IT’S NOT EASY running a new independent publishing imprint dedicated to wild nature when wild nature itself calls. Talk about distractions! There are a thousand and one details I ought to be taking care of to make certain that The Earth Beneath My Feet doesn’t sink without a trace when I launch it on June 1st… but how can I sit before my computer screen when the Colorado foothills outside my window are wrapped in snow and are gleaming beneath a bluebird sky?
Truth is, I can’t. And if I did, the words in my upcoming book wouldn’t mean a thing. I live for what’s going on Out There, not for what needs doing in here. Nature will always come before work, even if ‘work’ happens to be a labor of love.
For that reason, I was out and about a great deal last week. Each morning brought fresh snow and a world transformed, and each afternoon bought a thaw and another complete transformation. Each day the seasons see-sawed from winter to spring and then back to winter. The afternoon sunlight and warmth were pleasant enough, but it was the morning cold that most caught my attention, and especially the ice.
For this blog, I’ll let the photographs do most of the talking. I’ve included a few photos of the big views, but far more of the details, especially of the ice. As you’ll see (if you have patience to keep scrolling through – and I don’t blame you if you don’t!) the icy details were something else. But perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise. The details of nature are always ‘something else’ – when one takes the time to stop and look at them. Look close, look hard and it’ll soon be clear: there is no ordinary!
The week finished with my 15th night out of the year, an attempted bivi on a summit at 11,700 feet. Two weeks ago I blogged about how wonderful and liberating it is to sleep without a tent, and how connected to nature it lets me feel. Oh, and also how incredibly comfortable it is! Well, this week’s night out was the opposite of all that – which was inevitable I suppose. Nature has a way of taking cocky humans down a notch or two! The snowbound summit was a benign place when I arrived late afternoon, but by 10 p.m. it had became an unpleasant cauldron of wind and stinging spindrift. At 2 a.m., still unable to sleep from the wind’s roar, from the crazy flapping of gear, and from constantly inhaling snow, I finally bailed, and retreated for the valley, a humbler mountain camper by far.
I think it’s fair to say that nature gave me a powerful dose of reality. It put in my place, reminded me who was boss. But this was not a bad thing. A dose of reality seldom is.
To see and experience reality is one of the top reasons I head into nature. Even of sometimes I have to retreat from it.