Moving Within the Catastrophe

My Philosophy of Life begins with an acknowledgment of the Catastrophe.

The Catastrophe is. It is a “Given”. It can’t be avoided. But it can be disrupted.

Oliver being welcomed by the Catastrophe in Tweedsmuir Park 1989

The point and purpose of my life isn’t to avoid the Catastrophe, or pretend that it’s not there. Nor is it to surrender to the Catastrophe. The point and purpose of my life is to move towards My Better Self within the Catastrophe to the best of my abilities.

Even when I am on a Solo the Catastrophe provides me with “company”.
Sawtooth area, South-Central Purcells, July 2021.

The Catastrophe includes (but is not limited to) my mistakes, failures, disappointments, and my Diminishments (as I get older and slower). It also includes non-optimal situations and adversity.

Trying to put on frozen boots, Skoki area, Banff National Park, April 2017
Fresh wolf tracks near my campsite, Simpson River, Mount Assiniboine Park, February 2010

But without non-optimal situations and adversity there can be no adventure. Adventure depends upon the fact that the Catastrophe is “lurking” nearby.

Deadfall blocking my way up an abandoned “trail” in the South-Central Purcells, 2020. Note my walking pole — it marks about waist height, so I have to (get to?) clamor ungraciously over these fallen trees with my heavy pack. Again … “Welcome to the Catastrophe”.

On trips, the Catastrophe questions me daily:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your espoused values?
  • How do they compare to your actions?
  • What are you thinking about when you encounter this adversity?
  • Who do you want to be when the going gets tough?

<– I heard all of these questions as I moved ever-so-slowly up this slippery boulder slope (no trail) in St. Mary’s Alpine Park, October 2018.

To disrupt the Catastrophe requires the development and demonstration of character. The Catastrophe simply doesn’t know what to do in the face of character. Character baffles the Catastrophe. And when the Catastrophe is baffled (albeit temporarily), progress can be made. Only at these times can I can navigate “productively” within the Catastrophe — navigate towards my Better Self.

Navigating within the Catastrophe — my pant leg ripped during a particularly horrendous bushwack on Day One of a 6-day trip. That means I’ve got 5 more days of wandering around the mountains with ripped pants. Grrr.
Picture taken after I set up Camp One, South-Central Purcells, 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: