Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cloud Hidden

Over the last few months I have been spending most of my time in Taranaki with work, culminated by a busy last few weeks. At least I was under the shadow of the beautiful volcano, and when it did appear out of the cloud always brought a sense of calm to my soul.

Now another week or so to tidy up a few loose ends and my dreams of other mountains will come to fruition. I want to be cloud hidden. I want to drag my soon to be 50 year old body up into the Ruahine and get "lost" from so much out here. My goal when undergoing getting my hip replaced in April was to be in the mountains by my birthday in July. I have already been in the mountains but they call out for more after that successful test. I feel ready to disappear into the mist.

I have often felt alone out here. I suppose it is just part of my nature, part of who I have become in these last 50 years. Sometimes I am amazed at the wealth of love and friendship I have accrued around me and feel undeserving of accepting. It has really only been recently how much I know I am not alone, both in that wealth around me, but also my kinship with so many other misfits out there. Men who never fit in, or died trying, the ones hiding behind closed doors hating the world out here, or hiding in a haze of drugs and alcohol. God knows I have done all of that.

I am tired of the system that only allows us to be successful if we have a good job, a new car, a big house. I am tired of the system that places value on wilderness only in terms of how much wealth it will create if we destroy it. I am tired of the system that encourages foreign companies to explore off our shores for oil to keep that system running, while at this very moment the oil gushes unhindered into the sea of my homeland, just as it has for years in the seas of other nations whose citizens skins are not the same colour as mine. For some reason it seems to mean more in places where the people it most affects are white. I am tired of that too.

So I just really want to lie on the ground in the mountains and dig my hands into the Ruahine earth, to drink from the clear cold waters and cleanse myself, to become part of the mountains, of the land. Just for a few moments I want to leave all this behind. It will all be waiting when I return.


Dave said...

Amen to all this. Hope you get your wish soon.

Barbara Martin said...

Isn't that the truth.

Before you go on your journey to your favourite place in the mountains please let us know. I will certainly be looking forward to the photos you bring back.

I have a special hiking post coming soon that I'm certain will help heal your soul, at least on the visual side.

robertguyton said...

Hey Robb!
I finally thought to follow your link and look at your blog - and it's a delight!
Nga Ruahine look beautiful and I can see why you like to spend time there.
Have you ever been in the Takitimu Range near Lake Manapouri?
I walked in there during the time I spent managing a lodge and revegetation project for Ngai Tahu called Te Koawa Turoa o Takitimu.
Special place.

Donald said...

Dear Robb

I hope your forth coming trip goes well. Sun or mist - to be in the clouds allows both!

Travel light my friend



Bob McKerrow said...

Robb , the world is f--cked up, but little rays of hope, little rays of help and lttle rays of accomplishment in making the world better, keep most of us going.

Today I came from Christchurch to Greymouth over the alps, and a 6 year old and a ten year old boys, sat the whole way looking at their computers and I never saw them looking out the window. their parents sat behind and never gave them any guidance and direction. God, we can learn so much by looking out of a window, but to many now, the window is firmly shut. So wherein lies the choice ? Bankruptcy of spirit, or bankruptcy of seeing ?

feddabonn said...

kia ora robb,

i can relate with much of this post, both the tiredness and the desire to be 'cloud hidden'. and the knowledge that i am not alone.

kia kaha,


Phillip Collyns said...

Into the 5th week of my trainee rangers course another 13 then everyone heads out on Work placement for 4 months before another 17 weeks of study. Cant wait to get out there and working out in the mountains!

Currently helping out at the Brook Santuary down here in Nelson(google it and check out there website) Going to do a 4hr trapline once a month. Rest of the time out there tramping in Mount Richmond Forest Park.

Really good bunch of people on the course most in there early 20s who have been chosen out of the original 124 aplicants and 53 who got a interview(down to 20) Chosen because they are passionate about working for the Department and preserving the wilderness for all to enjoy.

You should get out to Ruahine Corner!!!


Marja said...

Kia ora Robb how nice to be in touch with you again. I have missed it because it is a pleasure to have such a nice friends out there. I know the feeling of being tired right now
and indeed being out and about in paradise whashes all your worries away. Hope it will happen soon and
that your 50th birthday will be a happy one. I have one more year to go to the big 50 so you can tell me by than how live is in the fifties Take care

Northland said...

