anything but mediocre

mediocre- of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 

There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 

There is society, where none intrudes, 

By the deep sea, and music in its roar: 

I love not man the less, but Nature more.

photos from my trip on the JMT

The grand show is eternal

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I wrote this recently after a 100 mile backpack trip though the Eastern Sierras. 

“The grand show is eternal” John Muir once said.   And a show it truly is.  The ebb and flow of seasons, the meltdown and freezing of water, the sunrises and sunsets, the birth, the decay, the growth, the struggle, the death, the very spinning of our planet, is a show put on by Mother Nature herself. 

There few places where we as humans are able to witness the true unrefined show of Mother Nature’s power.  These places a few of us seek out and travel to.  We seek to be humbled by Mother Nature, and her unequivocal knack for aweing her spectators.  Although we often find salvation in these places of wonderment, Mother Nature is quick to remind us of her strength:  A forest meadow with trees from the slope above strewn about as if they were pick up sticks, the rumble of a rockslide, the exposed roots of an upheaved giant from a devastating avalanche, debris high in branches showing a now calm river’s potential of swell and fury.  She tolerates us; and shares her bright bouquets of wildflowers. She speaks to us in the voices of the babbling brooks, provides places to bathe in the cool gem colored water to refresh our souls.  She gives us soft green meadows to lay our heads, and bright stars to give us light and comfort us in the night.  She inspires us to achieve great heights with her awesome crags and peaks.  She sends company when we are lonely in the footprints of deer, the chirping of birds and the jumping of the trout.  And in the same breath, she can flex her power and show us breathtaking and formidable lightning storms with thunder so impressive it is as if she has set a stampede loose. 

We go to these remote and magnificent places to “get away from it all”.  However, the heart-stirring moments we encounter that Mother Nature has set forth for us actually reminds us of our own humanity.  It is easy to see how vulnerable we have become in this indoor life.  When she drops the temperature, our warm-blooded bodies are exposed to the task of maintaining homeostasis against the elements.  Simple exposure can turn deadly at any point in these remote outcroppings of Mother Nature’s wilderness.  However, these moments of susceptibility provide us an avenue to become keenly aware of our surroundings.  After a cold night, we appreciate the utter relief of the sunrise,  turning our faces towards the sun as warmth pours over us.  Conversely, the shade of a tree or rock can provide repose from the same Sun we longed for in the morning, that now beats down relentlessly.  We learn to appreciate food in our bellies after a long day in the wild, the quench of water when are thirsty, the heat of a fire, the comfort of silence and our own thoughts, and above all, the restorative properties of Mother Nature’s wilderness.  These experiences must push us to protect our wild and generous Mother.  

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”- John Muir

All photos taken on my last backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierras. 

For the happy couple

Recently I had the honor of writing a piece for my dear friends Megan and Brody Peterson’s wedding.  I thought I would share it here:

As I stand here a look at the the mountains that surround us, I can only say how fitting that Megan and Brody have chosen such a venue.  Mountains are so prominent in both of their lives, with Brody being brought up in mountainous Colorado , and Megan’s up bringing that cultivated a passion for snowboarding and mountain adventuring with family and friends. 

Here in these mountains, I see so many parallels between the love we are here to celebrate and these beautiful crags that surround us.   Megan and Brody, your love is eternal and timeless, and as with the mountains, together you witness many seasons.

There will be winters-  long dark nights that will test your limits.  The mountains weather these harsh winters and withstand the storms.  As will you two.  You will stand together as a united front, sheltering each other for the rest of eternity.  These hard winter storms will give way to dazzling clear days surrounded by diamonds that shine brilliantly as you sail across the flakes together.  Your love is like these crystalline structures that fall upon the mountain, distinct and unique.

There will be many Springs to share.  Oh sweet Spring, characterized by new and abundant life on the mountain. You two will bring new life.  Your love will blossom just as the spring wildflowers stretch towards the sun in their brightest dislplay on the mountain side. 

 Summer is the time of adventure and play, two things that your relationship will always be full of.  You will share laughter as you make memories together during these time of lighthearted splendor.

 Autumn is a time of transition in the mountains.  Autumn’s colorful transformation signifies the many life shifts that you will encounter  In these times, you will see the splendor and wonderment that change can bring. 

  As the  Seasons change the mountain, your love will grow and change throughout the years as well.  The perpetual flux of the seasons on the mountain keeps our lives interesting. 

You have made the choice to be like these mountains, you will stand together against the test of time.  Your love forged in stone, everlasting, enduring and ever-changing.

Together you will scale summits, step by step, earning the spectacular views and moments you will encounter throughout the years together.    

I love you both, and I look forward to watching your journey unfold.  

Tired | ee cummings


You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired. So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

we just want to have a good time.

all. the. time.

(Source: Spotify)

yerp. perdy good study music. 

(Source: Spotify)

Killing it.

themoderndaygoldrush:

Thank you Ellie for this wonderful bit of musical pleasure.  This is the combination of one of my favoriate vocalists and one of my favorite songs of the past couple years.  Its perfect, Ellie does a wonderful job covering a complex track from Alt-J. 

Doesn’t get much better than this.  Super stripped down, ethereal and haunting.   I even enjoy the dirty sax. 

single shot music video.  beautiful