Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Journey

I realized while on this hike that the title of this blog may need some clarification. It is from perhaps my favorite poem. This poem is found in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and I believe can accurately describe what I hope my life to be.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then, I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Out from the door where it began
Now far ahead the road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening rest and sleep to meet.

My week off progresses, and I can say that I am ready to be back on Angelique sailing. Although Camden is a great place to be, a great place to "hang out" (I have found a fitting coffee shop called "Zoot") it is time to be out on the water again. Yesterday I decided that it was finally time to scale Mt. Battie, the bluff that overlooks Camden and can be seen from miles around out on Penboscot Bay. I had imagined that the views were spectacular, and was not disappointed. The hike up Mt. Battie is not long, only half a mile, but it is also 790 some feet from sea level, making the "hike" more of a climb. I am not in shape. When I got to the top, I realized there was a parking lot and one could actually drive to the top. I prefer the hike.

After I had made it up Mt. Battie, and saw the view from there, I continued up another mountain nearby called Mt. Megunticook. This was another 1.5 mile hike one way, and I first descended into a valley between the two "peaks", then had to again more climb than hike up the second mountain. I am glad I decided to climb, as the views from the top were truly spectacular. The top of Mt. Megunticook is 1385 feet, and there were times in the climb where I was out of breath, as it was almost a free climb up. I met an older gentlemen, perhaps 65, from the Netherlands while eating lunch at the top of this mountain. We walked and talked for a little while, especially about the World Cup. He said his name was Air-ee-on, which I think must be Aaron. Neat old chap! I wished the Netherlands good luck, and he responded saying the United States would probably need more of that than the Dutch!

I had a particularly "neat" experience at the top of Mt. Megunticook, and hopefully this does not get too gushy. While I was just sitting, taking pictures and thinking, I saw a rain squall coming down the valley. My first reaction was to run to cover in the trees but I had my raincoat and so I just sat through it. At 1385 feet in Camden, one is basically in the rain clouds, not below them, and so I witnessed the whole progression of a 10 minute squall come down the valley from the west, pass by me, over Mt. Battie and Camden in the distance, and then disperse out over Penobscot Bay. It was a difficult experience to accurately describe in this blog, but I have some pictures on facebook.

Andrew, the other deckhand on Angelique, has coined a phrase "sense-of-place moments", a short space of time in which one can look out and realize that they are exactly where they are supposed to be. I like this phrase, and experienced my first when napping in Capi (the large rowboat) on our last trip after taking people ashore. There was a warm breeze, we were tied to a dock, I could see the Angelique in the distance and the sun setting nearby. Again, I wish I could better put into words these experiences, but basically, it was perfect.

Those 10 minutes on the top of Mt. Megunticook put things back into perspective for me. It is difficult to maintain a faith, and even a belief in oneself...who exactly we are, when what helped to create ourselves (family, friends, professors, college environment etc.) are left behind. In this sense, our idea of ourselves, or at least myself, was also left behind, and I think it took me until that hike to find that all again, to remember to keep all of those influences with me, instead of being changed by new environments. This is not to say that new places and new places should not have an influence, but one must be careful in quickly adopting these new lifestyles.

"Be true to yourself, and paddle your own canoe"

No comments:

Post a Comment