Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Silver Linings


I have had a pretty amazing life.  I get down on myself and stuck in ruts, but when I have the opportunity to pause and reflect I can see a lifetime of incredible experiences.  I have not squandered my youth.
The downtimes kill me.  I bore easily.  When I was in my late teens and early twenties I became disgusted with myself and my cohorts at the continual bemoanings about the lack of things to do around our hometown.  I went out and found things to do.  Somewhere in my middle twenties I remember having the distinct thought that I hadn’t been bored in ages.  I had taken up photography.  I tried pitifully back then to write.  I was out finding experiences to write about and just didn’t have a good store of them yet.
In the mid-nineties I hiked my heart out.  I learned to rock climb.  I had a brief stint as a whitewater paddler.  I’ve moved on beyond those activities and have been a father, a husband, a long distance cyclist, an armchair mountaineer no more, and so many other things. 
Having carried a camera with me on most of my adventures has been a blessing.  I have a great memory for places and space, but my memories tend to wash out.  Having photographic reminders of my journeys has continually freshened those memories and keeps me cognizant of just how much I’ve seen and done in my life.  There are so many memories I try to hold onto that I don’t have photos of, or the photos have decayed over time.  When I first moved into digital photography I didn’t archive well and I have a lot of 60kb photos that would be amazing if I had the originals still.
This past weekend I spent a lot of time on the couch looking at photos on my external hard drive.  I came across a lot of “lost” photos.  Memories of our time in Colorado flooded my brainmaze, and oddly enough I wasn’t saddened like I feared I would be.  Maybe I’m starting to find a place in Kentucky once again.  Or maybe I’m just hopeful that I’ll get past the funk I’ve been in and things will get back on track soon.
What I mean by that is that it seems we’ve ben spinning our wheels a bit the past year.  And maybe that’s deceptive because all throughout life I’ve had pretty amazing adventures all-the-while thinking I was spinning my wheels.
The photos that follow really only represent the past few years.  I don't have good digital photos from before we moved to Colorado.  I still have a lot of prints in boxes somewhere, but I don't have a good way to scan and upload them.  Gotta sort that out.

I guess the point of this is twofold: first, go out and have adventures!  That's key.  But next is take along a camera.  Don't forget to snap the shutter at those most inopportune moments.  There have been times I felt the camera was an intrusion into my life.  But so often it's just this fixture that I swing around snapping off images at will.  Occasionally I capture moments that resound throughout my life.  Sometimes I even evoke strong images in my own heart.  And I was there!

In my life I've met some pretty amazing people.  Famous mountaineer Conrad Anker walked into the shop where I worked and chatted with me for a couple hours once.  We met Ron Kauk and got his autograph on a poster of him we had at the time.  I've met mountain biking legends, been within arms reach of a Tour de France winner (who actually autographed Boone's cycling cap and talked to him for a few minutes), and I've testified in the Colorado State Capitol in opposition of a ban on bicycles on state roads.

Mandy and I visited Ground Zero in the summer of 2002.  We climbed at the Gunks.  I've ridden my bike up the highest paved road in North America, and I've seen the "Mork and Mindy house" in Boulder, Colorado.  I've talked with Dylan Klebold's mom on the phone.  I've argued with a TV news anchor.  I've been interviewed for a radio program because I'm an expert. I've been the subject of a magazine article.  Heck, I've even been on TV a couple of times!

The photos that follow aren't my most amazing or most relevant.  But as a collection they've made me realize that I have been fortunate to do so many incredible things, and I'm thankful I dragged the DSLR along even when it was inconvenient.  Deep down I am just a photographer at heart.  Forget writing, blogging, cycling, etc, etc.  I see things and I want to share them.  If I put my mind to it I could develop this talent into something great.  I've known that all along.  I just keep forgetting to put it into practice. 
Boone and I discovered this old mining cabin on the slopes of Alps Mountain

This cool chapel is off the Peak-to-Peak Highway and in the shadow of Longs Peak.

New Year's Eve in Denver, 2009

On the Switzerland Trail

First bikepacking trip with the kids

Following fox tracks in the snow

Near Turtleback Arch, Clifty Wilderness

Tomahawk on Furnace Mountain

Chicago pano

South Park from Bison Peak

My first bike tour

Fresh pavement in the Red River Gorge

Mountain biking in Buffalo Creek

Mountaineer's peace

Tallest mountain I've climbed

Getting to know Kim

Indian Peaks

Summiting one of the "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America"

Surreal

 
 

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