I really relate to what you're saying about the state of nature with humans and their never-ending desire for more. It is so GOOD to lose yourself in the land. Thanks for expressing your desires so well.

troutbirder said...

Go for it Robb. I'm with you spirit. Along with my artificial knee!

Robin Easton said...

Dearest Wild Brother,


This is truly stellar, MAGNIFICENT, the BEST you've ever written. Once again, you speak the words that sit in my own heart, but then you already know that. I hardly know what to say in response, other than I hope you will always speak so bluntly. I need you to, the world needs you to whether they realize it or not. We need at least a few unadulterated voices left in the world. And you do it so beautifully, genuinely, without excuse or apology.

I have nothing but the deepest respect for you. I also REALLY REALLY admire your honesty here. It makes you rock solid, like the mountains you love. Keep being you, keep inspiring those of us who hear you and need you. Your voice is wild and raw, and the sweetest music to my soul. It is like you, Wild Brother.

Your Wild Sister.

ophelia rising said...

So beautiful. So true. I'm tired of all of it, too. Very, very tired of it all. I often find myself craving to be alone, longing for the stillness, the release from being a person, wanting to claw into the earth and become something else - something unfettered, without accountability, in a sense.

I mean that I wish to be disassociated from the world that puts money first, as well as all the implications that go along with it. This is not my world. I didn't come from that place. I came from a place of creativity, of hope and endless possibilities, and love - that, too. I *was* all that, once. This world, these decisions, none of it is mine, and I struggle with this every day.

I send much love to you and your family, Robb. One day, maybe, there'll be a place for us to be.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Dave,
Cheers. May we all find a place amongst the moss and lichen.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
I will look forward to your hiking post, as I always do. Those Canadian giants take my breath away.
Hopeful to get out late this coming weekend as still have a bit of work to get through, but the light and path to the mountains is definitely finally showing. I will look forward to sharing my visits.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Robert,
Appreciate the visit. Yes the Ruahine are indeed a beautiful place. One of many in our under threat land here I know, but the one which has captured my soul.
My time down south has been pretty limited, spent some some time in Arthur's Pass, and the Torlesse a year or so ago. Spent almost a whole day at Kura Tawhiti as the aura there just overwhelmed me. So I am way overdue, especially with a more cooperative hip, to get down that way and get amongst some of these wonderful places.
Love your place and your passion Robert, Kia kaha!

Wilma Ham said...

Kia Ora Robb.
Yes you are absolutely speaking from an honest paying attention. What you say is what you see when you dare to open your eyes.
There is so much more to nature than we currently know and see. There is an intelligence there that is so nurturing to us if we let it. I love how you know and how you let the mountains call you. Robb, that is for real and you are paying attention. Nature heals and nurtures even if we trash it and dishonor it the way we do. But every time when we recognize nature, it heals too. We are blessed in New Zealand, there is nature to go to, to heal us and to heal nature itself.
You go and tell those mountains, Robb tell them that you feel them.
Aroha, xox Wilma

Snowbrush said...

I'm a blogger friend of Kylie.

Hip replacement at 49--bummer. At least it's the simplest of the joints that's commonly replaced. I'm eligible for a shoulder and a knee, but am putting them off as long as possible.

We like some of the same writers. I haven't read Kesey, however, although he's from the town where I live (Eugene, Oregon, USA), and died here just a few years ago.

Your photos are beautiful.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
When we are cloud hidden it does not matter should it be in the sun or mist, just so we are up there somewhere. Cheers my friend, my pack may be a bit heavy but I will certainly travel light.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Good questions. Good ones to ponder wandering up or along a mountain track.
I can honestly write if I was on that train over the Alps with Charlie, we would be jostling each other to press our faces against those windows. I could never tire of such views.
There seem to be so many windows mankind has shut, and so many immune to so much suffering and ill treatment of each other and the earth. I know as well you live and work with that all the time, so thanks for your support. Hope the rest of your time in NZ is full of joy.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora feddabonn,
Good to realize we are never really alone. Kindred spirits are always a welcome find. Rave on my friend.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Phillip,
Great to read your of your progress and I am happy our wild places will have a young spirit such as yourself roaming and looking after our mountains. Following the mountain journeys of you and your dad over these past few years and reading of your growing love of the mountains has been a real pleasure. You both have done a great job and should both be very proud. Young guys like you connecting with the mountains gives us all hope. I hope both my boys get a bit of that.
I will get to Ruahine Corner mate, maybe this coming spring, but I will get there. Hope we can run into each other one of these days - a hut in the Ruahine would be cool. Study hard and chin up.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
Great to see you back online. I can honestly my last days of being in my 40's feel physically much better than I have in the past 3-4 years. The new hip has made a big difference, and over the next month I will really test it in the mountains a few times.
It just seems to me this National government, and perhaps all governments, are so much concerned with perpuating the system than actually changing anything towards our treatment of the earth, of balancing gaps between haves and have nots, of coming to populist and easy solutions to indiginous issues, inequality, crime, ect. It does get tring, but we must keep talking and keep trying, and slowly keep changing ourselves. Kia kaha my friend.

