Devo's Blog

Monday, April 17, 2006

I wanna' be a dirtbag

So I spent nine days in Leavenworth attending a Wilderness First Responder course offered by Rescue Specialists. It was great - great course, excellent instruction and good company. There were 18 students total with varying backgrounds - boaters, climbers, guides, teachers - and ages - 20's through late 30's. We gelled well - a positive, adventurous and supportive vibe ran through the group all week. Everyone got into the materials and simulations and hung out together in the evenings, relaxing, goofing around and studying. I spent our off day climbing with several compadres in the Icicle - we had a blast. That evening we all got together for a potluck and movies and had a fun time together. I really enjoyed the whole experience and was sad to see it end.

Ever been in a situation, a place or with a group of people where you were extremely comfortable - where there was a commonality, a connection, a karma that just sank into you? I felt some of that last week. We were a bunch of enthusiastic, outdoor-loving dirtbags hanging out, enjoying each other's stories and sharing our love for adventure and excitement. Money didn't matter, status didn't matter, education didn't matter. All that mattered was that we loved the outdoors so much that we were willing to live in a way that gave us the freedom to enjoy it as best we could. It's a different way of living; there's not much security. Like the wilderness, the rewards can be great but the risks are always present. There's no free lunch - it's hard work making a living where the jobs are mostly seasonal and you often have to bounce from gig to gig.

It's this kind of uncertainty that's held me back. Despite all the risks inherent in climbing, I'm a rather conservative guy. I don't like to make mistakes. I spend a great deal of time and energy planning the choices I make. I struggle with self doubt and an overdose of responsibility. But here I am, preparing to shred the trappings of a secure life and step onto a new path - one with more unknowns than knowns - and possibly more rewards. All I know is that I need to try. Despite my misgivings, it feels natural and my week with my WFR buds only confirmed it. When I returned to Everett on Sunday I felt oddly out of place - in foreign territory. I wasn't home. I want to be out there - wherever there is - wherever I can find the freedom of the outdoors and comrades of my ilk. I'm ready to be a dirtbag.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read this post I saw who you really are. There is a way, hold the course.
Compromise, of course, there always is, but it is how you compromise that counts. Does the "co-promise" help you toward being you? Toward following your heart? These are the questions that must be answered by your inner voice and yes, I know you ask that voice continually. I could write more but I will leave you with these words from The Eagles album Hotel California and the song of the same name and I quote,

"We are all just prisoners here of our own device".

Climb on my friend, you have more belays then you can possibly know.

Peace my Friend


7:31 PM  

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