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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Going Alone on 10/13/2011 23:12:22 MDT Print View

High, high from the summit of the peak,
Whatever way I look, no limit in sight!
No one knows I am sitting here alone.
A solitary moon shines in the cold spring.
Here in the spring---this is not the moon.
The moon is where it always is---in the sky above.
And though I sing this one little song,
In the song there is no Zen.
(Han Shan)

__________________________________________________________________________


My time is punctuated by the ringing of bells.

Five minute warning bell: 8:00AM. One minute warning bell: 8:04 AM. Tardy bell, first period begins: 8:05 AM. More bells, more warnings. Second, Third...Lunch...

I am a high school teacher. I know exactly what time I go to the restroom every day.

In many ways I find it strangely monastic; the ringing bell calls the monks to the meditation hall, the ringing bell later freeing them to reenter the world.

Tomorrow, after my final bell, instead of sitting on a freeway to get home to family, I'm going somewhere else. I'm not sure where. My gas tank is full and my pack is in the car.

Empty running shoes sit in the back, untied.

I'm thinking I'll drive North and hike passed dark. Somewhere close to a river, off to find a cold spring of my own, beside which I'll gaze at the moon (raising a toast to Han Shan, somewhere out there on his Cold Mountain).

I don't want company.

I don't need company.

I don't need a book or music or any other distractions.

I want to stop in a town I don't know and buy beer from a store I've never been in.

I need quiet. I need a sky of branches and stars and space above me, a small bed of coals to contemplate as my eyes grow weary...Wait, don't go to bed yet, savor it. Strong black coffee at first light, boiled from stream water, and an apple as I later begin to walk.

No logistical complications, no coordination or calculations, no expectations. Alone time. Slow, quiet time. Dreamtime.

Time to remember what it is that I've forgotten.

Edited by xnomanx on 10/13/2011 23:15:02 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Going Alone on 10/13/2011 23:18:13 MDT Print View

Beautiful

Sounds magical

May you find what you seek, and discover the unexpected.

Have a rad weekend Craig!

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
Going Alone on 10/13/2011 23:46:15 MDT Print View

It's rare to be alone for more than a few hours. Many go through life never experiencing this. I adapt to it quickly. Ego shuts off. It's there, but without social structures and blinking lights and unnatural noise, it sleeps. Time stops becoming this numerical thing and is measured by hunger, energy level, and the sun. After a few days, the city is a foggy memory and hard to believe in.

While ego sleeps, thought takes on a whole new dimension. Beauty so much more personal. Emotions are put on an even keel. Things just are as they are, as preconcieved notions shatter. It's close to psychedelic bliss, or a deep meditative trance. It allows spiritual enlightenment to naturally flow, until the ego is redistributed, then saturates as you approach your vehicle.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

Edited by sparky on 10/14/2011 00:09:46 MDT.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Going Alone on 10/14/2011 15:49:28 MDT Print View

Have a good break. Next week for me.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Going Alone on 10/14/2011 17:15:25 MDT Print View

"High, high from the summit of the peak,
Whatever way I look, no limit in sight!
No one knows I am sitting here alone.
A solitary moon shines in the cold spring.
Here in the spring---this is not the moon.
The moon is where it always is---in the sky above.
And though I sing this one little song,
In the song there is no Zen.
(Han Shan)"

Memories, memories, and anticipation of memories yet to come.

"I'm thinking I'll drive North and hike passed dark. Somewhere close to a river, off to find a cold spring of my own, beside which I'll gaze at the moon (raising a toast to Han Shan, somewhere out there on his Cold Mountain).

I don't want company.

I don't need company.

I don't need a book or music or any other distractions.

I want to stop in a town I don't know and buy beer from a store I've never been in.

I need quiet. I need a sky of branches and stars and space above me, a small bed of coals to contemplate as my eyes grow weary...Wait, don't go to bed yet, savor it. Strong black coffee at first light, boiled from stream water, and an apple as I later begin to walk.

No logistical complications, no coordination or calculations, no expectations. Alone time. Slow, quiet time. Dreamtime.

Time to remember what it is that I've forgotten."

Eloquently expressed, Craig, and to the heart of what motivates some of us to wander is remote places. Alone.

Thank you.

Edited by ouzel on 10/14/2011 17:16:04 MDT.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Well said. on 10/14/2011 18:44:15 MDT Print View

Nothing more really to add.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Going Alone on 10/14/2011 18:51:59 MDT Print View

"Time to remember what it is that I've forgotten."

More of us could benefit in doing that...

Nice.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Going Alone on 10/16/2011 11:47:00 MDT Print View

The trip report for this little getaway is now here:

http://sweepingthegarden.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/alone-on-the-sespe-1014-152011/

David Adair
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Going Alone on 10/16/2011 18:14:22 MDT Print View

Thanks much, that's some entertaining reading.
By accident, I once camped about 30 feet from a big coyote den. Must have been located down wind because I was treated to a full on coyote opera. They can make some unreal noises. My dog didn't make a peep. He must know he is fat and delicious.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Going Alone on 10/17/2011 18:58:26 MDT Print View

Very nice, Craig. Solitude - highly recommended!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Going Alone on 10/17/2011 19:25:33 MDT Print View

Thank you.

I assume the terrible noises were coyote, though I've never heard anything like it before...

I know you're generally a solitary desert mammal Nick, but I'd love to do a desert trip with you soon, especially after seeing some of the photos you posted in another thread. I can't imagine it'll be too long before San Jacinto is snowed in for some winter hiking....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Going Alone on 10/17/2011 20:55:42 MDT Print View

Craig,

I sent you a note. I am ready.

Johnny Duke
(jd1987) - F
Re: Re: Going Alone on 10/24/2011 09:54:04 MDT Print View

I've really enjoyed reading this thread. I got chill bumps and a warm fuzzy feeling. Ive been recovering from injuries and what not and am so excited to get back out in the woods for real. Thanks guys.

Sam Ridge
(samridge817)

Locale: North Carolina
awesome stuff on 11/20/2011 22:32:01 MST Print View

I really like this thread. Its good to be alone for a while. "I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Craig Savage
(tremelo) - F

Locale: San Jacinto Mountains
Going Alone on 11/20/2011 22:51:41 MST Print View

san jacinto has gotten an inch in the last hour. have fun!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Going Alone on 11/21/2011 07:50:53 MST Print View

Nice write-up, Craig. A couple more miles and you could have enjoyed your IPA at Willets.