Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stagecoach NOLA to "Rolling Thunder"

We protect our ambitions for life with both defensive and offensive stratigies. It is good to have the judgment to know when to pull back and prepare for an onslaught; and also to know when to push forward and maintain the momentum of the attack.
My year started out with a short campagin of seven weeks of winter outdoor recreation in the mountains of Colorado and the canyons of Utah. The past two months following that trip were highly defensive, as I saved money and prepared for the coming push. I knew Jamey and myself were to be heading to New Mexico for our photographic odyssey and that shortly after that I would be back at the Ocoee River. I needed to prepare and now I'm here back at Ocoee reflecting on how I got here again.

The StageCoachNOLA trip was a huge success. Although I have yet to see the fantastic photos (and I know they will be) from Jamey, I can confidently say it was one of the cleanest trips I have ever led. The weather and timing was perfect and the progression of sites/sights was on point. The trip will serve as a landmark and example of how I should conduct like trips in the future.

SCNOLA, was a bit of a different trip for me. It was an aggressive campaign, requiring more logistics then usual. Normally, when I go out alone for 10+days I will spend an extended amount of that time in one area and rarely move. I enjoy building a connection to a place, but on this trip we rarely spent 24 hours in one location. We jumped from greater Palo Duro Canyon-> Santa Fe ->Bandelier/Valles Caldera -> Bisti/De na Zin ->Chaco Canyon->Albuquerque ->Valley of FIre -> White Sands -> Carlsbad. Jamey had never seen New Mexico and the trip was an oppertunity to see the great diversity of the state.

For myself the SCNOLA trip was another chance to try to grow mentally and spiritually. The pivotal moment for myself was our visit to the Basilica of St Francis in Santa Fe. St. Francis was one of my personally favorite saints in the Catholic pantheon. Growing up in New Orleans it is hard to not be raised Catholic and not learn a thing or two about the faith.

St. Francis of Assisi was known for his ability to communicate with and understand nature. He could speak to animals and see God in their beauty and hear their songs as glorifications of the creator. Even to this day the stories are exciting to hear, but what struck me was a plate inscribed with the prayer of St Francis from the Canticle of the Sun.

I have been struggling lately with some of my relationships. In someways I have been feeling I am taking more than I'm giving and the prayer of St. Francis, a prayer I used to recite so often as a child, was all I needed to break free from these feelings of selfishness and pride. It was a slap in the face reminder of where I have come from and a source of direction for the future. The visit to the basilica was early on in the trip and this prayer stayed in my mind in an almost constant recitation.

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

Yes, this is what I needed. I needed to ask why should I want when I can give, why should I worry when I can love.

It was an odd spoil of war. The prayer was there deep in the caverns of Carlsbad, it was with me admits the white dunes, it was with me on the lava fields. At Chaco I looked out at the ruins and could only think about how much we need peace as everything crumbles, we need hope, we need faith. A slight moment of personal growth but strong enough to give momentum. Momentum that I need to keep right now.

The summer campaign is not over. StageCoach NOLA is moving into "Rolling Thunder". It is still early season here at the river, we have less than 15 people here. Over the next few weeks we are going to get in about 30 more and this year many of them will be new. I'm being trained on the Olympic course from the 1996 Atlanta games and will probably begin training to be a trip leader. To meet these challenges I need the momentum.


If you want to see more photos of the trip check out Jamey's Blog and this album

No comments:

Post a Comment