Photo: Mike Colón
Sometimes getting away to the mountains helps clear my head. It helps me see things the way they really are. Last week, I took an RV road trip with 10 guys. It started out a bit rough… 5:45am driving 100 mph in the carpool lane trying not to be the last one (thank you Edmund) to a church parking lot where we were swapping 10 cars for 2 RVs to begin our man-trip to Yosemite. We made the first turn out of the church parking lot and a lost our huevos. A case of 30 eggs flew out of the refrigerator creating a yellow river of yolk down middle of our new home. Just the beginning…
A 12 inch cut from a barb wire fence, a large rock in the front grill of some poor girls car, and a collision with a tree were all sort of expected. We were, after all, unleashed boys – no wives around to keep us out of trouble. Male bonding at it’s best! What was unexpected came later that evening while taking up Shaun (who wants me dead I think) on a dare to go out on a sketchy overhang 3,200 feet above the floor of Yosemite valley.
Balanced carefully.. knees shaking.. staring death in the face… I saw God. Not like the people you see on the news who find a shadow of Mother Mary on their backyard fence… well, kinda like that but I didn’t call the networks. As I looked out into the clouds that were sweeping up the side of the cliff, it was like I was staring God in the face… and I couldn’t handle it. It was a reality check… one that sent chills down my spine. I allowed myself for a split second to think about the consequences of losing my balance or slipping. I realized that I’m in no way ready to die. I realized that I take life for granted and the clock is ticking. I realized that every day is a gift from God and that my life is fragile. I don’t want to waste another minute on the things that don’t matter.
The next morning at sunrise I must have wanted another close encounter so I climbed out onto another rock at the edge of the world. This time, when I turned around to get back to safer ground, my eyes shot upward to see what looked like batman descending out of the sky towards me. It turned out to be a hawk who was hungry for some tall skinny guy. He came close but didn’t finish the job because I was too fast and hit the deck (don’t laugh, you would too). I couldn’t help but feel like I was out of balance with nature… like Matthew McConaughey in Failure To Launch.
It got me thinking about my life and how many things are out of balance. I thought about my wife and all of the sacrifices she’s made for our family. How she gets up in the morning with the babies so I can sleep. How she’s given up so many of her dreams in music so she can stay home and raise our children. Even the fact that she let me go on the trip leaving her at home with our 4 crazy kids. While I was there laying in the back of the RV on the way down the Yosemite mountains, I saw her for what she really is… an angel. Thanks baby for letting me take off and be Wild At Heart for a few days :)
A quick shout out to the guys (all of whom are talented photographers) who made this trip one for the history books. Click on their names to see more images from the trip: Austin Curtis (someone I can have a “real” talk with), Brandon Kidd (mature beyond his years.. thx for the nudge), Derek Frenzel (genuine and Godly), Edmund Prieto (fellow dare-devil, super talented), Eric Cotter (bloody mess most of the time, life of the party, smart), Gavin Wade (positive energy, giver), Gustavo Fernandez (always smiling, fun), Mike Larson (leader, cool and collected) and Shaun Austin (comedian, good heart, the man who made it happen!)