Winter Solstice Musings

   “Let us try to recognize the precious nature of each day.”  – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Dear Ones,   Once again autumn’s colors have turned the star-wheel and winter’s faded light is upon us.  At this quiet time of the year, Nature’s ancient rhythms trace a bending arc toward rest, reflection and renewal.

As I write this, the glistening winter trees in my yard are graced by the afternoon’s slanting sun and they stand steadfast watching over a haloed and troubled world.     

There were some very lonely times this year,  but there was also a deep connection with a wonderful  caring community of people that blessed my life.…I have so much gratitude for all of the kindness, support and assistance that I received over the year.   A close friend stayed with me for over a week after my total knee replacement surgery in February.   Over 30 caring and compassionate people volunteered to bring me food or drive me to an appointment while I was recovering and rehabbing. Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you to all of the kind souls that helped. 

It has been said that “Long distance hiking is simple and difficult, humbling and empowering, suffering and bliss, lonely and deeply communal.”   Upon the completion of my Colorado Trail hike this year, I can affirm that all of the above is true.   Suffice it to say that there were good times and difficult times.

 After months of rehab and training hikes, I jumped on the Colorado Trail again in late July.  Very kind people again stepped up and drove long distances to deposit me at a couple of trailheads or rescue me from over a week of rain or brought me resupplies to remote areas on the trail.  One dear friend hiked the final 73 miles with me.

The people on the trail are special.   Many of the hikers were less than half my age, but they totally accepted me into their circle of friendship and fellowship.  Hikers that I met last year and this year on the CT have become lifelong friends.  A number have stayed at my home and we keep in touch.

Back in Durango, I continue to enjoy photographing, hiking and birding with friends and I’m looking forward to doing some alpine skiing this winter now that the local ski area is giving free passes to old farts like me.

 The late Thich Nhat Hanh reminded us to listen.  Listen to others.  And listen to the Earth as well.  She speaks softly of her longing, because the wild places and animals are in tears and needing of our help.

Yesterday, I wandered among a community of sparkling winter trees awash in the afternoon sunlight and, as best I could, knelt down on the frosty earth and felt the prayer buried in the ground.  At this special time of the year, once again, vow to do no harm. All things are connected.  We are all in this together.  Be kind to one another.  As best you can, make your life an answer and lean toward the Light.  

Love and with much gratitude, Bob/Robert/Bob Gnarly/Seasoned

Watch the 8.5 minute video of my CT hike here:

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