Book of Readings
A father, brother, and friend
"O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip
is done. The ship has weathered every
rock, the prize we sought is won.
The port is near, the bells I hear,
The people are exulting
"O Captain! My Captain!"
Most of what I really needed to know about how to live, and what to do and how to be, I learned from Alaskan Odyssey 2002. Time and a set schedule may exist in the lower 48, but here, everyone has their own schedule. The little details take care of themselves in their own good time. Lightness and darkness are trivial. Sunsets and sunrises are more amazing to the eye and the soul when they occur right after the other. Stay awake as long as you can- you don't want to miss anything. Take pictures then take some more.
Wear a headnet. Deet kills brain cells and sometimes mosquitoes. The term highway can be very vague. Dirt and gravel will get you there, don't ask for much more. Just because it's called, "Hot Springs," does not actually mean there is one. "Scree is Latin for shit"- Enough said. Peanut butter and pickles are the necessity of life for some. For others, they can be chunked. Roof racks are quick and easy, a hassle, and in the end a miracle. Condiments create conversation.
Give a helping hand. If you can't reach, start getting stuff from the back. If you reach, get on up there! Being tall is good and bad; so is being short! Grommit needs to be taken out of the dictionary. Canada stinks (quite literally) in some places. Mosquitoes are ridiculous. Black Ninjas can show up anywhere at any given time.
Getting up at three every morning will get you great pictures. Just because you had to stop before getting to the summit doesn't mean you failed. Wake up excited every day- you never know what you might see or do! Pray for good weather, it works! There is nothing like sunbathing on a glacier. Seven people will get very close- too close sometimes. Gaining a family is wonderful.
Enjoy life. Savor the light. Walk until you can't walk anymore; then keep going. If you don't go all the way in the water, it's not worth it. Love the outdoors. Love the ruggedness. Keep it all in your heart, and your soul- It will never leave you!
The American Flag
"A thoughtful mind, when it sees a nations flag, sees not the flag only, but the nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the nation that sets it forth."
Henry Ward Beecher
"The American Flag"
The flag that we dip in water and take pictures with is, at least in my mind, a symbol of
American Odyssey. Americans, after all, were and still are adventurers. With people like you as leaders, this love of adventure in America and love for the beautiful country will be passed down. Through you, I have gained a love for the ruggedness and wilderness of America.
(A roof rack for example)
"Trifles make the sum of life."
Watching you build that roof rack gave me an understanding of the kind of person you are- one who never gives up. Your patience with projects also stood out that day. You set a tone for the rest of us to be patient and it stayed with us. Never lose that desire to build new things- you never know where it may lead!
"Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher."
"The Tables Turned"
You and Wordsworth would have been great friends. You have shown me how nature can be an amazing teacher and provide the best education. I will always remember that when teaching.
"Pleasures newly sound are sweet, When they lie about our feet."
"To the same flower"
For you and your love of flowers and always taking pictures of them. They truly are pleasures that only someone as keenly aware of his surroundings would notice.
"In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world- the great fresh unblighted unredeemed wilderness."
You are a teacher of this quote. In everything you planned, convinced us to get out and see, we were able to see the hope of this Earth.
"There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in the Wonderland
You believe impossible things all the time and I truly admire that. I am sure that there are many "impossible" things on this trip you have made come true. Thank you for believing in them and especially for believing in us!
"To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space is a miracle."
You have taught us to live life as if every day were a miracle. It may sound corny, but it's the truth. The light in Alaska is a miracle as well as Denali, yet so are the simple things - like a breeze that blows the mosquitoes away. As far as I can see, you can find
a miracle in just about any day. Now, I too notice the miracles,
small and big, that happens every day!
"To be awake is to be alive."
Henry David Thoreau
"Keep me from going to sleep too soon. Or if I go to sleep too soon, come wake me up. Come whistling up the road. Stomp on the porch, bang on the door, make me get out of bed and come and let you in and light a light.
Tell me the Northern Lights are on and make me look, or tell me the clouds are doing something to the moon they never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till I'm half as wide awake as you are and start to dress wondering why I ever went to bed at all. Tell me that waking is superb, not only tell me but persuade me. You know I'm not too
hard to persuade.
Thank you for making sure I was awake for showing me that the best things can be found at 3:30 in the morning!
"Now this is not the end,
it is not even the
beginning of the end,
But it is, perhaps
The end of the beginning!!"