Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blovolution: A Spiritual Ontogenesis

It's probably become apparent at this point that I am striving to journey beyond the more typical kayak blog content and journal about bigger things in life.  I feel like the deeper an understanding you gain of the places where your passions live,  the greater extent to which you are able to see how it relates to everything else.   With these means one can progress towards a balanced end where one facet of your life benefits others, and vice-versa.  To achieve balance you have to let the waters settle.  And once they settle, the resultant tranquility is happiness.  It took a while to realize that even though I love kayaking, the relationship between how much I paddle and how happy I am does not produce as simple a curve as I had originally thought.

A harmonious life is not pursued through excessive attempts to fulfill all of your superficial desires at every instance.  Our wants can, without consideration of context and purposeful regulation, stretch ourselves thin and weary as if strapped to the rack, though in the moment they may seem key to the cause of our own existence.  Self control is the only way to experience harmony, and through it there are moments of conflict and confusion as you tune down the tension on the strings.  But through the process of letting our selfish whims pass us by when the time isn't right, we allow parts of ourselves that we didn't know existed to come to the surface, and change us.  I don't think you need to spend years sitting in a cave to feel this transformation, and luckily for me, having a son was just the catalyst to accelerate my own discovery of the idea of balance.  Some are born with this wisdom, but others never find it.  I'm grateful the apple fell from the tree for me when it did.

It's a peculiar feeling when you realize that the most important things in your life are rather common with respect to the rest of the human world.  Afterall, most everyone has some type of family.  How can the most precious and valuable thing be so abundant?  Yet I suspect that kayakers, particularly the full time hard paddlers, draw much of their self worth and feelings of accomplishment from the fact that they are doing things that few have done, while living life on such a delicate and brilliant thread.  I only think that because I have identified myself in such ways and perhaps still do to some degree.  There is a beautiful power to this idea, to be on the interface between the human element and that which was here before us and holds nothing but indifference to our existence in it's midst.  Who wants to suffocate in the middle of the sphere of humanity, smothered by the warmth, when we could be floating through the cold, lonely, great unknown, riding the peak of adventure, sharing it with a few other hardy souls?

Having a son changed all of this.  I can see my dad in me, and myself in my son, and through this four dimensional perspective of my position on the tree, I feel changed.  I am more than me.  I am we.  I am part of the human chain of life.  That is a wave worth surfing.  To be able to communicate ideas and share experience with humankind is the lynchpin that allows all the endeavoring we involve ourselves in to be of any worth beyond just burning time.  Family is our deepest connection to the whole thing.  It is where we have come from and where we will go, and who we will share it with.  And I am happy to say that everything else is just that; everything else.
Simply put, as your life changes, what's important changes.  With that comes different conversations, and different directions to aim your camera.  This blog is evolving, and I look forward to the new directions it will take in the future.  There is so much more that is worth discussing.

With that, here are some shots from a recent family outing in the Red River Gorge area in Central Kentucky.

Little guy, Little fish.

Red River Gorge

Alexander was really into climbing for about a month.  Hopefully he will keep his interest, though he is now at the skate park everyday working on his "ollie".

Ready to climb!

Friction Slab in the gorge.

A little bouldering

Our climbing trips typically involve more hanging than climbing.

The next weekend was the joint Reinholds/Red Barron bachelor party, which was a glorious weekend involving drunken ultimate frisbee canoeing on the Nantahala, a floatilla party on Santeetlah, and swimming on Slickrock Creek. It was great to give Nick a break from the city life in Chicago.  

No floatbags, no problem.

One of many re-hydration breaks 

As Carlin would say, he's a happy camper.

Alex Thatcher, Best Man.

Despite the prowess shown in this shot, they got destroyed at the falls.  Alex got "rescued" by a guy in a playboat, which was rather entertaining.

The usual suspects

A flattering shot of the Son of Dod, in his swaddling clothing

Even though Nik Haase is too cool for Knoxville, he made an appearance, at grave cost to his street cred back in Asheville.

Where's that bacon?


The morning after.....

Was gorgeous

The Hammer

Nick going for the marrow at Wildcat Falls

Too late to change your mind now.

Swimming pool blue  

Nick in the middle tier of the falls

Along with a cold blooded relative


Preparation for the festivities

Backyard Wedding


The boys dancing

Nick and Nichole cutting into some seriously tasty vegan cake.

Way past bedtime

First dance.  

The wedding went off without a hitch, although it started to rain for the first time in five weeks about five minutes before the ceremony.  Luckily Nick and Nichole have great attitudes and waited patiently until the rain was reduced to a light sprinkle.  A good time was had by all, and I wish the newlyweds the best.

Nick and Nichole's wedding was but one of a slew of weddings this summer.  While a few have already happened, there are still a few more this fall.  Congratulations and Best Wishes to Drew and Stacey, Andy and Susanna, Nick and Nichole, Clay and Denita, Nick and Courtney, and Adam and Anna.  It's great to see so much love floating around.  

After five weeks of not boating, Tropical Depression 13 came in on the heels of the wedding and before we knew it, Tropical Storm Lee was hammering the southern appalachians.  The less you get out, the more you appreciate it.  This creates a win-win situation in life, and I was thrilled to get a chance to paddle the little at dusk, followed by the Raven Fork the following evening.  This was Steve Krajewski's first run on the Raven, and I did my best to show him good lines.  It was really fun to be there for his first run.  He killed it out there.

Gearing up around 4pm, hoping to get it done before dark.

I swear the leaves are already changing in there.  The water was Tea green.

Steve on Razorback

We had 12 inches in there, which ended up being a great first time level for Steve.

Every season is amazing in the Raven.  September has a beauty of its own, with yellow accents here and there where the leaves are just starting to change.

Mortal Combat

What a great place to be.

It was kinda dark in here at this point, which added to the intensity.

The epic boof on the centerline at Wet Willy.

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