One year ago today, in the woods very close to my home, I almost died. The two things that kept me alive were amazing parents who talked me through it and a pitiful fear that I would mess it up and end up crippled, paralyzed or brain dead, but not actually dead. I am not proud of it. I came out of the woods, off of a NOLS course that ended that very day, and I was overwhelmed by the real world. All I can say is when you are in a place where you have totally lost control of life…well, for a brief moment it made me feel powerful again. I had control. Needless to say, it's been on my mind, and when 5:35 pm rolled around today – the exact moment last year that I sent out that note, closed my computer, tidied up the caboose and walked into the woods – well, I couldn't help but reflect on life a little bit.
Today was much better. I woke up early to the sound of an elk buggling through the window. I rode my bike up to Caribou at sunrise with Stella in tow, down Hicks Gulch and RBV and came home. Spent the rest of the morning with my wife and then went to work. Talked about stuff I love – tools for being in the mountains – and hopefully made somebodies day a little bit better. Came home, watched a movie with Elaine and just enjoyed being. A good day. Professional fulfillment. Family fulfillment. Self fulfillment.
I was driving down to work the other day and had this feeling that I had not had in a long, long time. I used to have this thing where I would almost get scared at how good life was, how I felt like I led a charmed life, how I was like…"this is too good. I'm too happy. It's all going to go away."
It was strange. I had that feeling again. Having it a lot recently. It's been a long, long time since that has happened…longer than the past year…much longer. It's shocking and it's wonderful. Happiness, positivity, hope.
One year ago I almost died in the woods near my home, alone. And I have lost many friends because of what happened – and that hurts – but I'm not bitter. The people who matter have been siphoned down to the ones who really matter, and for that knowledge I feel blessed. One thing is for sure. I have the best fucking parents, sister and wife in the world. You don't need much else with that combo.
Alive. It's a good place to be. Happy, loved and with an inner peace…it's even better.