“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

After two soul-crushing treks into the wilderness; one where I came within millimeters of plummeting off a cliff before arresting my fall and the next where another fall and injury sapped my strength and caused me to doubt my ability to make it home, I tried a third and final walkabout in nature’s tempest. You see, I need these brushes with nature’s merciless beauty to find peace and harmony, to find my true self.

I set out after a drenching storm the night before into dire warnings of storms today. But this time, I left unafraid of my fate on those stone escarpments bordered in the natural wildflowers of my state.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir

Path

After a long few miles, I began my climb into the mountains and at the top of the first ridge, I came upon a field of rain-soaked plants adorned with countless white flowers. They were head high and the path was nowhere to be seen. And yet, I saw a slight parting and below the overhanging leaves, I found the path. When I finally made my way through the wall of floral air and beckoning wet fingers of leaves, my clothes were soaked in dew and clinging nature. My time was a right of passage that had turned back the very few souls that had ventured here before. I would be alone and first through this obstacle of wet embrace.

 

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can”.” ― John Muir

There were many challenges, but I felt strong today. I powered over stone chasms, through darkened paleo tunnels, and out into open air fresh with the mist of morning fog and clean with a new air that smelled of rain, loam, and verdant life. Everywhere birds and scattering little furry things enlivened the soul of the mountains. Eight miles into the climb, I made it to the top and looked out over the canopy rolling like an undulating ocean in the breeze and underneath life called out in shrill songs of aviary composers.

Path3

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ― John Muir, The Mountains of California

After a brief rest, it was time to head down the other side and I chose a way I had not gone before. Familiarity breeds contempt I’ve heard and yet contempt and careless thought are not possible with the energy found in the challenge of unknown things. I always choose the unknown over the familiar. There are consequences and at times those consequences are a magnificent feast for the soul, a wine sparkling in the effervescent spirit of discovery.

Storm winds grew to deafening cries in the treetops. The woods grew dark as dusk and the bright colors of the day faded to dark grays, umber, and shadowy greens.

Path2And as I hurried against the rising tide of storm clouds bringing rain, I happened on a small temple newly built with a sturdy roof to give shelter to those who drew the wrath of nature’s tempest. I’d found my zen at last.

 

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir

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83 thoughts on “The Path Not Seen

  1. Hi Daniel… oh my, what a beautiful piece! I loved the metaphors, the well-crafted atmosphere, the quotes and the ending, of course. Wonderful photographs too. Congratulations on creating such a wonderful work. You guided me on this journey and I felt like I was walking along those paths. xx

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  2. The magic happens outside the comfort zone, and so you venture into the unknown and a take a risk with the storms – classic Hyperion! And you are all the richer for it. 🙂 That little temple is so cool – the perfect place for a warrior to rest. The adventure never ends! ❤ Beautifully written, thanks for sharing your journey with us. Don’t you be tumblin’ off cliffs, now…

    I found a sweet trail nearby with a cave, and I intend to go back and explore it soon.

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    1. Hi Lauren! Thank you for your wonderful comment. I was sure someone built that little temple just for me on that day. There was some serious zen for me to take in at that little hideaway. My frantic clawing skills are still first rate but I actually don’t look forward to those tests to see if I get it right. Oh, I do want to see a picture of Bug in the cave standing next to some paleo drawings. That would be so cool. I’ll bet there is a gothic tale in there and you will find it. Happy Spelunking!

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      1. I can just picture you smiling to yourself upon discovering it. Did you meditate once inside?

        One of my signature dance moves is called “teetering on the edge of a cliff.” I’m quite serious about all the motion involved. Try it to music sometime…;)

        Once I do explore it I’ll be sure to write a little entry. I doubt it’s a serious cave but there actually is an underground business park down the street.

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        1. LOL! I can imagine your teetering on the edge of a cliff move in all it’s stunning glory. I can hear the tune needed for it now. I don’t think flight of the bumble bees will get it but If I played it on X10 speed it might. I did meditate and actually envisioned the dance of souls performed by a Dragon Sister. It’s beautiful when performed in silence. The rain came while I was there and I thought about Noah’s view on the mountain from his Arc and me in my little Zen Temple. I got the better deal. No animal poo to shovel later.

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            1. I always liked that classic. It reminded me of my head elves busy trying to analyze what dessert to have at the restaurant and make a decision before the hostess decided to come back in 30 minutes. The best part of the temple is it takes about 3 hours of hard work to get there and by then you are ready for some meditation. The people that put it there knew what they were doing. 🕉☯️

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                1. You read me like a first grade primer, Lauren. That was a first rate impression of me. I did have some supercarbs on the trail and I noticed in the paper several witnesses reported elk bugeling in the woods that day. It was a big deal so I didn’t report that it was just me and my supercarbs burning up the trail. 😉

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                    1. Waaaa haaaa haaaaa! I’m crying over here. Sometimes my easily influenced Head Elves just lose it. That visual, OMG, the poor chipmunks will never be the same. They are a race of mini mes of mimicry.

