Is there an App for that?

I stared at the screen far too long. I think that perhaps my eyes were crossed and for sure the numbers were beginning to run together. The accounting module on my office computer had pushed me over the edge. The closing of the books from the prior month, calculations for sales, taxes, payroll, loss, profit, margins…ugghhhh…..all were running together. Ahhhhhh, the joys of small business…..I needed to step out…..to step away….find my breath….I needed to remember to forget the fast lane, because when I really want to fly I have to harness the power of my passions. I wonder…do you ever feel that way?

There’s so much that I want to share with you. Dinner was magnificent with the culinary team allphoto (22)
on top of their game. Cocktails at the bar whizzed away under the skill of the tender. Fires burned, the hearths were warm as smoke curled from the chimneys. The wind blew as flashes of lightening and rain fell. The evening storms rolled through. All of these and so much more to share……this place, the magic in the air, the “blood moon” or eclipse that was happening early…very early Saturday morning, but I knew the earliness wouldn’t have mattered because it was another adventure to share….just like all of the rest. It could be that  you were to busy….to tired….or plugged in with all that you had to do. I understand….I get that way too…..sometimes I have those same fears…the same thoughts…..sometimes I don’t really know what I want….so…yes, I know…..I get it……that’s why this day was so special……..

IMG_3959 (1)“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also” – Harriet Jacobs

I left the dogs behind. This was now time for me. Time for solitude. It’s important for me to know the difference between the inner solitude that heals and the separation that can isolate me. I understand and have known both. The trail called me to a waterfall….another magical spot that not many people ever see…..because most of us won’t leave the paved road and take the tracks and trails less traveled by. I’ve taken this walk in all types of weather; storms, fog, cold, heat and in every season of the year. This day wasn’t any different, but after last nights storm the sky was a brilliant blue and you could sense the mood change in nature.

Spring was IMG_4082raising her head nodding to everything that is getting ready to grace the forest floor. The first flowers unfolding their petals and the last moments of winter are becoming a memory. Ferns were making “fiddleheads” as they began to unroll into their full beauty. For all of these things and so many more, I was grateful. I took my shoes off as I moved up and over the rocks and dirt. To feel the the soles of my feet on God’s ground. I walked slowly. Thinking back over time and space. Catching glimpses of the weeks, months and years past in my mind and healing. From computers and the office, to the staff and the hustle and bustle that is my life…yes….even here….at the end of the lines.

“the world is mud-luscious and puddle wonderful” – E.E. Cummings

P1010249Finally, I settled on a rock near the base of the falls. I laid out the blanket and lunch…..I poured a drink and just sat…..listening…..the sound of water cascading over the boulders and the wind through the trees….feeling the breeze that only rushing…..falling water can make and the coolness of it as it glazed across my skin. This was the spot. There is a pool at the bottom of the falls that would be perfect for “dipping skinny” when summer comes. You see, it takes settings as grand as this…as removed as this…as remote as this…..to shake me into seeing what’s really important in life. Places like this strip away all of the pretense, comfort, technology, calendars and confidence so that we can become one. This is why I wanted to share this with you. This place. This moment. Never to be repeated…….but trust me…there will always be another moment…another place….another time……that is, if you want there to be.

During that time…on that rock…I caught hold of a conversation that I’d had with a guest at dinner the night before. Making my rounds to tables, greeting and looking after people, a lady stopped me, “How awesome it must be to be you, tell me what it’s like”. I smiled…….and said, “yes it is great and when I was young I always wished I’d fit in…I’m thankful I didn’t get my wish”. We had a long conversation about what its like to be an innkeeper, adventurer, explorer, to be Robert Rankin….and yes, it is wonderful, but the truth is, it’s wonderful being YOU, whoever you are!

All of us spend time looking out..seeing the world and the others that are put in front of us….thinking wow…I wish I was him (or her)….aren’t they lucky! And yes of course they are lucky….but so are YOU! One of a kind. God only created one of you, one of me, one of each…isn’t that absolutely amazing? Some 7,000,000,000 humans on the planet right now and all one of a kind! YOU are an incredible and absolute gift. Even when you don’t realize it….or feel it….. you are. I know that being you can be exhausting, that there are pressures put on us to “be” all of those things that people, friends, family think we “ought” to be. I want you to take that thought…the thought of WHO YOU ARE. Grasp it. Run with it. Hold it tightly. Wrap your fingers and head around it and remember that it is awesome to be YOU, not the you that you may think you should be, ought to be, could be, want to be, but the YOU that you are…right now…at this very moment….that is the amazing piece of it…..just to be who you really are…I spend time in meditation now almost every day. I certainly wish it was something I had done earlier in life because it’s allowed me to become comfortable with that…”The Who I am” and being content with the person that is me….

