Humans need anchors. Terra firma allows us to locate our earthly existence. It gives us confidence, ignites curiosity, restores perspective. It is part of our collective subconscious. This issue celebrates place. Places of refuge and identity. Places that move us, teach us, and reflect what we have already learned. The ideal world is not in our imagination; it is terra firma.
As humans we have all encountered turning points. To be steadfast is to have known the weakest part of yourself and moved through it. These people are cables, muscle and guts, humility and grit.
Knowing who we are is a form of acceptance and surrender. Living in the mountains, learning, experiencing the world, expanding through all things shared, grace comes from being human, together.
Uncorrupted, beautiful, powerful – true wilderness today exists only in ragged strips and isolated pockets. As recreationalists, we rationalize using fossil fuels, plastics, adhesives and other nasty business to get our hit of grace. What is the antidote to our actions?
Humans are unable to distinguish colour in conditions of either total darkness or infinite light. When reduced to black or white the world can become a place of fear and chaos, whether we are considering life and death situations or moral conflicts. In science, technology and culture, a collision of ideas is happening, spawning new forms and systems. The creative process requires courage and combines unlikely forces. Above ground and underground we map new horizons and break with convention. Darkness only exists because there is light to reveal it for what it is – absence. The absence of light, or of knowledge, or of inspiration. In the absence of absolutes, we find grace and dignity. Perspective is everything.
Of all the dangers we face in the outdoors, the most difficult one is that of trust. The power of nature is something that we accept; the power of other forces over us is a conflict. Vulnerability feels like something we can control by not surrendering to it, but really we can’t. We think on it and then let go because if feeling vulnerable stays at the forefront, we become paralyzed. A life well-lived is one spent embracing uncertainty and finding a balance between risk, skill and trust.
What is it we think about as we wind our way over untracked slopes? Do we seek privacy and sublime beauty; or is there a subconscious urge to blaze brightly for the audience or camera that might be watching? With advances in technology, pressures on time, and the rise of weekend backcountry experts, the uptrack has become an art form that bears some reflection.
There is a growing desire for authenticity in the world. Handcrafted goods, artisanal foods, community gardens; people are nostalgic and businesses are returning to old world ways. We want to know where things come from, who makes them, what are the values behind a product. Craftsmanship is about human touch. Human touch links us to something tangible, something of personal value. In quality craftsmanship we recognize integrity of thought, the accumulation of knowledge and experience, the collective process of discovery between maker and object.