A Scavenger Hunt


One thing leads to another. I have spent the last few days contemplating off and on a few random lines and wondering if they fit together somehow — resulting in a bit of a mental scavenger hunt.

On Wednesday, I went on an amazing hike up Mt. Pilchuck. On top of a pile of boulders rests what used to be a fire lookout. Now it’s a spot to stop, take in the view and rest before hiking down. People sign their names in a spiral notebook in the old cabin and comment on their experiences. One person wrote a poem, which ended with the line “Act Wild.”

The poem caught my eye, but at 5,000 ft. up in the clouds, my mind could not really process or remember the words. When I was back home, however, I wondered if I could find the work online. I searched for Mt. Pilchuck and “Act Wild” — and instead I stumbled on this quote from one of my favorite writers, Virginia Woolf: “If we didn’t live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I’ve no doubt, but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.”

Intrigued by this quote, I read more poems online and landed on this piece by Emily Dickinson, which really struck me —

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

A fundamental pause

Dilapidation’s processes

Are organized Decays —

‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul

A Cuticle of Dust

A Borer in the Axis

An Elemental Rust —

Ruin is formal — Devil’s work

Consecutive and slow —

Fail in an instant, no man did

Slipping — is Crashe’s law —

People find this poem to be a juxtaposition — Emily Dickinson’s sing-song style mixed with a weighty and fatalistic message. But I see a lot of hope in her sentiments. If failure doesn’t happen overnight, then we have a chance to stop it from happening at all. But how do we recognize when we are taking the wrong steps? And how do we stop moving forward on the wrong path.

I feel asleep thinking about this, and the next morning I awoke to my daily text from Rhonda: “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Conquering fears and leading a more courageous life has been high on my mind since I started this blog.

“It requires effort to face the person we are but no longer wish to remain,” I read today in Peter London’s “No More Secondhand Art.”

And in moving forward, he recommends:

— to affirm through practice, new ways of looking and responding

— to discard the many-layered masks that we use to conceal the person we actually are

— to fathom and celebrate in public the person we really are

— to locate our natural voice, its rhythm, tone and melody so that the songs we sing flow easily with conviction and with heart

— to assume responsibility for the creation of the life we desire and give up the comfortable role of victim of circumstance.

I couldn’t think of a better guide. The first step, it seems, toward conquering fear, veering away from failure and giving up the “comfortable role of victim of circumstance” is to be active in life and to examine our choices — and to become more self-aware and conscious of how we are impacting others.

One thought on “A Scavenger Hunt

  1. Rusting in a place we really don’t want to be really is the greatest loss of all. I am inspired not to make massive changes, but to be more self aware of who I want to be and less patient to accomplish that which is truly valuable to me.


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