Into The Wilderness Of My Intuition
"Having spent many an age living in my figurative city of comforts,
where my privilege felt no pity in a silk pajama-ease-of-sorts.
No wonder about food when the belly’s light, gas in the tank, or where the pillow lays at night,
I couldn't see I lost part of my intuitive heart, partially blinded, didn't know it was out of sight.
Having spent many a fort-night in my figurative wild of discomforts,
isolated, alone, feeling less than whole, missing my warm comfy-ports,
I now wonder when most asunder about the belly, the tank, and the pillow on a rock at last light,
and with wonder I discover the start of an intuitive heart, opening eyes for hope and delight.”
~ Jack Mountain
Alan Alda once said "You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." I didn't think I'd ever quote him, and of course he is referring I believe to the magic of getting out of your comfort zone when acting, dropping the script so to speak, to truly discover the talent within you -- yet that statement really lands for me currently…the statement knows no boundaries I believe, it could be applied anywhere when human self-discovery is involved.
I've always stated how important it is to get out of the city and into the wild to discover the wonder of nature, its reflective beauty on self, and in turn discover more about yourself...yep, and still that is the drum I beat. On 2nd look however, there is a depth to the statement that goes to another level for me in light of the less than encouraging year I've had in 2020. When I lost so many of the 'comforts' I had known -- my wife, my home, my community, my counselors, my career, my security, my plan, my significance -- I have literally felt like I've been in a personal wilderness, alone and isolated - evermore with every scary step and tumultuous turn. Terrifying honestly, if I stop moving long enough to think about it...as if I were a shark that has to mindlessly keep moving, else die...and unfortunately sometimes I have to stop moving and I do have to think about it…deal with it, sometimes seemingly die with it...die with all the grand illusions in the dark.
Desperate deeds, strangers, darkest days, baited by the prospects of hopes yet humbly reassured by everything I’ve lost, I leap to fly into blue skies only to turn and watch them fall apart. I'm discovering that navigating this craggy landscape of personal wilderness requires a special courage to operate the compass left to guide me when all other guides fail me...the thing I haven't historically trusted and honored to its proper exaltation...myself and the God-given intuition fed to me, unfiltered and untainted by my ego.
I know not how long I will travel this hero's journey to salvation -- full of the pitfalls, the sheer cliffs, the sharp steep switchbacks, the sliding scree-slopes, the dead-end plateaus where I turn circles so-low – and yet what I do know…is that every one of them is a glimpsing discovery of self and each leading me to a new acceptance to self and trust of intuition…even when I get it wrong I can trust in that. Like this wilderness in front of me, untamed, wild, beautiful, and unforgiving. I’ve never been here before, not sure how I got here, but I had to see it, and not sure what to do next…stepping into it scares me present, and that is where I will trust intuition.
A lesser known but equally scenic cousin just West of Oak Creek Canyon and the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, Sycamore Creek Canyon is the second largest canyon in Arizona, only behind the Grand Canyon and offers hikers plenty of solitude-filled natural beauty. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness was Arizona's first Wilderness Area, designated in 1972. The canyon is marked by colorful cliffs, soaring pinnacles, and desert riparian areas -- from its pine and fir-forested rim on the Colorado Plateau down through the Mogollon Rim to its desert mouth in the Verde Valley. It is home to black bear, mountain lion, Elk, Deer, ring-tailed cats, as well as many other creatures, all set within flourishing sycamores, walnuts, and cottonwoods down below, framed above by Ponderosa, Oak, and Juniper. The Wilderness contains more than 50,000 acres and has the unique care-taking situation of falling within three National Forests -- the Prescott, Kaibab, and Coconino. Unlike the neighboring canyon Oak Creek just North of Sedona along a popular scenic highway route travelling to Flagstaff -- skirting the edge of the Red Rock wilderness and overwhelmed daily every day of the year by the sheer number of tourists -- you won't have that experience enjoying the same kind of amazing stuff in Sycamore Canyon...you just have to be more committed. The ruggedness in the upper reaches can only be approached by the Northeast in the Coconino, the Northwest in the Kaibab, through many miles of rugged dirt roads. For those who like it a bit easier, approaching into the lower canyon reaches from the South, in the Prescott National Forest, is an easy alternate to take a break from Oak Creek and hike up the Parson's Trail along 4 miles of lower Sycamore Creek into one of the world's rarest habitats, a flourishing desert riparian area.