Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tell Me..

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”                               
This quote from Mary Oliver stopped my world for a moment the other day.

This succinct and very forthright question spoke to me more than the ten million other wordy inspirational quotes I hear and see all the time. Its poignancy and simplicity has left me thinking for the last three days about what I plan to do with my one, wild and precious life.

I have always been a planner in the sense that I like to form a basic blueprint of what I want to do. It starts when I read about or see pictures of a trail, hot springs or a mountain that I want to explore or summit. For example, I decided to snowshoe 18 miles into a backcountry hut in Jasper, Alberta. As I began to think about the details of the blueprint, my hut trip ended up involving a primitive hot springs hike in Montana, a trip into a hut by Mystic Lake, the exploration of a Canadian glacier(umm, WOW), a night in an unstaffed backcountry hostel, and then I continued on to the original hut. All these “additions” were conveniently located on the way to my original destination. As I was sitting by the fire, lighting candles in the ultra remote, snowdrift covered hut, I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that, once again, I had taken a simple blueprint and put my own epic spin on it.

That’s so me, though. Some struggle to understand the desire to add more to the blueprint. Isn’t enough, well, enough? I guess my response is to think of it as the granite countertop or HDTV upgrade. In my world, the hot springs are the nicer countertops, the glacier is the HDTV. Ironic that I use that analogy, because neither is important to me in the least. My experiences and the images of remote places that remain in my soul are what I want to accumulate rather than material luxuries. Every year, newer, better and nicer things will be offered for part of one’s paycheck. But the panoramic view of the San Juans on a brisk September morning from the summit of Mt. Sneffels trumps anything my paycheck has ever purchased.
By no means am I putting a judgmental twist on my writing. I am certain that epic adventures by foot, by bike or by crampon and ice axe are my drug of choice, but am not contending that all should have the same “drug.” True, I do tend to connect with and be attracted to those who share a large part of my passion, but one of the things I love most about humanity is our diversity, because it leads to growth and discovery.
And I also love to see passion for one’s “blueprint” overflow in his or her words and actions.
So what is your passion?
What do you want to do with your one, wild and precious life?
DO IT. Find a way. Step out of the safety harness for a minute.
Julien Smith’s latest blog post pertains exactly: “Your decisions are costing you, silently, every day, and you are putting things off because it is in our nature not to fear things which are far in the future."

Ok, so I am back from my rambling side tangent to the question with which I began this blog:
Tell me, (Jill), what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? This is a BOLD step because there is always the risk of failing…BUT to the notion of failure, I give the big middle finger (two of them, in fact). I don’t use that f-word at all. I recently “pulled the plug” and gave up a lot of material things in my life to throw it all into my dream. I have removed some of the many irons in the fire and narrowed my focus. My list is currently being refined and tweaked and probably always will in some way or another, but stay tuned in the next day or two as it is almost ready to be thrown down on a blog post.

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