I have a friend in Antarctica (really now how many of you can say that?) who has been an incredible mentor for me in the last couple of months. He completed the Arizona Trail last year in its entirety, which began a committed love affair with the land of this incredible state. I call him friend though I have never met him .. largely because he has, without prompting, sent me an enormous amount of information about the trail, kept me abreast of the snow conditions on the trail (from Antarctica even), offered to cache water for me on his upcoming trip to Arizona, and mostly just effervesced his relaxed and confident attitude about the whole thing. He hasn’t once poo-pooed any of my clearly naive ideas and strategies but has been outright encouraging. I am grateful for him. His name is Joe.
Joe read my post awhile back called “Love Life” which described an incident I had on a return trip from Nevada. On this trip I had seen a man walking on a remote highway in boo-dug nowhere, at least 100 miles from any amenity, pushing a shopping cart carrying a sign in it that said “Love Life”. This vision inspired and moved me greatly and I consider it the marker of one of the biggest turning points in my life. Just the other day, Joe was busy doing Antarctica – type things (I still haven’t gotten a clear answer on what he does over there 🙂 ) when he heard in the background an NPR story on this very man! Joe emailed me immediately to let me know this had happened and sent me a link to his story. I was absolutely stunned ! I couldn’t believe that after all this time (It was 2003 when I saw him on the road) and right after I had reinvigorated the story in my life, that I now had access to the story, feelings, and mind of this man who had so inspired me. And most importantly, I can now contact him…
Take a moment to see what this man has endured and accomplished :
There is some kind of really important connection for me between me and what this man has done. The day Joe emailed me I was working on a little 2″ by 4″ card with those same words painted on it to hang from my backpack (less than .5 oz, gram gurus). In about a zillion more words that I can barely begin to express, this is what this trip is about for me… If I doubted it for a second, I scrolled down his site to behold a favorite quote of mine from Tolstoy :
“The most difficult thing… but an essential one… is to “LOVE LIFE,” to love it even when one suffers, because life is all. Life is God, and to “LOVE LIFE” is to love God.” ~ Leo Tolstoy