Pre-Mountain Meditations

ghost ranch upright

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch from Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico

I am about to embark on a long road trip that will get me into the mountains by this evening. I have just completed my first week of a summer school online class in the Humanities for Texas Wesleyan University. I love how technology has made this possible–the university is in Fort Worth, and I have been hours away from Fort Worth all week while interacting with fourteen students in the class. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment has been our focus, with readings from Immanuel Kant and Alexander Pope along with art from the Neo-Classical era. I have loved the student response, and always love combing through these primary sources.

I feel the mountains calling out to me, and am deeply moved at the prospect of leaving my familiar surroundings to be enveloped by them. But just as I was preparing to load and leave, I paused on the computer and learned of the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain. I am sad to say that I didn’t know him, and never followed any of his published statements or televised performances. And now I really feel that loss, reading some of the things he said while still alive. I feel inspired to post this one, because my class just spent a week talking about the subject of “enlightenment.”

Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom . . . is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.

Anthony Bourdain

I love this sentiment because I have been conscious since graduate school in the 1980’s that I myself am a traveler on this planet, and this life is an odyssey. There is no roadmap provided, and we have the right to navigate this path as we choose. There are so many rich discoveries around each bend, and yes, many dangers and risks as well. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am saddened that Anthony Bourdain chose to end his travels. I’m not sure we will ever know why, and it remains his business. But I’m saddened that I did not know him while he was alive and creating ideas to share with us.

Thanks for reading. Next time I write I should be in the mountains.


4 Responses to “Pre-Mountain Meditations”

  1. Brien Says:

    With regards to Bourdain, one will never know truly how others may be suffering which is why it is so critical that we treat others with compassion, listen, stop talking all the time, let them know you are there and travel the road together for whatever time you have together……let them know that they are part of the world and it can be good no matter what if you know you are not truly alone.

    Happy travels David!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Lovely post about Bourdain. I’m haunted by the likes of him, Robin Williams, and others who left this world because of an overwhelming sorrow that we didn’t perceive. They enriched us beyond measure, and we always wish we could have given some of that back.


  2. alethakuschan Says:

    The picture at the top is marvelous. Hope that you get a chance to record some of your impressions of the mountains.


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