Anonymous said...

"I feel ready to disappear into the mist."

I wish I knew how, we get food and water and shelter from the places we love...I think the next natural progression is to want to become part of them...

We can't have freedom without wilderness...Ed Abbey said that...

We can't be human without wildness...I said that...

P.S. the pics are wonderful, great color...

pohanginapete said...

Beautifully said, Robb. The photographs, particularly the first, with its evocative mood, and the last, with its intimations of space and freedom, are stunning.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Don,
It is a pleasure to share here with Like Minded people. I was roused out of my recent malaise by our right wing governement today back stepping from plans to mutilate our wild places by mining them due to the overwhelming response by people saying NO. It is a start, and a long battle lies ahead, but today is a good day.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
Well, between your one knee and my one hip we still add up to a Whole! You are more than welcome to come explore some trout spots I know of in the mountains.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wild Sister,
You always bring a smile to my face with your unabashed love (and Claiming). All I can write is kia ora Robin. Your lightness helps me to balance the darkness I can often find myself slipping into. The only true safe place I have found from that is in the mountains.
You would be proud of our little nation today. Our voices were heard in the protests, and the submissions objecting to mining our Wild Places, the Inheritance of our children. They backed down as the voices rumbled and grew louder. The fight has only begun, here and everywhere in the world, but the possibilities were evident today. At least today the mountains are smiling, and I need to be with them. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
I feel you my sister. We are kindred in many ways, and that melancholia is always close at hand, sometimes most in the moments we should seemingly be enjoying the most. I have always felt different, but finding a different path is even harder to bear. My beautiful wife is on her own path away from all this, and what I am finding is that our seperate journeys bring us closer together. And also knowing there are souls out there like you, and Robin, and so many I have connected with, and accept my words for what they are, makes it all a little better as well.
Take your family to the mountains, to the clear streams, and show them Ophelia. That is the place for us to be. Kia kaha dear one.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

A beautiful post and fantastic photos, Robb!!! We both share the ideal that living simply is best and will always stay that way. I find happiness immersed in nature also. You have your beautiful misty mountain paths and I the lapping waves of Lake Huron and Superior.

God bless you!!! So happy you are able to return to your old haunts that have captured your heart and soul.

Cheers, JJ

Greg Brave said...

Hi Robb,
I hear what you saying, and I can feel it also. I hope one day to achieve this dream of mine - to live close to the nature, just as you try to.

But I have this dilemma, and I'd like to hear your take on it.

You say that people should live close to the nature, but from the other side you do use many of the civilization benefits - cars, buildings from modern materials, modern clothes, hell - hiking equipment. You know, all this was made with help of oil and stuff.

So how can we solve this dilemma, and be honest with ourselves when from one side we don't want to hurt the nature but from the other we drive our cars and all that?

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wilma,
It was good to discover yesterday Wilma that there seem to be many voices and eyes out there who at the very least care these places are there. I take great heart in that. I will gladly head to the mountains in a few days and dhare the news with them.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Snowbrush,
Haere mai - Welcome and appreciate the visit. Kylie's is a favourite place of mine as well.
The hip replacement has come along well, to be pain free and more mobile is amazing, and of course having the door to the mountains reopened is too much for words really. In my case it was a matter of having the next 10-12 years to do things I want to do. And really it was just getting to be too much to cope with. It is hard to realize that in proper context until the pain and immobileness is gone, if that makes sense. All the best with the shoulder and knee. If it can be managed delaying it is probably a good idea.
Kesey can be a hard slog at times, but I enjoy him. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is still pretty relevant, maybe even more so today. Oregon is beautiful spot, not too unlike New Zealand in many ways. Glad you enjoy the photos, I certainly enjoy being psrt of the moments.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora LC,
I am getting ready to head into the mist, and truly test how the new hip will carry me. I feel good and strong. My tin cup will honour you.
Sometimes I wonder about humans....
Kia kaha brother.

