Category Archives: Nature

Pan and the modern world

There is a thing called character and it would seem that we are born with it. The character is something that continues to develops through the actions that are learnt from parents, friends, and peers. The path of the strong is to take control of this process and escape the limitations placed upon the development of character by society. To remake oneself can be one of the greatest and most pleasurable tasks in life. An artist of artists molding a persona as if it were mud or clay. For most of history only kings had access to the self-consciousness necessary to make these kinds of changes. Gradually the task of self-creation has pervaded many layers of society and now most have been given this responsibility of consciousness. Where we take the ability of self-creation is up to everyone individually and in this paper, I lay out what I feel captures an essential part of what humanity must become and in so doing give the individual an additional tool for the creation of the self.

The Greek god Pan was born of the union between the trickster god Hermes and a wood nymph. At seeing the half man, half goat creator his mother fled back into the forest out of fear. Pan was then brought to Mount Olympus where the gods were delighted by his outrageous form and charming laughter. Pan lords over the mountains, the woodland forests, the gently-flowing streams, and the open pastures of the countryside and in this way, stands in opposition to developed society. His paradoxical nature of being a fierce hunter along with a gifted musician and nimble dancer add to his charm and seductive power.

One of the few gods to die, his death is associated in time with the death and rebirth of Christ. In this sense the death of Pan implies the rejoicing of the greater light of Christianity and the mourning of the passing and separation from societies of more primal instincts. Ultimately Pan became associated with the image of Satan with his semi-bestial appearance, unabashed sexuality, and profound relationship to the world of nature and animal instinctually. Representing a fear of a primal way of life, Pan was demonized and a connection with the grace of nature was forgotten.

The natural world is something of great power that man has feared and fought throughout existence. Today it seems that we have almost won the war for total domination over the environment but in so doing we have lost the way. Focused intently on victory it seems that we have overlooked many of the consequences and now find ourselves naked once again in spite of our garments and articles of clothing.

To revel again in Dionysian ecstasy at the coming of spring. To re-learn the inborn sensitivity to ecosystem that surrounds us. Now is time for the rebirth of Pan and a reunion of the old values in rustic innocence and our most deeply felt passions in the natural world. We need Pan now more than ever. To some this will look like the coming of the Anti-Christ and great societal challenges await his rebirth, but the magic of Pan is that he does not walk where society has set its roads. His way is near the outskirts in the trees and rivers where no set paths have yet been laid. To create from the spirit of dance something alluring with such strength as to sway the foundations of the modern mechanical way of life. What he urges is for us to fully reawaken to the animate qualities of the natural world, thereby reestablishing our relatedness to both nature and our instinctual soul. Pan is far from dead for he keeps on being reborn in all kinds of strange ways.

The Life of a Lifty

There isn’t much to being a lifty. You have to groom the loading and unloading zones where customers enter and exit the lift, which is done with a small snow rake that helps push the snow around in order to get things even and level for everybody. If someone falls off the lift or is having trouble getting on, then it’s the lefties job to stop or slow the lift for smooth operations. The one other thing that lifties are responsible for is closing and opening of the lift. So, what I am really trying to say is that it is one of the easiest jobs anyone other than a computer is responsible for. It’s the part that is not in the job description that really makes the kicker.

Today I got about 5 runs down the mountain while I was working. These runs take me deep into the powder country where I dodge trees as I make my way down some of the sickest stuff I have ever hit. Powder language new to me and I am working on learning how to speak in this strange dialect so that I can resend it to my readers through the interwebs. (stay tuned here for more!)

I have notices that there is a progression of moods that happen throughout the day. In the morning I am usually better than your average groggy mofo who just woke up and is ready to get bent by the slightest challenge that comes at him in the morning hours. I am more the guy that is rocking out to his ipod on the bus in the morning just trying to trick my brain into waking up. It’s the late morning/early afternoon part of the day that really grinds my gears. It feels like there is nothing worthwhile going, and no way to make things interesting. At this part of the day I am forcing myself to talk to people with manors that take true grit to get off the tongue. I am also taking runs down the groomed trails just wasting my time. It was when afternoon hit that things really started to get ramped up.

