The tops of distant mountains were beginning to catch reddish orange light of the dusk sun that still illuminated the arid landscape between the two-lane highway and the rocks that were unexpectedly huge compared to the salt flats of northwestern Utah. The road finally was free of any traffic and for hundreds of miles there was nothing. Occasionally, there’d be a mailbox or two with a dirt road stretching toward small black dots that were either inhabitable houses or ghost towns. The nothingness feels like a reminder of what the world used to be like before the city and suburb. Living in the grass is always greener paradigm often leads people down a never ending quest satisfaction. The world has come a long way and there is reason behind almost everything. In the long stretches from town to town and finally into the ridiculous natural attraction of Yosemite National Park, the one constant is that we are so damn small. We the people are able to achieve so much, but we are unable to do it all. Humility is the word, the understanding and what must be accepted in the context of what still is a wild world.
Adam knew there’d be trouble knocking on his door in a couple weeks if he didn’t figure out a way to get back in the swing of things. Free time can be an awesome gift, but when it convinces the person that they can postpone doing something, that is when it turns into a total waste and habits of inaction. Other people were busy and they were getting so much done. Adam saw this and thought to himself that everything would work out. After all, he was learning more about himself every day. Wasn’t this the goal? Conceptually, almost anything makes sense. When someone is doing something, it is only natural to believe that it is exactly what they should be doing. Happiness is easy to achieve if someone believes they are going in the right direction, but too many are obsessed with this happiness to the point of numbing themselves to the reality of their situation. Humans are meant to adapt, to innovate and create a new path for themselves whenever their surroundings change. Anticipating these changes is the only way to stay ahead of the curve. Reacting is not enough with the rate of change in the modern age. What methods are available? At first, Adam thought it best to seek conversation and see where it would take him. All that did not matter though on the road through Yosemite Valley.
Thinking of the past and future is full of never ending analysis. All that matters when in the presence of the vertical mountains of Yosemite is the present, the now. Even when looking directly at these sun-kissed granite crests, it feels nostalgic as a painting. Conventional wisdom has little reason in this setting. It almost seems like a contradiction since most of what people know these days are urban landscapes. About eighty percent of Americans live in urban areas and that is forty-second on the list of nations. One would think that the constant changes in urban environments to be a strong lesson in potential for humanity to adapt to whatever happens. The difference between urban change and million year changes of places like Yosemite is humanity’s insistence on control. Those who believe humans have reached near perfection or are close to it within the minuscule time period of modernity must remember the scales they are dealing with. There are few guarantees in the long-run. Maybe that is why politicians only promise the world in four year intervals. Of all the openness and mechanistic systems supposedly in place to make the world better, there is very little honest dialogue with enough humility to critically think about the current state of affairs.
There is a so-called struggle to be wild and free. Adam may have fallen into this category of people who believe the system of financial success to be a false paradigm of happiness. This paradigm is not just wealth. It’s about expectations, the pursuit of power. Few win in this paradigm. Most lose. Adam though believes this to be too absolute and when describing how he sees his own life in the context of the world and future of humanity, the best he can do is say that he is seeking success elsewhere. He feels that progress is not so much about how much he can make of himself, but how much he can understand about the world. Some of Adam’s friends and family believe he thinks just too much about it all, which is true. Even though he finds it difficult to express exactly what he believes, he is comforted to know that he is on the right road. And he especially felt this while looking at Half Dome. This open attentiveness and ability to embrace what is foreign to him fills Adam with a sense that whatever happens next, he at least has found a place that increases his perspective. What perspective though?
Avoiding literal connectiveness and seeing things a little more abstractly is the lesson of Adam’s struggle. To get entirely out of oneself, it sometimes takes a complete removal from one’s comfort zone. That is why the monoliths in Yosemite appear as paintings. The synchronous patterns Adam is accustom to, the city systems, the man made buildings, are all missing from the equation. Adam was for a brief time free of ego and able to simply witness the world as it is and as it has been for longer than people have been around. Knocking out this projection of ego was made possible though by roads developed by people and government decrees to leave Yosemite alone, for the most part at least. Things make a little bit more sense, if only for a time, that limitations are prevalent in society, even in context of modern controls and manipulative systems. Limitations such as good health insurance and finances enough to have a safety net for future needs or long-term savings are rational concepts for the modern citizen. But once these begin to take over, when they precede all other priorities, the goals behind them become nullified. The last thing Adam thought before leaving Yosemite and paying the twenty dollars he thought he avoided while entering the park before working hours was that there’s always a balance to the equation. And he has come to that conclusion before.