I recently returned from a week in the Utah wilderness with my friends from college. I must say that I have returned a better man than the one that entered the desert, both physically and mentally. I feel invigorated and excited about the adventures that the new concert season will bring. And I feel confident that no challenge will be too daunting when compared with hiking more than half of the West Rim trail with a pulled hip muscle.
The week involved roughly 40 miles of hiking, 20 hours of driving, a chance midnight encounter with a high-tech desert astronomy club, and my first Major League Soccer game. But the highlight was definitely the day we hiked the Zion Narrows river trail and decided on our way back to go off-trail beyond the mandatory stopping point in Orderville Canyon; into what can best be described as a natural obstacle course.
After reconciling to attempt the wrong-way ascent of the canyon, we agreed to do what the ascent required of us: We abandoned our packs, abandoned our food and water, abandoned our walking sticks, abandoned our spare clothing and our cameras, and began a 2-hour adventure of the sort that many people live their entire lives without experiencing.
It involved climbing several waterfalls and seemingly insurmountable ledges, crawling under multi-ton boulders, scrambling up slick rock faces, and wading through freezing chest-high water until we reached the end (actually the beginning) of the canyon at The Guillotine. In short, we took a leap of faith and shared an unspoken consensus that said, to us -in that moment- pressing on was more important than the fear that our possessions would be stolen; it was more important than the likelihood of growing hungry, or thirsty, or cold; more important than stopping where some authority had told us to stop, and more important than the hesitation we had towards venturing into the unknown. Without taking such risks and giving ourselves fully to the notion of “press-on,” the rewards of the endeavor surely would have escaped us.
At the end of it all, after we had solved all of the challenges together and helped each other overcome every obstacle, I thought to myself that I was living through a period of time in my life that -although brief- could only be described as “glorious” (adj. Marked by great beauty or splendor). Whether I was staring at Jupiter and the “wild-duck” cluster through the midnight desert telescopes of incredibly knowledgeable strangers, or standing at Panorama Point and looking out at a sunset 145 miles into the distance, or conversing with a kind bus driver who shared a beautiful part of her life experience with us on the way to the hike, I was constantly overwhelmed with the sense that this year’s adventure had put me closer to reflection upon the profound than I’ve been in quite some time.
A glorious day indeed, and a week I hope to communicate through my playing, composing, teaching, and relationships in the days and weeks and months to come. Having experienced first-hand the splendor of creation, how could one reasonably justify not trying to find a way to share it?
Have you ever felt you were living a glorious day? Tell me about it below.