What is Real?

Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments

What does it say, that I am always awe struck when I ride the singletrack of the Wasatch? I have skidded to a halt in the same place and gawked at the same view over and over. Am I easy to please? A hopeless dreamer? Or is the scenery just that good?

Maybe it is a little of all that, and more. The truth is that I love being in the wide and wild of the mountains. I love melting into the landscape, becoming nothing more than a small insignificant passer-by in a world much bigger, older, wiser than I ever will be.

In our world of me-first politics, business, and athletic stardom I am finding joy in being pummeled by the harsh magnitude of the mountains and deserts. I am discovering that the very attempt to overcome the challenges they present has healing and therapeutic side effects. Like Alvin Maker, it “makes all things whole”.

But that is all very figurative and ethereal. The mountains are anything but. They are rock and stone and granite and wood and dirt. The very essence of Earth, and earth. And spending time out in the wide open spaces of that earth reminds me that around me is a world that very few people ever see or even know exists. A world a part from the streets and heat and exhaust and cubicles and paychecks. A world where quiet solitude and a slight dosage of masochism reign supreme. A world of doing, chasing, being. Instead of one where all are bound by clocks and punch cards and deadlines.

“Reality” is what everyone calls it. The “real world”. When in fact nothing is further from the real world than the manufactured rat race of corporate rumbling and tumbling. Yes, we all need to provide, to work. It is one of those necessary burdens in life. But let’s not get carried away, and start thinking it is any part of the “real world”.

What is real are the relationships we forge, the places we go and see, the things we do. And for what ever reason, I find symbolism of those things when I am in the mountains. Everywhere around me I am surrounded by things that are absolutely real. In the high country there are no facades, no special effects, and no clock. It is just rock and stone and vertical incline. Wildlife and unpredictable weather and that unending cycle of life.

Reality at its finest.


  1. Lummox
    August 20, 2008

    very nice stuff

  2. Ski Bike Junkie
    August 20, 2008

    Adam, your post today reminds me of Norman Mclean’s “A River Runs Through It.”

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

    “I am haunted by waters.”

    Which reminds me, I need to go fly fishing.

  3. Jim
    August 21, 2008

    We can never completely comprehend reality. Our body’s senses and our brain’s computing power are limiting factors. Perceptions and the subsequent inferences always lead to simplifications of reality. These shortcuts are required for us to take in our surroundings, or at least those parts of our surroundings which we find important at that exact point in time, and create a conceptual model of our environment. Life experiences and even biochemistry dictate the level of importance of information coming into our bodies at a non-stop rate. If there wasn’t that filter mechanism in place we could easily lose sanity due to sensory overload.

    Even the same view taken in time and time again will feel different to a certain type of person, while others will say, ‘lets go, I’ve seen this before’. For the former, every visit will evoke a new conceptual model, maybe vastly different than the last. These are the adventurous souls. It is clear that you fall into this category (as do I).

    I’m enjoying your writing, keep it coming!

  4. Le Blaireau
    August 23, 2008

    The are the mirror’s of life. The deeper you go into the wild the better you feel

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