Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yin Yang

To me, yin yang implies balance. We go thru life struggling to maintain balance in many aspects of our lives. How to mix discipline and love when raising a child. How to enjoy life without losing focus. How to spend time productively and still leave empty time for ourselves.

I do a lot of outdoor sports in all sorts of weather and sometimes trying conditions. when queried about why one chases down activities that will make you sore, wet, uncomfortable...the answer:
"It feels so good when I stop"
Spend 4 days hiking and paddling and cooking outside, sleeping on the ground in freezing temperatures, trying to keep at least some of your clothes dry. Then get in your nice, warm car and head to a Timmies for a coffee and doughnut. Oh my! Get home, crack open
beer and sit in the tub listening to opera. Wow! Have a nice shave, get dressed in your jammies, crack open another beer and sit down to read a few days of newspapers. Incredible.

Find a really cold watering hole, say, the small pond outside the hut at Lakes of the Clouds, just below the peak of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Pick a cold, windy day where all you want is some nice hot tea, toast and a bowl of soup. Before settling in, go up to the pond, take off you clothes and jump in the damn-near freezing water. The initial cost is high. But the reward! The second after you are immersed in the frigid water, your body cranks out enough adrenaline to keep you happy for quite some time. The feeling is exhilarating.

A lot of the Gonzo hiking/biking/paddling trips take place in the spring and/or fall seasons. Less tourists to deal with, easier to get time off, etc. There are always rainy, miserable days. It's like a price needs to be paid to have one of those glorious sunny, warm days where the whole world seems just right. So you hike all day with rain running down the back of your neck and all your clothes sticking to you and no views to speak of...yet at the end of the day, you have a nice, big, communal meal at the Farm with your best of Gonzo buddies. Wine bottles are opened, someone is taking pictures, Duffy is expounding on one topic after another, after another. You are thinking to yourself:
"It doesn't get any better than this"
And yet, the next day is a perfect weather day, you run into many other like-minded hikers, everyone is in a great mood and the views are stunning.

To me, yin yang is found in this balance of contrasts. One doesn't happen without the other. The comfort and enjoyment are hiding behind some discomfort and physical stress. By putting myself in situations that test my mettle a bit, I am rewarded with experiences that fulfil me.

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