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Old Crossroads in a New Way

My friend and I had a winter weekend in the Whites. It was a common location for me, as I had built a vacation home in Bethlehem, N.H. over 25 years ago B.C. (before children). Many wonderful adventures were experienced in those mountains with family and friends as well as solo. So when my new amigo and I were a go go on the snow snow a few days ago, I was curious as to how the old would be with the new. Though she was well experienced in outdoor winter wonder workouts, the Whites were new to the newly transplanted New Englander. And could I come to an old crossroad in a new way?
In Asian Martial Arts we have a fundamental axiom of “beginner’s mind”. It is especially vital for veteran practitioners to take on a “beginner’s mind” mantra in order to come to each moment clean and fresh. From that nothing place, the old habits of previous experiences can mix with the new world of this moment to form a real human being. The new being is not pulled back to being a has been or could have been of the past. Equally this being is not pushed by the should be, could be or want to be pressure of future expectations. One can be an ing, a process, a being that is human, a human being. When I am free to be me, the beauty of our South river here exposes more of her essence to me. The exertion of mountain hiking becomes a spirit climb. The danger of fast skiing calls all of one’s consciousness to use the fear of the fall to be all one can be. Dancing through and to the Blues can be as nourishing and nurturing as a warm biscuit that me mammy made. Even viewing our Whites from the warm water of outdoor wading from afar can present the present of Presidential presence that earthly mountains touching heavenly sky can catalyze.
My youngest daughter, Jian, as a child, once asked if she could “touch the clouds”. She had just stepped out of our vehicle and we were looking up at our destination climb – a cloud covered summit near Crawford Notch. I stated that touching the clouds is of primary import in our spirit hiking. The train had just happened to arrive near our trailhead. My children were awed by that old locomotive’s heavy breathing. It had recently made the arduous ascent up from North Conway and was taking a breather. Like the little train that could of their story book, we climbed our mountain and stood. Our breather induced the reminder from Jian of our cloud concerns. I asked her to inspire the clouds that enclosed us all the way to her core. That inspiration and expiration with perspiration produced a profound posture of verticality that indicated the alignment of heaven, earth and human being. That alignment is what is called the three powers (San Cai in Chinese). We proceeded to a nearby overlook and the clouds cleared as we appeared and the big train at onset was now looking mysteriously like the little train that could as we looked down the valley from above. The magic of the majesty of that moment was further induced through the feeding of friendly flyers that found our fingers and finger food. Descending can be as inspiring as ascending, as running the trail back to the rails required deep inhales and exhales.
Juxtapositions in time, distance, experience, elevation, et al can offer the opportunity of catalyzing complementariness, as with the dynamic harmony that yin and yang represents. The past can present form to the present. Presence in the present produces a fertile future. Future forms flow from forefathers and mothers forever. We can come to old crossroads in new ways, hey, hey, hey, hey.