The Complexities of Simple Things, and the Simplification of Complex Things

sim·plic·i·ty

simˈplisədē/

noun; the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.

com·plex·i·ty

kəmˈpleksədē/

noun; the state or quality of being intricate or complicated. “an issue of great complexity”

 a factor involved in a complicated process or situation. plural noun: complexities “the complexities of family life”

I really don’t know if any of this post is going to make sense, it’s an idea that I’d like to spend more time with and get to know better…but I also don’t want to hold back from writing for fear that my idea is imperfect or flawed. Anyway, here goes:

How simple it seems to be happy.  How simple it seems to climb a mountain.  How simple it seems to love truly.  How simple it seems to smile.  How simple it seems to laugh.  How simple it seems to breathe deeply with ease.  How simple it seems to live a good life.  How simple!  So why does it sometimes seem so hard?

From a distance everything is simple: love, adventure, education, friendship, parenthood, etc.  In the same way, from a distance, Earth also looks slow and still and calm and simple.  But zoom in on the earth…land on its surface, and you’ll see how complex it really is.  It is full of peaks and valleys, rivers and oceans, volcanoes and icebergs, fish and birds, predators and prey, cities and wide open spaces.  And those are just the things that can be seen by the naked eye, those are the things that one can observe lazily and with ease.  Beyond those things are microscopic organisms that are vital to the maintenance of the balance of entire ecosystems, there are hierarchies and social orders within the animal world, there are weather patterns that determine the survival of people and plants and animals, there is so much to the earth.  That little rotating ball that seemed so simple in space is quite intricate when you get close enough to touch it.

Most everything in life is like the earth we live on: multifaceted, complicated, and different than expected (once it is truly experienced).  Being aware of something is far different than experiencing it.  A person can fantasize about adventure or love or parenthood, they can read books, they can watch films, but until they put themselves in the middle of it…they cannot fully understand what it is to be a part of that thing they thought they knew so much about.

The casualties of love have been a prevalent part of my observations lately.  So many people, if not all people, have suffered heartbreak.  I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices, read it in their body language.  I’m not just talking about traditional couples’ heartbreak…I’m talking about love for all different aspects of life: hiking, climbing, sports, animals, hobbies, and so on.  It is very possible to fall head over heels for something, in the same way it is possible to fall in love with someone!

And doesn’t falling in love with someone or something always just completely sucker you in!?  I know it gets me!  Love seems so easy: be kind, be happy, enjoy the experience.  But looking at love like that is like looking at the earth from far away, you’re not getting the full idea of what you’re looking at until you get much closer.  Love for anyone or anything is complex and delicate and full of variables.  That’s why things can go from so good to so bad so fast.  And by the same token, it’s why things can go from so bad to so good. You just really don’t know what you’re going to get, until you delve into it.

When it comes to loving people and being in relationships, I don’t dive in or rush things…but when it comes to falling in love with pursuits (hiking, horses, basketball, adventures) I usually fall fast and hard!  That’s where I have experienced the most dreadful and painful heartbreak.  But thankfully I have always been able to recover well enough to fall in love with something new.  This summer I attempted a different approach with a new pursuit: hiking 14ers.  I didn’t just dive into hiking, I wanted to get to know it and keep it as a friend for a while…before things got too serious.  I joke a lot that hiking 14ers is like the one night stand approach to hiking.  Thru-hikers are married to one trail and they are committed…while I have the luxury of hiking and then leaving.  But maybe I should change how I look at things?  I think my experience this summer has been more like the development of a loving friendship between the mountains and me.  My experience has been mostly kind and gentle and patient!  Patience has been the key to our successful relationship.  We try to understand one another, we are friends that want to enjoy being together, we don’t have any grand expectations, we just take each day for what it is and roll with it.

Hiking has become my new best friend, and isn’t that how love should start out anyway…as a grand alliance!?  Hiking and I have known each other for a long time actually, since I was just a little kid.  I knew hiking when my dad was alive, we spent time together in the canyon land that my mom fantasized about buying, we played together in Penrose, we explored Anasazi ruins in Utah when I was in high school, we have had so many great experiences together over the years and throughout all that time we never once tried to force one another into something we weren’t ready for.  There have never been any grand proposals or ridiculous romantic gestures; it has always been simple happy fun!  Don’t get me wrong, there have been days where our friendship was tested and things got scary and difficult…but those times just made us stronger.  We are definitely in love, but we aren’t engaged or planning on getting married anytime soon, if ever.  The plan is…to not have a plan…to take something that could easily be overcomplicated and destroyed and keep it simple and enjoyable.  So then, how does that apply to the rest of my life?  How does this concept apply to all those things in life that seem so simple from far away, but are so complex when seen up close?  Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, about the complexity of simple things and the simplicity of complex things…and I think there is a middle ground that can be found for all things lovable.  I don’t think healthy love is always an easy thing to find or maintain, especially when desire and emotions muddy the waters. However, I think with a consciousness of the complexities of love, with awareness, with patience, with practice healthy love is possible.  It is attainable, sustainable, and despite all of its complexities it can be very very simple and easy.

This summer was the best summer of my life.  Writing that out feels profound and powerful because it is the truth.  I developed a magnificent relationship with hiking, I fell in love, and I grew as a human being, I was tested, I was rewarded, I was surprised, and I wouldn’t take one thing back or re-do anything.  I took an idea that seemed simple (climbing 14ers), got close enough to see the complexities of the reality of that idea, and then simplified things as much as I could, as often as I could, and I HAD THE BEST SUMMER OF MY LIFE!

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A perfect place to watch the sun set is just a short drive from Lake City

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Essence of Campfire was my summer scent

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I love flowers in any state…vibrant and green or dry and brown…they’re beautiful no matter what!

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I let my imagination run free when I hike alone and my vision changes, everything is saturated and colorful and magical

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Prince is a twinkling light in my life!

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The things I carried

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Prince’s new pal 🙂

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His name is Lucky and I feel lucky to know him!  He’s a good friend, a good dad, a good human being.

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The BEST day of my summer and maybe even my life…the Wilson and El Diente Traverse! SO MUCH FUN!

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Mad Dog! The Bodhi of my life! He and his girlfriend, Mandy, are pretty spectacular human beings!

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Visits with my aunt and uncle have been cathartic.  Thad is always happy always calm.  And Sue Ellen…well, I told her “I feel like I’m only good at disappointing people.” and she said, “Good! Keep it up!” Profound moment for me!

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