My Topography

(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)


Two things prompt this reflection.

First, I am thinking and praying about participating in an organization that promotes spiritual development through outdoor adventures. So I ask myself what part outdoor adventure has played in my own development? Did hiking and climbing mountains alone and with friends lay the groundwork for spiritual growth? If so, how?

Second, I was preparing some photos to help me tell the story of “The Road of No Return.” This was a mountain climbing trip with my great friend Darol. When I was 52, he and I revisited a mountain area where we had climbed 17 years earlier. In the intervening years, wisdom had traded places with strength. To put it another way, strength had migrated from my feet to my head! I have a vivid memory of seeing our car in the valley below, and of the seemingly interminable trek down the mountain road to reach that car. How could it hurt so much to reach something we could see with our own eyes?

Note: I’m not suggesting that the reflection in the image is one of profound understanding. It’s simply a recognition that places and experiences affect how we think about the world. They form a map in our brains… sometimes, a topo map.

#mountainadventures #spiritualgrowth #spiritualformation #learningwithfriends

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