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“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest
—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. 
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” – Albert Einstein

You and I are part of the whole. We dream bigger, connect bigger, think bigger and mostly live larger than all of those around us. While we may believe our experience is separate from all of the rest – we are all connected – in ways that we can’t begin to comprehend. This is my invitation – take a moment……today….right now……to reflect on how amazing YOU are. Realize that everyone you touch is part of the whole…part of you…and part of me…..Breathe deeply……deep down into your belly and then slowly exhale……and know that you, I and all others are magic!

I love the smell of the forest….especially this time of year. Easter and the celebrations of spring are a time to celebrate starting over. Being “raised from the dead” as it were. Freshness and newness in everything around us is starting again. My feet padded in the dirt and twigs snapped beneath my toes. The moss was soft and the stream still frigid, but I basked in the glory of of it.

My walk this day comes to an end, but my journey……..my journey……..has just begun. Is it me? Timing? Fear? It doesn’t really matter because souls cannot really live without love. Come, share with me. Walk outside….now…..take off your shoes…….feel the wonders of the grass, the dirt, the leaves beneath your feet. Wherever you are, join me in this magnificent journey, I promise a great adventure! As my father often says, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Remember that jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul. My discovery….There is no App for this.…..

Robert RankinP1010050

Innkeeper, Explorer, Adventurer

Journey….

I wish I could remember what triggered the memory, but it came flooding back with all of the speed of the tide rushing in. Perhaps it was the conversation that I had with an old college buddy. Maybe it was the email exchange with a friend letting them know I understood how they felt and wanted to join them on their journey. It could have been the guest at the Lodge and something they IMG_9573said that passed through my brain, or the way the stars and moon looked from my deck late at night, but I really think it might have been Elizabeth pointing out the way the sky looked at dusk while we were driving home and the reflection of the late afternoon light as it reflected on Lake Santeetlah that launched the arrow that took me back………

It was years ago and yet not so far in the distant past. It is how people and events intertwine, tangle and mingle and that all things happen for reasons…even if we never know why. Or maybe they aren’t our reasons….or we don’t understand them for years and years….perhaps never…….our choice…..our awareness…..

I was in Sante Fe. I’d never been there before. Exploring….seeing parts and places I’d never been. We had actually traveled to a spa there. One recommended by Snowbird’s massage therapist as a place we didn’t want to miss. It was a fantastic place and I relished the down time…and the time away, but I was more drawn to the history, the people, the food, the light, the land…I spent several hours wandering through the old town. Looking at shops, watching people, smelling the air and the scents of food as it drifted through the streets. I was looking at the silver and turquoise for sale by the Navajo at Governors Square when I first saw him. Tanned face. White hair. Scraggly beard. Anywhere from late fifties to late sixties. Walking with a carved stick he was striding toward me with a broad smile and twinkle in his eye. Our eyes meet, we exchanged nods and as we passed I felt it. I can’t rightly name “it”, but it was there. Connection. I continued on past him, but at about 20 feet beyond, I turned my head to glance back. He too had turned. I smiled….and turned back. So did he. I introduced myself to him and told him that I felt as though we’d met before. He answered that perhaps we had….in this or another life. That chance meeting began a friendship that sparked me. Caused me to question myself more, made me more aware of our interactions and continues to affect my journey to this day.

ross

Ross was a magical man. A shaman. A wandering spirit, artist, father, grandfather, sentient being, man of the universe. He introduced me to many things. We shared meals. Laughter. Drinks and thoughts. He taught me about a different…new way to look at the universe and world. That we…as humans…don’t have all of the answers. That everything in the world…and beyond….is connected…..He introduced me to the Shamanic Institute in Santa Fe. A place where Shamans gather from all over the world to learn, discuss, talk and teach. Now Shamans are more than “healers”, they are spiritual guides that have wisdom passed down for generations and generations. They come from every society – every country and in many of them they are revered. In others reviled, but they have a knowledge that we all need…….Now rest assured, I am no Shaman…..

So, where’s this tale going?

Here.

Several years later, in the midst of crisis – one that encompassed all of my being – I reached out to Ross. I’d talked with him often, been back to see him several times, but this…well…this was different. I needed help that was beyond my connections. I called, but he wasn’t there so I left a message. I wasn’t in a hurry…and frankly thought I might not hear back. He was a traveler and might be away for months at a time. The next day I answered a call from a number I’d never seen before. It was Ross. “I thought I would be hearing from you” was all he said. I launched into my story for a good while and when I finished all he said was, “I know”. I breathed deeply for the first time in a long time. We chatted for a few minutes and then he said he’d be in touch. We hung up and while I felt better I was still at a loss. I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do and I wandered aimlessly for the next few days. The church wasn’t helping me, friends were there, but couldn’t. Family was trying, but I wasn’t really “there”. My faith was tested, both religious faith, faith in myself, friends and life…..frankly my faith in everything around me. I was losing hope…maybe I even lost it, unsure of who and what I was, I felt as though my identity was forever gone. Two days passed. One morning I checked my email and there it was. Ross sent me a note with a name and phone number. The note said –

This is who you need

Call

He is waiting.

