Tag Archives: Friendship

Cave Dwelling

I heard yesterday (Saturday) was going to be really hot, so I thought it would be cool (pun intended) to hide inside the earth for a bit. Near Mt. St. Helens, Washington, there’s this part of the park called Ape Caves, which is a former lava tube.

Ape Cave Lava Tube
(Used under creative commons, thanks iwona_kellie!

As we began our descent into the cave, there are a couple things you notice: a stark change in temperature – from 90°(f) to the average temp inside the cave of 45°(f) – and there’s a really interesting breeze blowing through. Immediately, you’re struck with a decision. A decision you have to make quickly because if the cave is busy there’s many people behind you, pushing their way in. Your two choices are this: Take the lower (or easier) cave or take the upper (harder) cave. In “life+art=reality” and in spelunking, we took the more challenging road.

As you make your choice and walk further into the cave. You lose all sense of perception as your mind, and optical nerves, adjust to the reality of complete darkness. The cave walls seem to absorb all extra noise and soon you find yourself in a weird, yet comfortable, sensory perception deprivation state. It’s blissful, almost, you’re now on your journey, flashlights in hand and ready to climb throughout this former volcanic river.

Cave Wall

Then the real “climb” begins. As you’re walking into (or out of) the cave, you have to climb and scurry around, having chosen the more difficult path. Over large boulders of rock that once floated through the canyon, watching your head for low hanging objects, squeezing through tight spaces requiring you to use your mind and body in unison to get through a difficult pass. Inside each pathway, I noticed there were almost always two decisions, two routes to take, the more difficult and challenging (or sometimes impossible) route and the relatively simple, well-traversed route. Many times you didn’t know the outcome of your choice until you took that first step. Then, it was too late to go back and start over.

Placing your feet in the correct spot was one of the more challenging tests. Each rock was either: solid and stable, shifted slightly, or was completely rickety. The problem was, no matter how many ways you tested it with your toes, you really didn’t know which state that rock was in until you put your full weight onto it.

Much like life, you never know the outcome of something, unless you give it your all. Having scurried through the cave; I did not fall once. I doubted myself many times; but, I did not fall. I have some bruises, sore muscles, and reminders of low-hanging stalactites. But, every step I took turned out, in the end, to get me to my destination. I never considered turning around. I kept putting one foot, in front of, or high above, the other. My spelunking partner and I made sure to support each other in each difficult pass, every challenging route, and every moment of rest, including moments to stop and look around at the cave’s beauty.

The toughest challenge was wall-walking. If you’ve seen someone rappel down the side of a cliff or mountain then you’ve seen someone do this before. You grab the rope, lean all of your body weight into your legs, and walk up the wall. Yesterday was my first experience with this.

There’s a part of the path which used to be a lava-waterfall and it is only about ten feet tall, but it’s still challenging to climb. Having examined the wall, I noted it’s cover of cave-slime, instantly you’re nervous about placing your feet on the wall, afraid of slipping. Up I went. I grabbed the rope firmly, leaned back, took a deep breath, placed my feet on the wall, and pulled myself up. The adrenaline kicked in and I went for it! Up the wall I climbed, over the edge and sure-footed on the top. A challenge overcome.

There were a couple places in the cave, where the groups bunched up, waiting for the last climber in their team to navigate the pass. As with life, there’s always one or two people who are impatient or unwilling to wait for someone else. There were a few of those inconsiderate people in this cave, trying to climb over/around others to get through faster. Luckily peer pressure, in this case, succeeded in forcing them to back off and wait their turn.

As we rounded a corner, we started to see light. Which gave us hope. Nearing the end, (or so we thought,) spirits lifted, we walked a little faster, and started looking around. Only to find out, it was a skylight. A place where the cave had collapsed the roof, giving us only a small peek into the outside world.

