Topped Out!

And going downhill

Summit of Mt. Hood 2012

There comes a time when the slope of the mountain changes. For good. You can find no physical path to lead you higher or stay even, even. This is called the summit.

No matter how you choose to describe it, we all reach our mortal-summit at some time in life. Although it can be hard to make the call exactly when or where, especially if you are still in the fight. But, at some point, you can call it. I think I hit mine somewhere in my forties. Don't get me wrong, I'm still striving now even as I approach sixty, but that was when things were going best -- on all fronts. Career, income, alpine physique.

I didn't know it then, but Mount Hood would be the last technical summit for me. Bala, a mountaineer buddy that I helped get into the sport over ten years prior, guided myself and a beginning mountaineer Sonya (who took part of the summit shot above with my camera) to the summit that day. A few months after this summit and my health would plummit and be hence to recover.

So now, the summit fades as I walk down my mountain. A path I didn't come up but which I must use to go down, and now. Below, out in the distance, perhaps the very distant distant, lies my end. I'm going there. Day by day, step by step. But man! How I have learned to take my time and appreciate the view! And, we all know by the time we hit maturity that going down (mountains at least) is much easier than going up so no hurry. This is one descent which I am in no hurry to take, so with the reduced strain and concentration of descending my life-mountain I'm finding time for new ideas and hobbies. For instance, this blog.

While I'll not yet be giving up on my future, I have found some time to reflect on the past. In a way, to honor it, before, well, it no longer matters. In my reflections I find a new perspective. The perspective that comes to you like experience, the hard way. You earn it in proportion to what you have put into the aspects of endeavor up front. Love, Work, Passion -- you know of what I write. No pain, no gain, sort of thing.

After I became physically less active and restricted from r0aming much I took some time to digitized photos. Many from my early days of my adult phase right up to the time prior to a major health issue. I'm not exactly sure how many photos made it but my guess is over fifty. I put them into a little animation with sound effects and music.

The theme "A Sum of Places" came from my love of place. I often profess to love earth and nature and I have traveled to numerous locations or "places" to seek it out. The time and place of each photo is labeled in the video. All are from the Northern Hemisphere. It is insightful to watch the years go by and the effect it has on myself and those around me (such as my lovely wife).

So many places to go and so little time and money! That tough little balancing act that everyone must make.

It took me over thirty years to amass all the places collected in the video. Vacations, holidays and weekends. That was all the time a fellow in America can muster while holding down a full-time day job. I hope you enjoy it.

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