Wednesday, 22 December 2010
As the sun sets on 2010, and I begin to reflect, I do not think I can recall a year which has been such a contrast of personal fortunes and experiences, the bifurcus of which can be observed through the auspices of an explicit and conspicuous inception which, in and of itself, had no discernible catalyst - a simultaneous fork in the road of each of my lives with neither explanation nor symmetry except that each divarication seemingly occurred in concert. Prior to June 2010, my professional life in disarray, marred by unconscionable stress and misery; my personal life somewhat without direction, with the exception of my indomitable guardian angel, Mrs. M, I was a maelstrom of conflicting emotion.
Yet, as the year grew older, and the summer began its ingress into the chill of the spring, several seemingly unconnected things changed all at once. My professional life re-invented with a new posting - not a complete reprieve from the rigours and stresses of the previous 18 months, but a new regime in place to make the management of that stress easier. My personal life grew fuller as we anticipated the impending arrival of the Little Man in a way possessed of greater understanding and a gradual edification. And of course, I began to realise a long-held ambition - I started a journal.
I have long loved writing and, upon discovering the blogs of Robin Evans and Martin Rye, it seemed a natural way to indulge my desire to chronicle for myself and my family my various experiences, and to write. Over the coming months, more and more people began to comment and follow or subscribe to my journal and I began to realise the other immutable joy of blogging - connection with like-minded people. On the whole, there are myriad modern-day philosophers with whom I have conversed at some length and with whom I hope to meet and walk hills. In relation to this, may I take the time to thank each and every person who has spent their precious time reading what I write and commenting on it. It would be a grave fallacy to suggest that writers and journalists do not appreciate those who take the time inject their own conceptions into their oeuvres - it is the greatest compliment.
My own understanding of the principles of lightweight and ultralightweight backpacking matured through the patronage of those very same bloggers who persuaded me to begin my journal in the first place. There are some many of them, I would not seek to detract from my enjoyment of them by naming some and potentially missing others. They know who they are - I comment on those blogs I enjoy - and I thank all of you warmly. If we meet in 2011, I should find that very agreeable indeed. The understanding and application of those UL principles permitted me a freedom of the outdoors, and a level of enjoyment, that was a progression of the deepest significance for me - a cathartic catalyst for a redefining of how I viewed my place in the world and, more importantly, how I viewed the path I would take over the coming years.
We are created, over the course of our lives, by our experiences and it seems to me it is only death - our passing on to another place - that ends that creation. We are never finished - we continue to learn and to develop and mature. Each an every experience adds to that creation and the latter half of 2010 was a far more positive contribution to that development than the first half. The Tour du Mont Blanc, largely as a consequence of the people I met and trekked with, but also as an introduction to Alpine walking, sparked in me a desire to add another dimension to my hillwalking and trekking. It stimulated an excited anticipation of a fresh genre which, in fact, was not at all new but had always been there.
And the latter half of 2010 brought to myself and Mrs M the most cataclysmic shift in our lives - our Little Man - which opened our eyes to what life could really mean. The most stressful, thrilling, lovely and beautiful gift is your own baby's smile. What more can I say?
My fondest and warmest wishes to each and every one of you for 2011. Thank you for reading.