How Earnestly We Strive

I’m going to try something new here. Since i’ve been bad at keeping a journal and extra bad at keeping up with my blog, pictures have served as a filler for the details that naturally fade. I don’t know if this is a good replacement because pictures only capture one moment and leave a lot for debate–but that is a topic for a different time.

For the last half of our trip in Squamish, Connell and I were greeted by our good friend Jonathan Finch. We met Jonathan while studying at the University of San Diego. Since then he has he returned to Montana to pursue a career in photography–no surprise since he has a great eye for capturing beauty. Long story short, we all met up again in Canada to climb, photograph and explore. Jonathan expressed that he wanted to start writing little vignettes along with the photos he took. I immediately latched on to this idea and asked him if I could take some of the photos he took of us and write–clearly he said “yes”.

A good picture should tell a story and a good story should paint a picture–and the combination of two should… create a symphony? On that note (pun intended) I will try my best to create short symphonies with the words that Jonathan has already written with his photos.


“The time we spend waiting”


The mist burns my lungs. My imagination fills in the blanks–faces behind the fog. I remember weekends spent like this–“dad, why do you think this is fun?” Trudging aimlessly, impatiently–lost through the evergreens. But he knew. You don’t have to close your eyes out here–dreaming with your eyes wide open, the canvas is half painted. It’s hard to appreciate the process if you don’t wait, patiently. Patiently I hike, forward moving towards the big reveal. Sometimes not long enough. The wet moss soaks through my beaten boots and I wonder the worth of the time we spend waiting.

“That smile”


That smile. Un-provoked, no punch-line. The moment when memory blurs the line between past and present. Frozen, like a picture he smiles. Long after the picture is taken he smiles. Looking at everything and nothing he smiles.  The time we spend waiting for memories that paint lines on our faces.



Eternally frozen we focus on the familiarities that distract us from the goal–I have seen that tree before, used this gear before, tasted that cool, cool water before. I find peace in knowing that my shoes are tied the same way, the left and then the right. There is peace in knowing that close up, granite crystals shine in the same way–black valleys sprinkled with white snow. The final peace is knowing that the fear will come, but not yet. Created by rituals we find solace in habit–comforted by the details we find silence in chaos.

“How earnestly”


The wall hangs heavy overhead. The route seldom changes–years of movement trace the hidden cracks–suffocating the pores, draining down the face. Standing at the base I am trapped by the notion that every person is the same–every move mapped out. A puppet directed by anger and fear the wall spits me off and chalk coughs in my face. I search for gratitude and no words come–half hearted smiles fill the gap between us. It is when all expectations fade that I am left, stripped-free–the rope directed decisively by MY hands. The clarity comes in waves, washing clean, calloused limbs. “How earnestly should we strive”–Petrarch lamented to himself, “not to stand on mountain-tops, but to trample beneath us those appetites which spring from earthly impulses”.

“I can tell the way you hang your head”


Assuming the position you march the well-traveled path. Like the end of a vacation, you reflect–the gait and order so dependent on success. You create your own realities. The mind spinning with “what ifs” and “why nots”. How can one succeed while the other does not? As a unit you find gratitude– their strength is your strength, their weakness yours. Together you wander–often lost.

“The Life”


We are dangerously perched on the edge of materialism. We laugh at ignorance and proudly walk through the masses–they don’t even know the life they are missing. Pride masks the noise that keeps us up at night–haunts us during the starless nights. We laugh at them, but they laugh at us. How foolish they are, to never live this life. 

“Warming up” 


 Overshadowed by what you will regret is what you will not. Sometimes warming up is the best part of the day and that is okay. I spent so many years just enjoying the view–when did that become not enough? The lines that create our life are filled with moments that fade because they felt so easy. To err is to assume they are insignificant.  


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