Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Higher up the mountain

My dad taught me this simple lesson by example, and as sure as he was a good man, I am obligated to live according to it's truth and pass it along to others.

The scene:
a troop of Boy Scouts out for a weekend training hike, strung along an uphill section of trail, moving toward their camp for the night. Some older, more athletic, and in shape for carrying a pack with all that they would need for two or three days in the woods; sleeping bag and tent, food and cook stove, clothes and fishing gear. Among the younger ones, or the weaker, you would see big, old fashioned, army surplus packs with bulky sleeping bags that showed the relative inexperience of the "tenderfoot".

As sure as the trail winds upward, and the heat of the mid day sun takes its toll, the distance between the leaders and the stragglers grows.
Quite simply, the newest scouts are not prepared for what is before them, and have carried too much for their physical capability.
Now, the wise scoutmaster steps in and starts to pull weight from the 'too heavy' pack and puts it into the pack of a 'sprinter' ( or more likely his own pack).
He knows that it is not important who carries what, only that all hikers reach camp in time for dinner.
The highest joy of being a smarter hiker in better shape is not that you can be there first ( at others expense) it is more likely that joy of knowing that you are able to lend your strength and your experience to another so that they can enjoy the mountains, with you.
Today, somewhere along your trail, you may find someone who is over burdened. Be willing to take something out of their pack, and slow your pace enough to share some trail time with them. You will see more of the marvelous view as well, and have shown a uniquely human trait: compassion


Kathryn said...

Wise father, wise son!

Amrita said...

Thank you David for this beautiful post. It touched me deeply.

This is what we are in Christ....instruments to be used by Him.

Many times i stumble on the rocky path and find others reaching out to lend a helping hand and save me.

Pray you are feeling rested and refreshed.

Bob-kat said...

What a great analogy. And a great life lesson too :)

Chris Rieger said...

I was on that hike and I believe I got the skillet. You know the 16 lbs of cast iron you can cook from directly on the fire. Your dad was a great guy.

David said...

chris I would like to have your email

Russ said...


colleen said...

I love this sentiment. I learned at one time that Native Americans were considered rich not by how much they had but by how much they gave away to others. Netchick would like this post too.

Carmi said...

What a beautiful lesson. I wish more among us would take heed - no surprise that you did.

Tanya asked me to drop by today to thank you for continuing to share your wisdom - inherited and learned - with us.

Sage said...

David, thanks for this wonderful message--and the fact that its about backpacking makes it all the more special... I'm here from Netchick's today, to wish you well.

When your site opened up, I was treated to a pic of mountain lupine in bloom--you make me long for the West.

rashbre said...

A great teaching.