Brief wasn’t it? I smiled and I think I even laughed. What? Call?? I don’t have any idea who the hell this man is. What can he offer me? Anger, frustration, bitterness all flashed through me…..then…slowly….replaced by comfort and ease. Breath I told myself. Ross knew what I was going through. He’d been there himself although it was 40 years ago. Trust I thought. Something that wasn’t/isn’t always easy for me…even now. I did. I picked up the phone and dialed.

“IGA” said the voice that answered the phone. “IGA”? I said. “Yep, what can I do for ya?”

I thought for a minute that I had the wrong number, but I swallowed…..hard….and asked for the name that Ross had sent. The man who answered the phone didn’t miss a beat, “he’s not here right now, but give me your number and I’ll get him the message”. I hung up. Shaking my head I wondered what I was managing to get myself into and what craziness was in Ross’s brain! Several hours passed when my phone rang. The voice on the other end might have been a thousand years old. “I‘ve been waiting on your call” he said. I began to tell him my story. Cutting me short……“I know” he said before I’d gotten two sentences out. I was stunned. He said he was waiting for me and gave me directions to where he was. It was Ely Minnesota. I went into shock – ELY MINNESOTA?? How the hell was I supposed to do that? I had a business, work, kids, responsibility…..and…well all the rest. I heard a deep breath on the other end of the line, “come” he said, “I’ll be waiting”.

It took the better part of a month to get it all figured out. To get 7 days free to go, but I did. I met Charlie and he opened my spirit to a universe I’d never seen. He was Chippewa or more correctly – Ojibwa – a medicine man by words, a shaman, a helper, a spirit guide, a Midewiwin to many. He took me into his home, fed me, listened to my stories and then told me what he was going to do. I was open, but felt unsure, scared and not ready for the next step, but, breathing deeply, I trusted. That night while I slept, he prepared the place. In the morning he walked with me out to a small lake and directed me to a smooth rock that overlooked the water. There, he’d drawn a circle with several markers around it. He sat me in the middle, took most of my clothes, gave me instructions, water, a blanket and told me he’d return. I was alone. In place I was totally unfamiliar with. Frightened. I sat and took in my surroundings. All day. It was stunningly beautiful. Lonely. Warm in the sunshine and cold as the dark came. I sat. My legs began to fall asleep, I began to fall asleep, but I didn’t…I think. The slight moon rose. The stars lit the sky. I dreamed. Wide awake. All night and into the next morning….. all through the next day and following night. I had visions and saw things I’m sure weren’t there..or were they? Animals, people, places, ghosts and things from my past crowded my vision. The following morning I greeted the sunrise and there he was….standing before me, he held out his hand and took mine and said “come”….I could barely stand, nearly frozen by the cold of the night and from sitting for so long.  He guided me back to his home. Behind the house, just down a hill was a sweat lodge that he and his friends had built. He opened the door flap and ushered me in. In time he took me back out and repeated the steps…time and time again….I was completely spent. Finally he took me back to his home again and fed me…rice…beans…bread. I collapsed into a bed……sleep…….long……long….sleep.

I awoke to the smell of breakfast. Getting up I wandered into the kitchen to find him over the stove fixing 2 plates of food. One for him, the other mine. We sat in silence and shared coffee and a meal. It was one of the best I’ve ever had. Afterword he nodded at me and said, “tell me”…..and I did…..of the visions, the night, the days, the birds, animals, the sounds, the sights…all of it. He nodded. Then he explained…..he interpreted all that I’d been through….Not just there, but life. Telling me that this life was a journey. On that journey we sometimes got lost, but during the journey of life we always could/should learn and understand ourselves. At times during our lives we need to be alone, to go to sacred places or spaces and pray, meditate, learn and heal. I was on my journey. Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a leather cord with what looked like some twisted metal on the end. He handed it to me and said. “Wear this…keep it close to your heart, it will never allow you to forget who and what you are” He gave me the necklace. A simple leather cord with a twisted silver feather on it and words hammered into it.

I left later that day and have never been back. I’ve done other sweats and spent time alone outside. None have ever come close to that experience in the woods in Minnesota. I’ve often thought about and wondered what has become of that man…in that remote spot…..doing what he does…..but I have no worries about him for he guided me in a way that no one else could have. He reminded me of who I am and helped me rediscover myself….the “me” that I’d buried deep all those years before. The necklace remains around my neck to this day…the words are worn now from my fingers rubbing it…….close to my heart…..reminding me….keeping me “aware”. Often when I feel a little “lost” I’ll find that my hands have searched it out and will catch myself absentmindedly rubbing it between my fingers.