KB said...

I'm tired of the same things that you are... In the past few years, I got off the fast track of an ambitious career and spend more time out in nature than ever before. I'm happier, despite the spine pain that plagues me.

I think that the non-misfits are boring. Misfits are what make this world go around... I'm one too but I'm learning that I fit perfectly in some places, like my mountains. I think that it's the same for you.

I wish you a wonderful time in the mountains. Rejoice!!!!! You earned it!

Kia Kaha,

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Thanks for that. It means a lot coming from a photographer and writer I admire very much. Both those photos were from the same trip on the Whanahuias and just spoke to me, so it was more just being in the moment to observe rather than any skills I have as a photographer. But I like them as well.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Well you know JJ, there is peice of my soul back home along the shores of the Great Lakes as well, and if I listen in my heart close enough I can still hear those same waves lapping the shores. But yes, being here the mountains do call strongly. My best to you and Jeff.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Greg,
Thanks for your thoughts and the tough question. Sometimes that is the very conumdrum which can drive me to feel very depressed about the world and my place in it. I admit I have one foot firmly planted in the system out here. I have a job that requires me to drive a car, a mortgage that requires me to have a job, 2 growing boys to feed and clothe, and so on. So for me to simply drop out and abandon any of the responsibility would be, well, irresponsible.
What I can do is to start with myself and family. My beautiful wife is changing far faster and far more totally than I am, so that is the first start. How we buy our food, clothes, our plans for the future being based on a more sustainable interaction with the earth and the world out here. Doing little things like more complete recycling, a better job with our food purchasing and budgeting - so as not to be getting into the car for a daily round trip to the stores. Turning off our lights and electronics at the power points, making sure we wash a full load of clothes or dishes, not having a clothes dryer, putting in a wood fire, or reinsulating our house, puting in a garden and utilizing our fruit trees. These are things we are doing now or have started to do.
In terms of actually getting to the point where I use no petroleum based products and such, well that is a long slow process. I have not bought any new tramping gear in years, aside from boots, and a job I had years ago at a merino wool clothes place enabled me to lay into pretty much a lifetime supply of merino wool gear, sock, long johns, tops, and pull overs, hats, gloves.
I have to state that while I think the system needs to run itself down and get to other ways of providing energy, that I have never stated I have the answers to living completely off the grid, or wearing completely natural fibres and such. There are those out there who do, Allan Stellar who visits here is building an off the grid home using recycled timebers, straw, hay, and mud, and nearly finished, and there are many others who visit and comment here whom could no doubt provide better in depth answers to your question than I can. I take inspiration and knowledge from that as well, that there are others out there who can teach me and show the way. I am a work in progress no question. I found the mountains fairly late, and fairly recently, so I am still a neophyte at this in many ways. Maybe my place is to work on myself, my boys, and encourage others to get out an enjoy nature. And just go from there.
I hope this helps in some way Greg, as long you are asking the questions that has to mean something. Thanks for tuning in my friend.

Snowbrush said...

"having the door to the mountains reopened is too much for words really."

Maybe new hips come with fewer limitations than new knees. I had to give up mountain hiking due to arthritis, but I'm told that if I get new knees, I still won't be able to take such hikes.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Yes, the misfits have always had more appeal to me. Bukowski, Thompson, Kerouac, Whitman, Muir, Abbey, Steinbeck. Maybe it is that it is far more interesting to keep asking questions than to assume we know any answers.
We are indeed kindred in that feeling of being Home in the mountains KB, and as I have written before your continuing journey to be there was a huge inspiration for me, and continues to be in pushing beyond my perceived physical limitations.
I will think of you up while up there and smile. Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Snow,
I won't be long winded here as I left a comment over at your place in regards to hips and knees. Suffice to write that there are many stories out there of people doing incredible things with new hips, knees, even artificial limbs. It may be more about finding that comfort level of what we can and can't do, and I am learning that everyday. However, putting a fairly heavy pack on my back and discovering I can still walk in that sort of terrain took a bit of doing. I am going to enjoy it while I can.

