July 11th, 2016

Capitol Peak: The Meadow vs. The Mountain

A few years ago something kind of switched for me.  The meadow beneath the mountain actually became more attractive to me than the summit.  I started to crave backpacking trips into the wilderness that put me just below the mountain, so that I could look at it, and no part of me seemed to crave climbing it.  To climb a mountain felt to me like conquering it.  To sit beside it felt like a way to get to know it.  As an athlete I've enjoyed conquering things, testing myself and not being satiated with a trip to short or too slow paced.  As an artist I've enjoyed getting to know things, being contemplative and observing how they make me feel. 

The truth is, I'm still both.  I am constantly trying to reconcile my desire for big days in the backcountry with my desire to just sit still and take in these wild destinations.  Pulling off a fast and light mission in the mountains but still making room for whiskey and cheese in your pack is a great objective.  One ingredient that helps is extra time. 

When I think about what informs the art I make these days I've come to realize its a mixture of things.  I make good art out of a sense of abundance, not out of a sense of scarcity.  Artistic expression can be a way of talking yourself into how you want to approach everything in life... For example, even when I don't feel big and abundant inside I've been able to create that feeling by putting myself in a landscape that is way bigger than myself, and then painting it in a way that feels even bigger than the very landscape I'm sitting before. 

Good company really helps too.  And a general sense of reckless abandon. 

We didn't set out to climb Capitol Peak but it sure the hell was worth it.  This life is full of wildflower meadows to lay in and rocky ridgelines to traverse.  Having the gumption to not allow one to cancel out the other is something I feel like I'm always learning more about... so alast the artist and the athlete inside of me have rekindled and are in the process of getting to know eachother once again.  It's one part whiskey, one part sports drink, and one part the thirst for both.   It can be tempting to think in order to fully embrace a new part of ourselves we need to let go of the old parts but I think they are always there inside of us, creating the backdrop of who we are becoming now.

Capitol Peak, 14,131 ft.

Capitol Peak, 14,131 ft.