The Number “One”

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Ember & Sugar Lightnin Crossing Jan 27, 2013 015

When we are younger, we often fail to pay attention to history and sometimes think we may have been one of the first person to have seen or experienced a certain place or event. Only later, as knowledge grows and more truth is revealed, do we learn that we are not as original that earlier we believed.

As I look back at my personal history and first time running various rivers that was brand new for me, I often wondered if anyone had done them before me. Having no good way to know the local history at the time, I could only guess.  My perception in some of the places I dared tread, my steps were first, aside from ancient man.  So,  it came as a bit of a let down when I learned that indeed there had been others, or sometimes many, that had beat me there before.  Even more surprising was by how much earlier they had trumped my time-line in the world.  It can make one feel like a meaningless rag being tumbling around in the giant “Time Machine”  with a zillion other rags, many of which had entered the machine long before you. So,  you just blend in with the group, barely indistinguishable, and a seemingly insignificant cog twirling about in immense and meaningless circles.

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However, sometimes that step back you can take to re-examine your place in the world, despite the past and future, where you only account for the now, a new perspective can help give meaning to your “place.”  When you realize time is relative and it does not matter what happened before you were here,  or how many others did what you did, saw what you saw, discovered what you discovered, you can feel better  just knowing you are alive in the here and now.  It reveals your true significance.  What matters is you are in the present doing the doing  and being the being.

You can go places for the first time for you…and guess what? It is a first? Your first. It doesn’t really matter who went where or did what, the experiences you are having are relative only to you and how you perceive of them.

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Though, it does help knowing history from before your time, because it can enrich how you understand the forces that helped shape our world. It also gives you an advantage to build on them with your own version of reality and personal humanity.  The world really does revolve around you, just like it does for everyone else. Why? Because you are at the center of the universe, and it is everywhere. There is no place it isn’t, so you can always enjoy every place you go as being in the center of the all.  Any number divided by one, always gives itself as the answer.  But, it is only the number one that can render this result. Therefore, the number one is more significant than any other because it is reflected in all places. Remember, only you are number one, along with everyone else. So, take your stand proudly.

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Happy Valentines Mother Nature.

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Spring Fever and all those “Others.”

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Ice Skating Jan 19, 2013 017

Winter has been hanging on, with occasional set backs as fickle storms sweep vast temperature changes across the landscape. Just when we think snow and ice is over, another storm follows a warming spell and turns everything white again.  However, our  last warming spell here in Riggins, made it feel like approaching spring is in the air.

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For the past few days ice has been coming down the river in bits and pieces.  It is like a giant parade with each chunk of ice a celebratory participator. Like many members in a band, they come in all sizes, shapes, forms, and textures. From trapezoidal to roundish, smooth to rough, opaque to clear; white to grey, large to small, all a tattered and scattered flotsam of commemoration for winter’s thaw.

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At a deeper level, it is a part of the river’s sinewy speech; an articulation of the sensorial non-human intelligences we humans share the planet with, rather we recognize it or not.  Often  us humans anthropomorphize events in the natural world. This muddys the water a little when we try to distinguish what those “others” really are. Even though, they still  do  have a stand alone sentience, irrespective of our unfathomable  understanding of them or attempt to explain what they are  in human terms.

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Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences. So when I go out into the remote backcountry all by myself, I don’t feel lonely. Sensing all those “others” makes me appreciate that I am not the only thing that is  feeling the world. It makes me feel right at home, embraced by all those “others.”

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When I see the bald eagle shift from scavenging shoreline ice for fish remains discarded by otters work and setting  to the hillside hunting for chukars, or shallow river water for upstream steelhead passage, I know spring is in the air.  Soon, all those “others” will also be coming out more and more. Ya Hoo! Spring Fever. Love it.

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Otters won’t be the only ones playing in the water.

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Don’t miss the boat, or raft in this case.

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