Smoke, Rocks, and Trees: Four Days on the Wonderland Trail

Record of an attempt to thruhike around a massive volcano as wildfires raged in the forests nearby. I went to grieve, to mend a broken heart, and to walk my own talk with the Divine. Hiking thru deep grief was an initiation. In doing so, however, I also made new friends, one of them a dog. I struggled with aging as I pushed thru smoke and dust, darkness and light, and came face to face with…myself.

*This is a work in progress. Feel free to enjoy in the meantime. Thank you!*

Click on any image to enlarge the foto. Enjoy.

Wayne & I gaze up into the smoke-choked Tatoosh Range from where we stood along the banks of the Nisqually River, Mount Rainier National Park. Tuesday morning the 5th of September 2017. May the fires stay far away! May the long-promised rain finally fall!

Wildfires burned along the eastern edges of the national park, spilling out from the Norse Peak Wilderness from lightning strikes during a short but severe mini-drought. Even so, aye, even so, the Trail beckons and calls my soul forth to walk these paths thru mountain forests. I felt the energy of the area shift when I walked thru this place between trees. Felt like I passed thru a portal in spacetime. This is a section of the Wonderland Trail on the western flanks of the park near Longmire, Day 1 of 4.

The Sun burns thru smoky haze in the late afternoon at Klapatche Park on the Wonderland Trail, Day 2 of 4.

Tahoma Creek thunders below the infamous swinging bridge across the gorge. In the morning of Day 2. Felt like I was walking into the apocalypse and all was beautiful anyway. Living and dying are but processes as we move thru our experiences toward wholeness. Isn’t what we do as we choose how to live, however, what really matters as we journey along the way? 

I went into the wilderness to grieve. My attempt to thruhike the Wonderland Trail, one of the most celebrated of the short long-distance trails, wasn’t to conquer nature or rack up another win on a list of long-distance hiking trails. In fact I didn’t even trail for this expedition as I have rigorously done so for all previous adventures. I trusted in my extensive backcountry experience and felt confident enough to push thru any pain. My bodymind would adapt. Right? Wouldn’t my broken heart still be heart enough to carry the rest of me onwards? Even with guts? The intention was to immerse myself in solitude so as to engage the Divine one-on-one with what the hell happened and why. Especially while deep in the backcountry far away from crowds of people. Truth is I went into Nature to heal, to heal my soul, to heal my capacity to open to love no matter what. An adventure hiking the famously beautiful and difficult Wonderland Trail provided the canvas of nature to paint my sorrows and joys upon.

This solo backpacking trip would be my own Walk ‘n’ Talk with God & Goddess, so to speak. For while I didn’t always show it, I remained in deep pain from the heartbreak of being ghosted and feeling abandoned not quite two months earlier by an otherwise extraordinary woman whom I loved and adored and, it appeared at the time, she, me. At least she seemed to love and appreciate me in the beginning of what was to be a remarkable and unusual albeit short-lived relationship. The irony is she was a bit of a globetrotter herself. She sought out long-distance hiking trails to heal and in doing so strip away the faux veneer of urban civilization. Aye, in many ways we were so much alike our similarities felt uncanny. Yet it was not to be. Nor did I see the end coming. 

Life goes on for the living, however, and tears heal. Grieving is healthy albeit painful for those grieving. It’s uncomfortable for those around the bereaved. So I chose to hike around the massive bulk of a giant volcano as my way of moving forward in this life. For as I took one step after another and one breath upon the next the immediacy of the Trail demanded such total focus as to push out all thoughts of anything else but the next breath and the next step and the next bite to eat and water to drink. These demands plus the threat of rapidly-spreading wildfires during a short but severe drought in the wake of record breaking snowfall and flooding all became part of my healing process.

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Facing Fear (Your Deepest, Innermost Fears around Love)

Sometimes the Dragons we must eventually face hide within the wilderness of our own hearts

Often in the pursuit of adventure and facing one’s terror amidst avalanching mountains and flooded whitewater rivers, one may forget the Hardest Work and the Greatest Challenges lay not at Death’s Door in the Wilderness but in being with people including those we love and those who love us. Much of the time, however, it’s face to face with the mirrors of your own self.

This speaks especially with those we love or used to love. Our most difficult practices arise within the relationships we form among ourselves, with other people, and especially our selves.

The greatest Dragon we must someday face is not some monster in a cave abiding over those hearts we treasure the most. No, the greatest Dragon is us as we face our own shame, anger, & fear, yes, fear of turning back around to look those Others in the eye and atone for the consequences of damaging our relationships with them. Perhaps the hardest work is facing those whom we have hurt and wronged. Oh, the messes I have made! And cleaned up, too. It’s a neverending process at first, and, over time, the more one practices the easiest such practices become.

“Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love but in reality, love is the only thing in the world that covers up all the pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in the world that does not hurt.” – Liam Neeson

So, yeah, listen up. Love doesn’t stop. Who turned it off? Stop pretending. Do the fucking work. Stay with the pain. Transmute it with breath and blood. Face me. Let me face you. Choose to keep on loving no matter what. Awaken into the Oneness we once shared and, yes, still exists. Whether or not you believe in Twin Flames and the Twin Flame blues is up to you, and besides, doesn’t change what we had felt so true. Keep the fire burning before the last flame blazes out taking with it every precious memory of what was & what almost could have been.

 

William Dudley Bass
Thursday 10 August 2017
SeaTac/Seattle, Washington
Cascadia

NOTE: The quoted statement from Liam Neeson was borrowed from Wild Earth @ http://wild-earth.tumblr.com/post/136230670895/everyone-says-love-hurts-but-that-is-not-true.

The image of the red dragon & heart is a Free Download from Public Domain Pictures, License CCO Public Domain, @ http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4445&picture=dragon-heart.

This essay/cry out was first published to my Facebook page on the evening of Thursday the 10th of August 2017.

Copyright © 2017 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

 

Videos for Rose

There’s a story behind these videos. Both are personal and initially intended to be private. As I’m a beginner with handheld videos, these are, from any professional and even personal viewpoint, terrible in quality. They are shaky, unedited, and thus raw as Hell. Even so, I’m sharing them. Doing so is, for me, a breakthru in shame and embarrassment, of breaking thru mental barriers of not-looking-good, not-sounding-smooth, and worrying about what others may think. Toss all that crap. Yes! Even so, I feel shy in making these videos. My hearing impairment’s there. My speech impediment is there. The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) injuries from long ago gradually worsen over time and increasingly affects the ability to open my jaws properly to speak. Still, I go for it anyway, damn my own fears.

Besides, these videos are not for me. I wouldn’t put them up except to get those videos to someone special who lives far away more than halfway “down” the planet. She is one of the most amazing, inspiring, funny, romantic, and eccentric women I have ever met. We are so much alike with so many unexpected and startling synchronicities we wonder if those esoteric spiritual descriptions of Twin Flames are true. Seems so for us, anyway. Especially as we met by accident in such a fantastical way with mindboggling results. So of course the possibility of us being Twin Flames feels real for us. Besides, even if Twin Flames are more of a mythic fable, it doesn’t matter for we are both at choice to choose the next step together…or apart…moment to moment.

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