Snowbrush said...

"there are many stories out there of people doing incredible things with new hips, knees, even artificial limbs."

I'm not suggesting that I know better than your doctor in your particular case. What I do know, generally speaking, about artificial joints is that they come with limitations. For example, a person with artificial knees shouldn't lift heavy weights.

When I mentioned to my orthopedist that I had heard of people climbing mountains, running marathons, etc. on artificial joints; I was told that, although such things are possible, they put more stress on the joints than the joints were intended to carry. Also, each replacement of an old artificial joint has less chance of working than its predecessor. It is for these reasons that I don't already have new shoulders and new knees.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Snow,
I hear ya...
I am very cognizant of what I do in terms of training and such. I used to love to run, and have done a few marathons, but no more. And my mountain travels are much slower paced and less hours than a few years ago. That is just something I cannot give and I am willing to risk. I can only deal with the replacement one at a time, and if I get 10 years of being able to spend in the mountains, I'll deal with the next one then. Knees are definitely more problematic than hips. Kia kaha - Remain Strong.

Pam said...

Hi Robb.Thanks for your visit and comment recently. I did enjoy my time away from the city and went for many hikes. The hard part was coming back to all the tacky advertising signs and traffic. I thought "thank god animals can't read, we'd be bombarding them with signs of instructions and temptations daily." I live for the times I can get away - can't say I'm happy to leave the mobile phone at home because I've never had/wanted one! People seem glued to them. I am thankful for aspects of technology however, because it means I can visit here. Enjoy your upcoming hike, and glad the hip is going well!

Joe McCarthy said...

Robb: I'm glad to read that the surgery and test trek back into the mountains were successful!

Your words about misfitting and aloneness resonate; I often find it challenging to break through the near all-encompassing state of aloneness to accept the love, friendship or kinship of other misfits (or even apparently well-adjusted individuals). Reading about others' sense of misfitting helps me feel a little less lonely in my aloneness.

I recently read one of the most inspiring essays I've encountered in years, Solitude and Leadership, by William Deresiewicz, the subtitle of which is If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts. Deresiewicz contrasts people trained to be "world-class hoop jumpers", who make "excellent sheep", and "who can climb the greasy pole of whatever hierarchy they decide to attach themselves to" with those who have the confidence and courage to argue for their ideas, even when they are not popular. And he argues this confidence and courage only comes from solitude, through which one can get clear about one's calling, away from the calling(s) of or from others.

I'm glad you are again able to seek the solitude of your special place, the Ruahines, and look forward to more of the inspiring insights and experiences that you share whenever you come down from the mountains.

Beth said...

Robb, this is beautifully written and I know what you're talking about. That fatigue seems to grow stronger with age and awareness, though we're often distracted, and the only solace is to be with nature and wilderness again. It's odd, isn't it, how one's insignificance in nature isn't disturbing at all, while feeling insignificant in a teeming city can have just the opposite effect.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
Cheers, and I just returned from my trip to the Ruahine, and posted a new offering. Yes, it is good to leave all that behind. It will all be waiting for us when we get back. Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
Ha! It is indeed reassuring to find we are never too alone in our aloneness. I like that!
I agree completely with the premise the article and will look forward to reading it. I spend a lot of time alone away from people and stuff, or relatively so. I am still waiting for a few a clear vision of my calling.
As I wrote above just posted on my recent trip and reflections. As always the mountain experience for me is fresh and new with much to learn.
Rangimarie e hoa,

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Beth,
There are certain times I love big cities and the human contact they offer in music, art, food, vitality. Yet I tend to tire quickly of too much human stimulation as sooner or later it gets back to the grind and hustle.
In the wild, when I am there for days I am always amazed at my sense of hearing, or maybe I mean Listening. I stop trying to equate a human explanation for everything I hear and begin to be more in the natural world. That is when I smile. Kia kaha my friend.

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Kia ora Robb

Indeed a delightful post and I have to agree with you too "I am tired" of all the shenanigans of the corporate world. Soon it will be springtime for you and the Ruahine ranges will shake off the wintry wear. No doubt, you will be there to celebrate with her and you will send my way lots of pictures as I shall be waiting.