Over the Edge

Over the Edge

Running a rapid, there's the point at which you drop over the edge. It's when all things disappear except what is right in front of you, and your entire attention is focused on now. The fear has left, and you simply do it. It is a moment to be savored, but there is no time to savor it.

The photo above depicts such a moment, when my boat has dropped over the lip of Horn Creek rapid on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This is after we stood on the boulder you can see to the left, perched right at the drop itself, in one of the most dramatic of river scouting overlooks. You see what you are going to enter, up close and personal. You could spit and hit the waves that soon will be crashing into your boat. The roar of the pounding water not only assaults your ears, it comes up through the soles of your sandals, through your legs, and up to your heart, which is beating a bit too fast. It epitomizes the stark drama that is reverently called "The Canyon."

This reminds you that there are three factors that all must go your way if you are to survive in the wilderness — any wilderness: 1) having the right gear, 2) making the right decisions, and 3) luck. This actually applies to many life situations, if you think about it. So you work at acquiring the right gear, and strive to make the right decisions, and leave the rest up to the universe.

I recently discovered Ten Graces for New Librarians, which has some great advice for all librarians, not just new ones.

Brooding at Crystal

Left side of Crystal Rapid, The Grand Canyon.