A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. ~Edward de Bono
I grabbed one of my old journals last night, I have at least 17 of them…possibly more than 20, and started reading thoughts I penned almost twenty years ago in the fall of 1992. This was during the most challenging years of my life. I was 31 at the time, divorced with three kids, and had little understanding about what it takes to make a successful life. I was confused, unfocused, essentially lost in a little hell I made for myself, a little hell that grew out of poor decisions, decisions driven by an almost complete self absorption. I was focused inward, only on myself and that makes for a very little world in which to exist.
At the time, I felt I needed some space to get my head together so I took a solo trip, my first solo backpacking trip, to my favorite place on earth. I took a trip to the red rock country of Southern Utah a place where I always feel at home, always feel content, am always awestruck at the unparalleled beauty created out of stark, red earth against the backdrop of perfect blue sky. It was a place I knew I could get the silence I needed to dig deep into my heart, the solitude so vital to soul searching.
On my first day, I entered the backcountry via the Devil’s Garden Trail, appropriately named because I was smack dab in the middle of my little hell. My first rest was at the fins, massive slabs of rock eroded away in such a way as to appear to be large, red, shark fins. Sitting, admiring the rock structure, I recorded an entry in my journal.
It was good to be on the primitive trail. Almost immediately I heard Raven call & saw him floating in the sky. It was the 2nd I encountered today…at the first outcropping, I stopped for a rest & to enjoy the view of the fins. I became Goat again & hopped up & down the rocks for a view…It’s amazing, the silence out here. It’s broken by the wind, planes, droning of the rare insect, & now by the call of Ground Squirrel.
This was the point when the cares of the world began to melt away, when the weight I was carrying on my shoulders began to lighten. I was finally unfettered by life’s constraints, finally immersed in my spiritual home, finally free to be.
I am not sure what my immersion into solitude revealed to me for that trip as this is the first of two journals filled during that week and the beginning of the first journal at that. I do know that my life changed around that time, changed in such a way that I was becoming more open to life, less self absorbed, more focused on others, open to spiritual leanings. Was this openness to change a result of the trip? I really don’t know.
Although I believe the trip was a key event in the course my life embarked upon, I cannot point to any definitive moment, no ‘aha’ experience, no bright light into my soul, no preacher placing hands on me and shouting, “Heal” with a long drawn out “eeee” and “llll” and I suddenly felt renewed. What I think happened is that a seed was planted, a slow growing stem began to take shape which, many turns of the moon into the future, bloomed into a fragrant flower that is my current life. I am in a much better place that I was in 1992. My life is in order, I am a happy individual, and am daily excited about my lie and my future.