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Aquileana! I am always happy to wander about in the beauty that nature provides. It can be hard work but the rewards are worth it to me. And how have you been these days?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful quotes and descriptions! So many phrases sing to me when I go back and read this again, like, “obstacle of wet embrace.” I’m reminded of times I seemed to have lost the trail and trusted my instincts and the forest, to guide me. And when we come through, it is a right of passage. I haven’t been on the forest trail lately (except in my own wild back yard) but the beach has filled in nicely for the time being.

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    1. Hi JoAnna! Thank you for the wonderful comment and it is always a pleasure to meet a fellow adventurer. You definitely get it. I’m an original Florida beachnut that learned about mountains and have a strong affinity for both. If I can’t be in the mountains, I can definitely enjoy a beach and the water. I may actually be part otter because being aound and in water makes my heart sing. 😃

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  4. You are a force of nature. The way you connect life experiences to these hikes and battles with the elements, in which you are invariably the victor, connects not only your own experiences to these allegorical journeys, but somehow everybody else’s too. We all think we are experiencing a unique type of suffering that no one could possibly understand, but you show through your lyrical prose and metaphorical journey that we are all alike and almost everything can be over come. It’s inspirational, and definitely makes you very alluring to your readers, especially the ladies (wink, wink: I have no emojis on this device)
    It’s heartwarming and soul affirming that you posted this and I see you have promised more of the same which I am sure will be received with great embraces

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    1. Thank you so much M. My greatest strength and worst character trait is my refusal to give up or give in. I put one foot in front of the other and keep going. It’s hard and scary sometimes and easy to second guess oneself, but I’ve persevered through all the world threw at me with a touch of hard head and a pocket full of grins and mischief. I see failure as the arrow pointing toward victory. I just follow the arrows and I know I’ll get there.

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      1. You know, in runes which I have been looking at lately, the arrow style rune usually means masculinity so that definitely fits in with. ..you in general.
        I don’t know where i was going with this. We all need to persevere through seemingly impossible situations, and often there is a light at the end of the pathway. Someone very wise taught me that ☆☆☆☆

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        1. I have learned over and over that the answer is just over the next hilltop, around the bend, across the creek and right when you stop with doubt about your direction, it’s just over there.

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  5. This well written essay certainly gives a lot of insight into the man who is Hyperion.

    These 3 recent past different treks you’ve taken through the wilderness almost strike me as symbolic of the course that your life has taken (at least what you have shared with me of it).

    You almost fell off a cliff.

    You did fall and injure yourself.

    You chose to walk into the wilderness in the middle of the very real possibility of storms and downpours and yet you chose to do so.

    And in taking that particular trek, you found the Zen temple that is your refuge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chris, I always appreciate your insights and great humor. You are right, these treks into the great outdoors has taught me a lot about myself and what I can and cannot do. This was an important trip because I began to doubt if it was possible to continue. But that ole Jeffery the Otterboy need for adventure lured me out again and it was a great outing that tenewed my spirit. The rain was actually refreshing so getting wet wasnt such a bad thing.

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  6. Adventurous, bold and fearless–three words I found that best describe you as you let us in in your exhilarating quest for inner peace. You’ve been through a lot and you’ve gained so much experience along the way that has emerged into great stories to tell. Just like you, I prefer to take the road that scares me, the darker one, the one Ive never taken yet. Because that’s where we grow, that’s where we find new things that spice up our journey. Although it’s bumpy and risky, it’s the road less travelled and the unfamiliar ones that teach us how to be better, or rather, how to be at the best version of ourselves. I seriously love your mind, Hyperion. I love reading you. Write more of these exceptional works of art please. 🙂

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    1. I could not have said it any better. You are my peer at least and a great guide to follow. I think on my next trip, I’ll take you along in spirit because I’m very sure you would enjoy the stunning beauty that nature provides. I actually enjoy writing of my trips to seek my inner peace. It’s so special, I just have to share it. So stay tuned. More is on the way.

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    1. Thank you Kat and welcome. I have admired John Muir for many years. I think he and I would have been good friends had I lived in his times. I was beginning to feel that my best days on the trail were behind me and this trip was sort of a test of my will and as it turned out, I was rewarded with new hope that the trails weren’t closed to me yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m on a dirt trail right now,
    Daniel.
    Riding the boundary of ‘the long paddock’
    through outback Australia.
    400 kilometers without seeing
    another soul,
    except the occasional kangaroo,
    echidna, or emu.

    Liked by 1 person

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