Cave Skylight

We pressed on, undeterred, and made it through to the end. Climbed out of the cave and made the hike back to the car in blue skies and beautiful weather. Challenging as the hike was, the reward was really worth it. A day spent with a friend, pushing myself to new limits, understanding what I’m fully capable of: climbing a wall of slime, seeing how nature survives in darkness, and coming through the other side.

All these things, I think, we deal with in real life, I just don’t think we take enough time to celebrate the successes. In that cave, especially in the extreme darkness, I felt great fear. No cellphone service, no light (except from our flashlights,) fear of bats(!) and virtually no sounds (except for our breathing.) Well worth the experience.

Lake Merwin through the trees

While I never intended, when we set out yesterday, to come back with a fable of cave dwelling and it’s application to real life. There are so many connections to be made here: People climbing over you to get ahead, feeling alone in large caverns, being unsure of your footing and pushing yourself to do things outside your comfort. Job well done!


Oh, to be Popular. #199

This post is my 199th blog post on Schnikism.com – I have something special planned for #200. Look for it tomorrow morning, bright and early. 🙂

I’ve been trying to organize my Flickr account. Being obsessed with statistics, I was also looking at which photos have been the most popular, the results are interesting, humorous and a cool way to walk down memory lane. Here are the top ten photos, by number of views:

#10 – My friend Sarah Salter and I

Me and Sarah

#9 – The Alien Green Butt of a Random Girl:

Random Person

#8 – A Photo From My Trip To the Trans Siberian Orchestra:

Trans Siberian Orchestra 11/15/2010

#7 – The cutest monte cristo ever! From 50 Plates, in Portland, Oregon:

Monte Cristo 50 plates

#6 – The Crooked River Bridge in Bend, Oregon:

Crooked River Highway Bridge Bend Oregon

#5 – A glistening martini, delicious!


#4 – My care package from when I had a stay in the hospital – courtesy of my friends Tim & Cheryl:

My Care Package

3: A cool disco dance floor in a park from a recent trip to Seattle, Washington.

Disco Lights, City Park, Seattle, Washington

#2: My friend Cheryl with Portland Mayor, Sam Adams from the 140 Conference NW.

140 Conf NW Cheryl Bledsoe & Portland Mayor Sam Adams

#1: My silly friends, Cory and Dale showing off their “Portland Tan.”

Dale & Cory showing off their daisy dukes

What My Blog Says About Me.

Lets be honest. I don’t put a whole lot of thought into my blog. I don’t have an editorial strategy of what I’m going to post. I do, however, put a lot of “me” into this space. The sub-theme, “Heaping Scoops Of My Brain,” isn’t just clever witticism, This space is really all about what I’m thinking at the moment.

Clouds from a plane

I don’t have a tag cloud enabled on my blog for a reason. I don’t think it adds anything to your experience here. However, I was going through some of the features on the back-end of wp.com and I found it has a tag cloud of your commonly used tags and such. These are mine. As I approach the end of the year, and my 200th(!!) blog post, I was going to do some reflection to what I’ve learned in my time here. Prepare yourself. 🙂

I have never thought of myself as a motivator or as inspirational. I have always just thought myself as a storyteller, someone you can relate to and someone you’d like to call a friend.

Again, thanks for sticking around with me. I hope it gets better from here. (If you want to see the posts which are related to the above tags. Click on them, it should take you there.) Going through them, I learned a lot about my writing style and how it’s changed since I began this thing.

Why Do We Care?

I was talking with a friend recently and the conversation turned to their feelings about how they were going to be viewed by another group. My instant reaction: “Eff them.” If they’re too busy spending time judging you for your opinions to actually enjoy you as a friend, why would you give them the time of day?

This got me to thinking… Why do we give so much power to those who we want to consider friends? I mean, we can be considerate, that’s a given… But why do we constantly worry about how we’ll be viewed? Is that the driving force in our existence? I’ll admit, I probably worry too little about how the general world perceives me and far too much about how I want to project my “image.” Very often, I get into a mood, like today, where I would like nothing more than to live in a remote cabin, in the middle of nowhere, no internet connection, no television, just some good books and a notebook. I know it would drive me crazy, because I’m a people person by nature, but I would really love the disconnection, for a while.

