Saturday, August 21, 2010

Past Hiking

I don't go hiking any more. I'm past that. I don't climb mountains. Instead I send my friends.

I have climbed - "I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That's plumb full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming
With the peace of the world piled on top. "

Robert Service, "The Spell of the Yukon"

But I'm past that too, now I take my joy from seeing the good that hiking and mountains can bring to those I seek to serve.

Here, next year's Loll Rangers and their guides head out to learn the trail across the Teton Crest.

I send them off into the mountains to learn what they must know to serve. Of course they have a great time on their way.

They learn how to cook.

All these tools and technequies were taught to us by Kim Bott, who got joy from sharing his secrets. Now we share them with all we take into the wilderness. It is an important part of the adventure.

The guys learn a lot of things - and become even better men.

Real men, like Rambo and Peeambo. All the Way.

Can you tell which is the Teton, and which is the Ranger?

They are on a trail in order to learn to lead.

They reach many summits.

They follow many secret ways.

They share the wonder, so they can share the wonder.

This picture of Bane Berries is meaningful to me.

At Round Table and to the Staff, I tell the story of "The Huckleberry Patch". I was once eating huckleberries on the hill above the waterfront trail. A group of scouts came by on the trail below. I called them up and offered them a hand full of berries. Of course, these were kids who had been taught what to to if a skanky old man offers them treats in the forest and I couldn't get any to try. I ate four or five demonstration models before one boy finally tried a huckleberry, the look on his face was all it took; they grazed till dark. The huckleberry is the best tasting of all fruits, the fruit found in the Celestial Kingdom where all things are perfect. But here on earth not all berries are for eating. The bane berry will kill you, so whenever you teach boys about huckleberries you have to warn them about bane berries too. It's the same with hiking in the wilderness, once you send boys into the wilderness they will be hooked for life, but when you give them the wanderlust, you must also teach them how to survive, and how to make sure the wilderness survives as well.

I have often discussed the infinite beauty of the world. Seen as a whole, from God's point of view, it is glorious and beautiful. I have seen that view of just our earth, in a picture taken from space. It is beautiful. A Mountain Range is beautiful, so is a mountain.

A canyon is beautiful and full of beauty.

Mountains and the Moon.

Ice and snow - still deep in mid August -

melt to form lakes,


and streams to beautify and give variety to the earth.

A meadow full of flowers is beautful.

So is a mountain side covered with them.

A patch of wild flowers, a garden planted by the gods.

"I have many beautiful flowers," said the Giant, "but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all." Oscar Wilde, "The Selfish Giant"

Even as a field of flowers is a wonder to see, so is every flower in itself. Beauty is made of beauty on every level, like truth and goodness.

Each blossom is its own ideal form.

All different, all beautiful.

The medium with which the master "paints" is as perfect in its parts as it is in its whole.

The world, one galaxy, one solar system, one planet, one range, one mountain, one sidehill, one grove, one batch of flowers, one blossom; if we could see one atom, we would know it is beautiful too.

"Where a star of a soul, is a part of the whole and weft in the wonderous plan."
Robert Service, "The Three Voices"

Beasts too: lions, and tigers, and bears - oh my!

I love pika.

Seton tells us that at the end of every trail of tracks is the animal who made them.

The moose, the moose.

Thus, I vicariously travel the forest trails and climb the mountains. I find greater pleasure in the happy homecoming of "my guys" than they do on the mountain top. And next year, when they lead a group of Scouts through the beauty of the Tetons, I will taste the joy of their service, and they will taste the joy of mine. It is just another beautiful truth.