Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Banff Mountain Film inspires extreme domesticity!

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour came to Durango on Sunday. The event, held at the Smiley Building, was a fundraiser for Colorado Wild, those good folks plugging away for us to keep Wolf Creek Pass from becoming Wolf Creek Village, Estates, Mall, Condos, Parking Lot and MegaResort.

Anyway, the whole family and some friends wandered over to check it out. It was a good time, and a nice sedentary way to get stimulated after a weekend of spring skiing.

The eight shorts and films we saw were, as the MC from the Festival promised during the warm-up, "inspirational." I'm glad the kids came along, because it did convey the message, emerging as the attitude radiating from each person portrayed in each film, that you gotta get yer ass out and do stuff.

Challenging stuff. Stuff that puckers your butt. Stuff that is a siren call direct to your quantum-level energy-being -- or whatever you believe animates us as living beings. Stuff that you cannot not heed. Or if you do, it's at your mortal risk.

Okay, the folks recorded in this particular series of shorts may have followed their inner voices to places and situations that I, myself, am happy to support from a safe and sedentary distance. Rowing across the ocean? Speed-biking down Mont Blanc? Pedaling a tandem bicycle from Prudhoe Bay to the tip of South America? Scaling Trango Tower -- bivvying on the cliff face for days on a "porta-ledge" -- then leaping off wearing one of those flying-squirrel suits?

Admirable. But not enviable.
Yet also inspirational.

It's true. At this point in my life, my extreme sport is parenting. (But I do have two teenages -- a riffly section life-stream ranging from pool-drop Class III to Class V waterfall.) And the overall grander epic I forge along on involves maintaining a house; navigating a network of close friends, neighbors and acquaintances; arranging and executing frequent forays into the mountains, rivers, and canyons around where I live; and -- this one is a rather constant challenge -- working at ways to pay for all that.

Yet settling somewhere that matters to me, creating a family, connecting with friends and neighbors, pursuing an occupation and skill -- those were deliberate choices I made. A predilection that called to me. A desire I sought to explore. A long journey I deliberately and of my own free will embarked up and still travel. Every day.

Like those boundary seekers in those films -- but within my own framework of modern domestic wildness -- I find I myself also fervently endeavoring to travel my own life-expedition with the mind and heart of the Grand Adventurer. I watch those films, and I know that I follow the same spiritual compass bearing as those remote backcountry ice climbers who flew into the Canadian outback to admire and scale British Columbia's remote Hunlen Falls.

I just follow it across close-by, often residential and sometimes indoors terrain. 

(Did I mention I have TWO kids? Both TEENS?? At the SAME TIME!??)

While I believe that harrowing wilderness adventures and excruciating physical challenges hold a primal allure for us as human beings -- hence the popularity of everything from the Banff Mountain Film Festival to action flicks to bungee jumping -- I also know from experience that it's also a deep, genetic, human calling to nurture and provide for a family, become a loving husband (for it takes practice -- take it from an Extreme Spouse), develop useful and practical skills, forge yourself a character, build a tribe, learn a homeland, and work to protect and improve those things for the next generation.

Those, too, are wilderness adventures. Those, too, are human doings that make us human beings. And those, too, require sustained effort and unbending intent; are fraught with extreme risk, struggle, challenge, learning, fear, pain, and risk of failure, injury, and death; and are best approached with senses of presence and adventure, and executed with both practiced skill and personal style.

And those too reward with an overwhelming, transcending, richly gratifying sense of accomplishment and success when done.

And done well.

*****

Learn more about the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour here.

Check out a clip of Roz Savage's rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Festival.

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