We gradually fade from sharp-toothed puppy to hyperactive youngin’ to sleeping eighteen hours a day, and as is the nature of existing, we only really notice our most current state of being. A senior dog fades into the background and then occasionally surprises us with a half snarl or a flash of the spunk that used to wear us down through sheer quantity of energy. An old friend falls through the cracks as we see enough glimpses of them looking happy on the internet that we forget to check in and actually talk. The best moments of our life slowly fade into the shadows until we neither remember nor forget them; they are simply there until a tragedy brings them into high relief and we remember them wistfully.
If there is one thing I have learned in more or less the last calendar year, it is that we are at our best when we can hold our own worst thoughts and fears in our hands at arm’s length and stare at them until they look less ugly and less daunting; less like shackles and more like spurs.
I hoisted my knee up over the edge and we stood, above the Canyon once more, fierce winds howling in our ears, reminding us just how precarious standing atop a slick hoodoo is. But, everything is precarious in its own way. Is it not better to bring that to light instead of trying to hide it in the shadows?
I find beauty and hope in the individual and collective human ability to defy the odds. I am also radically overwhelmed by it. Isn’t our existence a miracle that should be revered? Aren’t we preposterously fleeting? Should we take things less seriously? Is it possible to take things seriously enough?
in this moment, I stood still and shivering and let reality wash over me and blow into my core. It is hysterical how little marketing influences you or how much some other human’s selfish decisions can affect your faith or resolve when you are standing with your toes in the Arctic Ocean.
If there is one quality that I’ve been told I possess which I’m finally starting to truly believe, it’s that I still get as excited as a child about lizards and automobiles and carnivorous plants and, as it turns out, muskoxen. I think this is my number one greatest survival skill, because it gives me the upper hand over any number of existential crises, chemical imbalances, and structural damages that may otherwise rob me of much desire to proceed.
I stood there in a long sleeve T-shirt and blue jeans, exposed in all the most vulnerable ways to the elements, and felt a certain type of ridiculous freedom that men often chase their entire lives. One would never explicitly state that they aspire to something as trite as peeing atop Atiguin Pass, but that may be part of the problem.