey, carpet, and the grasses, all, everything, gently swaying in a gentle almost gone breeze. I look at the granite rock in front of me, part of which I'm lying on--on my stomach now--composed of it's millions of crystals decomposing, turning slowly, ever slowly, into soil. Some of the granite around where I like was polished by the glacier so smooth it reflects the sun, and refuses traction, other areas are broken such that it seems a mighty hammer was brought down on a solid block slab, fracturing it geometrically, now lying there, shattered as if they were broken yesterday. Boulders, little, big, and tiny lie scattered in places, where the granite surfaces out of the earth like a whale and is polished here and there. I lie sunning myself in the midst of all this commotion. Buzzing loudly, fly-bys, nibbling mosquitoes and ants, blowing grasses and flowers, and the movement of a glacier melted thousands of years ago. I lie here and pose the question: Why is this not considered a "successful" lifestyle? Is what I am doing considered "vacationing", escaping from the "real world", from "reality"? It is. I know it is. But I don't believe that at all. I am living more validly--lying here on my granite sun board--than the most successful business person or politician or whomever considers themselves "successful contributers to our Society". The reason I say I live more validly is because I lie here as part of the earth, as a part of the natural processes going on around me. I can't escape anything here, I am at Nature's mercy. If, like during the past week, Nature decides to have it snow, I need to huddle in my tent--cook in my tent perhaps, put on warmer clothes. In the city, if it snows, you gripe only because of the traffic it causes, it's nothing to you personally. Turn up the heater for crissake! But in the backcountry, one is forced to live with Nature, because of Nature, and in utmost respect of Nature. All these busy bugs and insects and flowers and lakes all have things to do, they are like humans only that they don't have to build and creat a world for themselves to live in, they simply use what they can, and adapt. I lie here unmoving, as a silent observer of Their World. This basin that I've been living in for 12 days now is not mine in any way, it is Nature's and all her little workers' world. I am not saying that humans aren't of Nature---of course we are. For now, i've returned to my correct place on the wild earth; since I don't need, I don't kill, and I continually live in respect of all that is around me. Gone are the days in which most of us were forced to live by nature. Those humans which forever live in the city have lost most of their connection to Nature, if not all. Really they have simply buried it under the cement sidewalks, traffic lights, double yellow lines, skyscrapers, apartment complexes, and parks of their Concrete Jungle. (Don't even get me started...)But if any one of them were to be placed, say, in this basin, and had to live here, by Natural Laws rather than those of Judges and Trials and Juries which do nothing except create more laws, they may feel their born connection with nature, and may in some way, dig what has been lost to subways, the honking of cars, and the filling of schedules. All is not lost for the Western human race. But alas, of course, there no longer is enough wilderness left, for everyone in the world to live as validly as I do today. People can't start fleeing the cities and setting up tents in wild basins or else these places will no longer be wild, they will be trampled and trashed and commercial and Nature's pure creatures will be killed, and flowers will wither and all will be suburban wasteland.
All I am trying to say is that those of us who do take to these high places, and climb mountains, and fish streams, hike trails, traverse ridges, swim in 11,000 foot high lakes, ski powder bowls, chutes and trees, and more, live equally a "successful" life, if not a more "valid" life as the millionaire business man or the middle class family. And under that same reasoning, the poor family of the ghetto can be as equally as successful as the rich family of the uptown.
I am a person of the Mountains; we all are people of the Earth; but it is only us of the wild places (mountains, deserts, grasslands, rainforests, beaches, tundra, etc.) who live truly with the Earth, rather than in spite of it.
That is all, I must get up before my bum is redder than Indian Paintbrush.
So, maybe not, but maybe so, this my last night in Dusy Basin. I'll of course have to do a full food inventory in the morning, as I may stay another day, but tomorrow's 14, so I should probably hike out if I can[i end up staying another day]. But what an incredible two weeks it has been so far! Amazing how fast it seems to have gone, but I guess days of sitting in the tent under storm, and days sitting in the sun, and days climbing mountains, all go fast. Such pleasure filled days. Such relaxation, contemplation, and philosophy have filled my mind and soul like never before. It truly is a test of one's self, living in the backcountry alone like this--with the exception of the couple days Nate was here--for--minus those days even--10 days purely alone out of my 13 going late afternoon towards 14. I think it is a worthy endeavor to undertake, to find what really lies in your heart; more days than not I've reclined in my Crazy Creek chair and taken in some rays. So whether or not deep down I enjoy the risk of climbing can't be said. I equally and whole heartedly enjoy both. I do love climbing, I love the movement, the feeling of scaling high ridgelines and difficult peaks. Maybe if more of these peaks around me had easier ways off them I would have climbed even more--or if I had a rope. But five peaks--Aggasiz(2 times), Columbine, Isoceles, Mt. Sill, and Tausende Gipfel--is pretty satisfying to me. I'm merely a relaxed, carefree mountaineer, who enjoys no ego, no hardman attempt at being "a climber", tho a climber is what I am. I'm also a skier, an occasional runner, obviously a hiker, sometimes a fisherman, purely a musician--cellist, desperately(as all are desperate) trying to be a writer, poet, photographer. All of it leads to one shining Holy Grail, the illusive though awesomely rewarding in its search, and really it's not illusive at all, you just can't physically grasp it or give it a name so to speak; but it's all for the mountains, the flowers, the ridges, the deep valleys, the meadows, the creeks, the summits, the snow (Powder ah yes!), the clouds, the stars, the granite slick rock basins like this one. The holy Grail is the whole experience. The whole freedom wind, laughing, smiling, experience. When it all comes together, and even when it doesn't; the early morning peak, followed by exploring around meadows and tarns and lakes and slabs and boulders and trees and flowers and birds and frogs and ferns; or the all day climb, prefaced and prologued by reading, writing, exploring, eating; just watching the sunrise and set, eating when you're hungry and sleeping when you're sleepy. Being active if you feel it, being lazy if you don't. This Life is a whole new philosophy. I think of Thoreau on Walden Pond--but it is different or is it? He likely felt what I feel, and searched through Transcendentalism and Existentialism for a pure philosophy and found one to his liking. For me, I'm satisfied with simple existence, for that is what this is. Happy Being. Because I don't want to be one of Thoreau's "Mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." I want to be the morning glory; always happy at first light of day, and sleeping cozily when the sun goes down, knowing that tomorrow will be the same, though unique.
So suffice it to say, that I exist fully in the mountain rhythm. My heart beat is slow and steady, and I breath with ease. I smile at the morning sun, and tip my tea cup when it goes down. I am purely a happy man. Thank You my sweet Earth. And who knows I could still be here tomorrow night...[and i was]...