Mountain Musings: Where is the wisdom?

It’s been a slow few months over at the Scottish School. We still haven’t recouped the $50 that we splashed out for a City of Revelstoke business license in January. It just sits there, behind the smiley face fridge magnet, in full black and white glory. At least the previous one (2015) was in colour. I suppose that I could have just changed the 5 into an 8, with the stroke of a pen, and saved some cash, but, what the heck, it’s only money…

Gosh, there’s a controversial first paragraph. It’s only money.. Money makes the world go around, or does it? I vaguely remember from Physics class in high school that it was gravity, though better minds than mine have grappled with gravity. I Have grappled with gravity on occasion, but have usually lost. Falling off rock climbs, ice climbs, bicycles, swings, and bar-stools. Gravity always wins.

Where is the wisdom, indeed? Getting drunk doesn’t help, nor does getting stoned. Though sometimes it seems like it does, in that moment. Many a times, with friends, it has seemed like we stumbled across the meaning of life. The next day, in the cold light of the bitter dawn, hungover at the overhang, in Glencoe or Ben Nevis, you realize that you were only drunk.

And if you don’t get your stuff together, you’re going to fall, again. Yes, those crazy days of youth.

Now I’m not so crazy, though some people might disagree with that. However, to be quite blunt, I don’t care too much what “they” might think, for “they” are not me, and “they” haven’t walked a mile in my shoes. The American psychiatrist (from Los Angeles) who gave me a sleeping pill and a diagnosis of “Bipolar 2”, after all of 15 minutes chat, didn’t know me from Adam. (Though Adam might have ticked some of the boxes too.) Anyway, maybe the shrink really saved my life, because bush flying is a dangerous job, and many better pilots than I ever was have died. Stress and lack of sleep are a dangerous combination, not to mention bad weather and bad luck.

Last week’s Revy Let’s Talk column, by the inspirational Stacie Byrne, was thought-provoking. So thought-provoking that it has spurred me to join the “conversation” and contribute something. Mental health affects everyone. We are all one. Mentally, physically, spiritually. We, as people, are all interconnected. We are interconnected with every living thing on this planet, and we are interconnected with every rock and atom. If that sounds “airy-fairy”, so be it, but I have a degree in Geology, and the facts are facts…

It was great to see some Revelstoke folk up in the Bugaboos this past week. (Where I work for the Alpine Club of Canada, as one of the hut custodians at the Conrad Kain hut.) Especially good to see some young folks there. Kids need (really need) to get outside and explore Nature. We were lucky, back in the day, growing up in pre-internet Scotland, because we had leaders and mentors prepared to put the time in to take us outside. Whether it was youth clubs, or boy scouts, or girl guides, or whatever. High school, on the other hand, felt like day prison. My most memorable, educational, week of high school was playing truant for a week to hitch-hike to the Isle of Skye. I caught heck from my mother when I returned, but it was worth it.

E.F. Schumacher, in his 1973 book “Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered”, said that the purpose of the educational system should be to teach wisdom.

Where is the wisdom? Where? To paraphrase Stacie, love and a compassionate ear go a long way.

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