Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The camel, the lion and the child

Riding the AZT 300 has represented for me, a series of complex wanderings upon wonderings. It's much more than the ride...it's always been about something else.....perhaps one day, it will just be about the ride. After my second DNF ended in a heap of salted sweat, cramps and puke; something subtle happened.

What is this, this life we seek? Is it the defined path we find ourselves upon, riding ever northward. Or is it the virgin grassy slope which wraps around our field of view; engulfing us in the harsh landscapes of our minds? 

Within this thought, I move forward in thirst, laden by the mass of water which I've carried for so long; sloshing around yet entirely forgotten. The trail writhes up and down, left and right, as a serpent in the hawks talon. It goes only one direction, yet turns every which way until it dives down forever........ 

The flowers along the path grow into the unrepentant sun; willing towards a higher place, away from the eroded fragments of yesterday. They display a power to create something for themselves.....I, take from it its beauty and am in turn, strengthened with a power......the power of wonder.....wonder which bends my reality....

The sunset on the first night, refraction en masse, bends much more within my self, my I.  It stops my legs from pedaling.... my dusty rotors squeal out into the calm desert night as my bike comes to a halt.  I pull  my camera from my pack and peer westward over the Santa Rita's through the viewfinder. "Click"......."Click"......"Click".......the sound of the shutter snapping open and close does violence to the silent night. The abrasive rustling sound of my pack fills my ears as I lower it to the ground....feeling the weight come off my back.  As I raise the camera to my eye once more....I pause, viewing the colors through that tiny glass....and lower my camera to my side.  I stand there, mesmerized....unladen. For what lasted just a few minutes, I watched the refractive show play out on a canvas of moisture in the atmosphere.....it is here I listened to the silence, uninterrupted by nothing but my breath.

I wheel off into the sunset taking care to watch the newly darkened path in front of me....my eyes still trained on the glowing embers of a blackened ridgeline.  As the sky deepens above and the fire fades from the mountain ridge, I notice movement from my left....fast.  Just above the tops of the grass, dark ghostly outlines appear out of the ink of grassy darkness beyond.....featureless shapes running towards me and across my path.   A pack of javalina spring in front of my wheel, disappearing back into the savanna darkness to my right....shortly after this moment, I lie down and fall asleep in the desert night to the sound of early summer crickets.

In the earliest light of dawn, I roll over on the rocky ground to find a weathered and bleached skull of a javalina roughly 3 feet from my head; strong, sharp tusks extending from its solid jaw.

On this new day, I no longer felt the weight of yesterday.  Such is the norm for a bikepack....the burden of the first day, driven out by the exhaustion and palliative peace beneath stars, is replaced by a new world.  On this landscape, I take from what is in front of me when I want.  I drink from the waters where I see fit, resting under the shade for longer than the previous day's self would have allowed.

Beneath the cottonwood trees, a symphony of rustling leaves play soothing sonnets to the wind, as I remember the previous days heat. The weight of yesterday and the path I rode seemed so long ago as I sat in the cool, moist sand next to the Cienega. The smell of a desert stream is like no other.....and I take it in, knowing full well that the protection of this oasis extends no farther than a few yards beyond the tree line.

My decisions at this point became clearer about riding the same path as I did the previous day.  More of yesterday, will I find today.....more ruins and memorials to the past washed from the desert, now gone, will I see. Yet as I ride off into the dryness and unaccommodating shade of the bajada, I no longer feel as I did previously. The race for me ends in Tucson. As I ride forward.....always forward.....my mind releases every bit of bondage I felt the previous day and I become lighter. I now ride for me and not for a goal I carried in the past.

In the weeks that follow, I contemplated this turn. I climbed high into the mountains and shared in the views which stretch forever over the desert I previously found myself.

 I peered upwards into the sky through the vanilla scented arms which warm in the sun.....

....and I watched as inquisitive children discover new games.....

Bones from the winters kill of deer, cast on the forest floor, now playthings for those who know nothing of burden. They write their own rules, and operate as an innocent and "self-propelling wheel"....tibia-fibula fragment in mouth.....

Upon waking in camp the next day, I peered outside my tent, upwards, into the alpine. As the clouds lowered in a soupy grey mass....I remarked to Staci that this is what the sky always looks like before a snow. As if on cue, the first snow flakes fell on us from above.....drifting slow at first, growing into a steady state of pea-like graupel and dendritic flakes.

Later that day, I return to a spot where the Spotted Coral Tongue Orchid and Rocky Mountain Iris grow, finding snow instead.....

Watching Graham play in the falling snow, we observe his inquisitive nature and child-like behavior.....how wonderful it must be to see the world through such a lens, constantly present and forgetting........

.....a reflection of us, captured in his eye.....and in his eye....we see the possibility of us, as the child.


ScottM said...


Praveen RS said...

Seriously the photos are very nice and hats off to the photographer
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