skis, scale, and mountains

I returned earlier this week from a wonderful trip to Colorado with the guys from work and a few friends.  It was my first time on skis, and I was instantly taken back to the feeling I had trying to get a bicycle to stay upright for the first time.  It was incredible to see young children blowing by me as I fumbled around like a drunken sailor.  A good friend gave me the only advice that was helpful before we departed, "Don't give up."  And my wise law partner and good friend Donovan Whibbs gave me the only advice that was helpful after we arrived, "Take another lesson."  I'll go back and do it again, partly because being untrained and on the side of a mountain scared me to death.  And I believe very much in the idea of doing things that scare me.  Three thoughts on this cloudy Friday afternoon, as has become customary:

1. Taking some time to unwind, even before I felt like I desperately needed it, reminded me of the importance of intentional rest and time with friends.  Bold living all too often falls victim to incessant productivity.  All this in addition to teaching me another valuable lesson in trying new things.  I am increasingly aware of the interplay between creativity and rest. 

2.  On the morning of our departure, I got up early and made my way down to the coffee shop.  I spent a little time with Pascal's Pensees, and I was drawn to his thoughts on the grand scale of nature.  I took a solo gondola ride later that morning, which viscerally drove home what Pascal conveyed on paper.  But I've also been thinking about the scale of interiority.   That we can usually and easily, with attention, appreciate the scale of exteriority.  But the appreciation of the equally immense scale of interiority requires, possibly, an even keener attention. 

3. Moved by John O'Donohue, I have made arrangements for a solo pilgrimage to Ireland in April.  I am looking forward to seeing the wild countryside that O'Donohue speaks so compellingly of.  Somehow, I feel like I am going home.

I'll leave you with a new piece.


Pascal and these mountains
bring scale to me this morning
fear and trembling

and I know as I look about
despite all doubt
that whatever God is, She is grand

a lone soul below
makes a way up the mountain
slowly and deliberate

and I hope that I
can move that way too

eyes forward
toward the peak
ever in awe

great expanses
all about us
awake climber!

the mountain, splendid
holds us in its crowned dignity


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