I think.

Back to the aforementioned topic… Why do we care so much about how we are perceived by others? Why don’t we feel secure enough in our opinions to give them, regardless of “how we look?”

Just a thought.

Still, one of my favorite sayings, ever: “Fuck them if they can’t take a joke.” (Even if it’s not a joke. Sometimes you just have to make your feelings known, say or write what you’re thinking, from the heart or from the head, and those who agree or disagree will come and go as they please. Seeking approval will sometimes just drive you mad.

A change will come…

I’ve had a lot of change happen all at once. Not that I haven’t had time to prepare for the changes, they’ve just all happened at the same time.

Used under creative commons, Thank you AlicePopkorn2! (This picture is PHENOMENAL!)

New Living Situation:
Recently, I’ve left the hamlet of Milwaukie, Oregon and moved to the West side of Portland for the first time in my life. I’ve always been an East-sider and I am excited to get out and explore my new neighborhood. Even though my new place is currently resembling a nuclear blast zone, it’s all mine and I am slowly making it my own “Schnikuary.”

New Employment:
In the same weekend, I ended my employment with RMLS™ in Portland and joined the team at Coldwell Banker Bain & Barbara Sue Seal Properties. I’m excited to learn my new position and help agents understand Technology and Social, and Social media. It’s an exciting time in Real Estate and I’m happy to impart the knowledge I’ve attained over the years to keep others progressing forward.

New Term:
This week, I also embarked on a new term at Portland Community College. While it was to be one of my busiest terms, I dropped 3 of my 16 credits, knowing that I’m not superman and I need to be able to focus on all the other things going in my life and I didn’t want my schooling to suffer.

So much change at once, maybe it was time, maybe it was necessary. Only time will tell. It’s springtime in my life and things are certainly going to bloom.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

The Fall

I like to be that guy. I like to be the guy you can rely on. I like to be the guy who people have confidence in, who people look to.

I’m not good at leaning on others. I usually like to deal with life as it comes. When it rains, I hear the music and start dancing.

Except when it comes to letting others down. That just tears me up inside. I power though, but I don’t want to let my friends down. Sure, that may be one of my biggest weaknesses but I don’t know how to reconcile it.

I’d rather let it consume me than risk the fall.

How do you deal with disappointment in yourself or when you might let down someone who cares about you? How do you reconcile the potential of destroying the trust your friends have placed in you?

How do you stand tall when you feel like doubling over?

Taking Stock…

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot and days of old lang syne?

2010 has been an interesting year for me. Lately, I’ve had to take a deep breath and take stock of all the things in my life which have impacted me in a good, bad, or indifferent way.

Friends: I’ve gotten to meet many new people this year, I’ve also gotten to enhance some of my deepest friendships this year.

Me and Sarah

Sure, I’ve grown apart from other friendships which is somewhat sad, but sometimes necessary.

Health: I’ve seen so many sides of this coin this year. I feel like I can finally say I’ve kicked my smoking habit. Which has been a decade-long fight. With some encouragement from a couple friends, I took up running, which I hate, but I really enjoy how I feel after and how much weight I’ve actually lost. There is something really rewarding by seeing this:
4.09 Miles
…And then, I ended up in the hospital. I’m feeling much better, 30 days later, but it’s a slow go. My life has definitely changed this year thanks to my health, but I’m not complaining.
Muppet Me
I’m much stronger because of it, and that’s never a bad thing.

Looking forward: I’m not sure what 2011 will bring, and I’m not in the mood to rush it. Life has been pretty eventful for me in the last 12 months and I imagine the next 12 are going to be something to watch. The journey is always worth the trip.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.