I had a desire to hit Lefties Canyon today which is a bit of a hike from the top of the lift I operate. After I got my boots strapped in and cut left of the groomed trails it becomes a time of weaving through trees in fresh powder deep enough make you lean back less you get caught up to your waste in white, sticky, wet, snow. There was a moment where I was sliding along, not going fast, just seeing how long my glide would last before I would have to start pushing by foot. I took a slow moment to realize how little effort I had to spend in order to move. I hardly even need to try and stay standing up. It was at this moment that I noticed all the trees rolling by and the wind blowing through the forest. It was so much peace that I had to laugh. Astonished with the bliss that I had found I took my time carving through the canyon and from that moment on my day/life got much better.

Now I write from a coffee shop. I have made far less money than I could have if I decided to work at a job that makes money. Instead I trade cash for the feeling that is had after hanging out on a mountain all day. We could try and put a price on this feeling and short term it wouldn’t be all that valuable. It’s after this feeling gets embedded into the soul and when the feeling is not something of a passing moment but a way of life. I am new to this lifty business but if I were to put a price on the embedding of that feeling I would then have to shoot myself for defiling such a serine moment with something as tragic and boring as economics. Instead I will remain hopelessly star struck and completely in awe of the little bit of heaven that I have found and will continue working on making it a permanent part of my life.

Cultivating an unstoppable attitude

I write this post from my couch where I do not have the unstoppable attitude. Like most, I am afraid letting my worst judgement get the best of me. Unlike most I have a drive for truth that I may ride from these depths I have fallen into, all the way to whatever bastion of sunlight I desire. From here I make a stand to change and escape the fear common amongst sheep. Ride with me if you want and we can explore the depth of the indolent.

I’m talking about the whip and the ability to tell yourself no. No do not eat that cupcake cupcake, no do not play video games when you know that you should be outside making friends and playing in the sun. The real surprising thing is that I am not naturally drawn to these types of activities. Like most, I am drawn to junk food and television and must put in effort to bring myself to the activities the produce natural good feels. I often ask myself why do I prefer boring darkness when there is such excitement in the world. Only in the dreary do I let the world pass by.

What I mean by better judgment would be the moralistic character or the affinity to do good. Whatever good may be is another thing altogether. The ability to do good is something knowable at any given moment. At times close decisions involving cataclysmic moments in life can make determining the good challenging at times but what I would like to focus on is the ability to do good with all of the small things in life. Eating is the best example that I can think of because what is good to eat is generally staring us in the face and hardly ever gets accomplished perfectly on a long term scale.

All writing above this line has been to achieve something different than the status quo. If I take an honest look at my life I find that I am fairly satisfied. I have had and seized the opportunity for adventure on most turns and now find myself in a world of possibility. Most of what I am upset about is that these things don’t come easy to me, but I could just as easily accept the challenges in life and begin to love the struggle.

In the self-improvement section of any bookstore you will find two types of books. Books that will offer information on how to improve in life, and books on how to accept any shortcomings we might have. While both are important to living a fulfilling life, I have always sided with improving rather than accepting, and so fully self aware I cast myself back into a agonizing pit of striving for self-fulfillment. Sometimes it’s easy, other times I can’t get myself to get out of bed. Here in this blog is where I pour myself and my misery hoping that through writing and self-expression that I might find the keys to this universal mystery.

Must we first come up with a question before we can begin to look for answers or might solutions spontaneously appear even when direction is lost. I can truthfully say that I feel good now, almost bulletproof even. Hoping that I may evade all traps and pitfalls, I still sit here and wait my next down-going.

For the strength to persevere through hard times, to cultivate discipline to direct action towards any goal, growing the courage to set higher goals, wielding wisdom to avoid traps and pitfall, and my the thirst that has yet to be quenched grow deeper and unsatiated everyday. This is an unstoppable attitude. This is something to embody and live each and everyday.

Reconnecting with nature

I have wondered why people find it so interesting to go to scenic places in nature. The connection to the earth doesn’t seem to get to me in the way that others have explained it and the prestige that comes with the pictures doesn’t make sense in and of itself. The only way to give meaning to finding scenic views is the exercise to get there and the possibly the people that join you on the journey. The group can have a quasi meaningful mission that can work as a bonding experience and productive and this gives meaning over something that is meaningless in and of itself. 

Perhaps people, and a deep level understand that these places will not be around for much longer. What we are actually doing is saying our last words to a dying friend and that this is what it really means to connect with nature. To stand in realization to the impermanence of beauty and almost mournfully watch the moments destroy themselves for the creating of the new. 

The past is beautiful and it is something to be missed. No one knows what the future will bring but we can say that it will look different than now. For better or worse it doesn’t really matter. All we are is a striving for a more complete perspective.