21 short years ago, I was riding my bike in Boise and unexpectedly discovered my dream home on a little creek just minutes from downtown. As a young executive with an insatiable appetite for partying, I moved into this palace. The housewarming party included a live rock band, a river of whiskey, and probably a few things that are still not legal. The reverie lifestyle of my new neighbor Bob would rapidly change into a nightmare.
It took a few years, but the ice melted and our frosty relationship blossomed into a bona fide first class friendship. He entered this world 23 years ahead of me and has blazed an amazing path. He is an accomplished author, professional speaker, devoted husband, and exceptional grandfather. Most of all, he is my vanilla latte drinking pal. Few things compare to our conversations over java.
Since returning from the Camino, Bob has frequently asked me how my body survived 28 consecutive days of 18 mile walks. Instead of talking the topic to death, we made a date for a long hike in the local hills that surround our lovely city. This morning, at age 73, Bob chauffeured me in his new Toyota RAV4 to Bogus Basin (a ski resort 16 miles from our neighboring front doors). We spent the next 4-5 hours walking 9.3 miles with an accrued ascent exceeding 1,500 feet. The temperature was on the cool side, rain drizzled, and the mountain tops were periodically hiding behind rolling clouds. The mystic weather setting was odd for a late day in June. It was a perfect day for a walk.
The daily problems and routines were left behind and our future thoughts did not extend beyond the next step as we sauntered through the hills. Our biggest concern was staying focused on the path. The scenic distractions included massive fields of blooming wildflowers. June 25, 2013, could have easily melded into the plethora of preceding days. Instead, initiative and effort was spent creating a day we will both remember until the end.
One of today’s favorite conversations was about his past. 30 years ago, as a Dean at Oregon State, a close friend marched into his office, grabbed his schedule from the assistant, and rewrote the future. With a big black felt pen, his pal crossed off the next day’s appointments and wrote…….”The Dean is Out!” Bob was horrified that the university would not survive the day without his presence. The next day began with a cooler full of beer en route to a local hot springs. Looking back, he tells me that the day was the meaningful one. Down the road, I will be telling my new friend about my day on the mountain with Bob.
Try not to stay so focused on getting there that the current moment is reduced to being a means……….