Reflections on Staying Alive

I’m still working on a major cleanout of old files, and have just been browsing the 15th anniversary edition of Outside magazine (October 1992). Its basic theme is how to stay alive. Staying alive physically, spiritually, emotionally – the whole package. I see why I kept this issue for so long. Although magazines seldom make my list of thought-provoking literature, much of this issue does exactly that. Or maybe I’m just in a receptive mood again this morning.

It’s nice to see in “The Books That Mattered” that, of the 15 books discussed, 2 are about the North: Barry Lopez’ Arctic Dreams (”…drawing on Eskimo and Inuit ideas, [the author] contemplates how to care for one’s place, live responsibly, and preserve a few of the planet’s mysteries.”) and John McPhee’s Into the Country (”… perhaps the best book ever written about [Alaska].”). Excellent choices – both are in my collection.

So many people still lead “lives of quiet desperation” in this age when life has never been so easy for almost anyone who makes the correct choices. Okay, there may be some places in the world where that doesn’t apply, but it does in North America, Europe and Australasia at least. I believe that everyone has “a little voice” that tries to guide them in the right direction, but most people don’t listen to it.

In the North, we’re very lucky, because there’s no cure for quiet desperation like spending time in the arms of Mother Nature, and she’s easy to find here. Quiet times like this morning’s walk are never far way (I took the first photo below in our corral this morning), nor are wild times like rafting a waterfall (although the one shown below was in New Zealand back in February – I’m at the top right with the blue helmet – the Tutshi River is an easy day trip).

What keeps you alive?

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