I talked to Ross often over the next several years. He died last year and with his death a part of me left as well. It is a connection I celebrate. You see, without David, Snowbird’s massage therapist I never would’ve gone to Santa Fe. I’d never have walked down the street and met Ross. I’d never gotten the email that sent me to Ely MN and met Charlie. Perhaps I’d never have found myself…….You see, everything happens for a reason…even if we never know it…..even if it takes years to find out why….and yes…even if we never do….it is about the journey.

I don’t often share this story….close friends mostly. Why now……Why here?……..Because it’s time. I may not know the reason, but rest assured that there is one. My journey is one that has been magic. Luck many would say. I’ve been blessed by everyone that I’ve ever come into contact with, friends and enemies. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it will be….that I’ll discover much..much more as I continue to explore…myself and all of those I meet. I’ve loved sharing this story with you and if you’ve read this far you have my thanks…and my gratitude. You also have my very personal invitation to come join me on this mountain……to share a meal, some coffee or tea…perhaps a beer or some wine………to sit…alone…or with me and share your story with me…or not…as I’ll share mine with you….or not. To connect in a new and different way….to form a bond that will carry us forward to whatever the future holds….

It is really all about our connections…our journey, our relationships and how they form us into who and what we are.

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”

– The Dalai Lama

It’s late here on the mountain….or early depending on your point of view. I’ve been awake with these memories all night and embracing the magic of those moments. I can see the dawn beginning to break outside. Today is the right day! It looks to be the start of another amazing day. Thank you for letting me share this with you, I look forward to the great adventure ahead!

Robert RankinFullSizeRender (20)

Innkeeper, Adventurer, Explorer

A Night for That…indeed….

I live my life in real time. Here. It can be a never ceasing go-go-go and give-give-give. Sometimes it can get messy, and tangled and so easy to forget myself in the midst of it all, but sometimes, right when I need it the most there is a night when the universe gifts me with the path back home.

This night, tonight is a night for a hard pour of whiskey in the glass, the way the ice cracks and the heart says  “Oh yes, I know exactly how that feels.”

86fa46f7a09c799b86f7ef950a35c9d2It’s for sitting on the floor in front of a roaring fire, cupping both hands around the glass and closing your eyes and breathing and raising it to your lips and soaking in the ritual. This small act is a great gift indeed when you allow it. It’s the way the mouth feels as it hits the ice cold lip of the glass, and the perfect burn that remains after the glass is pulled away.

It is sage and cedar candles on the mantle and bedside and the burn down smell of matches and smoke. It is Hinoki oil rubbed deep and liberally on bare skin until the scent of it and you are ground together as one. It’s for music that hurts, the exact right kind of ache that has an edge mingling with its sweetness in a way that could never be untangled. That should never be untangled. Because there are some things for which ache is the beauty. It’s the night you stop avoiding the words that never stop chasing you. Where you sink into the solitude and finally breathe out all that air trapped in lungs, waiting to fully exhale.

It’s knowing that at some point tonight there will be a dance. That you’ll follow the movements of your body on the wall, silhouette painted by the shadows of candlelight. That you’ll move and look with long glances until something rises in you that has not risen in a long, long time. It’s a night for coming home and gathering in and calling in the powers of nature and the howl of the wolf. Looking at the moon and stars with wonder and awe. For laying out the stones and sitting still inside the space that is you and honoring all that is holy and remains when sound ceases and the quiet surrounds you.

tumblr_n68j5kU5ZA1sowezvo1_500It’s the way when you tilt the glass all the way up and the candle light glows through and you know your face is illuminated in the most holy of ways. And the song that holds an inexpressible ache plays with every last bit of memory it holds and you are thankful, especially for that. It’s for wood that looks like bone, for cigar boxes and rusted locks and for running your fingers along all the things you’ve collected. For feeling the memories that live in each one as it travels from fingertips to your center and hearing the whispers of all the stories you have yet to tell. It’s for knowing that some stories must remain untold in order for others to be born.

It’s for remembering and honoring the past.

That moment is also to know the hope and the struggle and the stay still and run away and come here and  push back. And also what it is to say yes, to be present exactly where you are. It’s for the space where missing and the gratitude for solitude meet in the center. Where you know that one brings fullness to the other and you can give thanks for both. It is a night for contemplating.

It’s the way the wax looks as the candle burns down. The mellow that the whiskey spreads like hot wax melting into tight held bones. It’s the expansion into space. It’s the cedar and sage and Hinoki rising and carried inside of those scents.

It’s a night for calling the ghosts and welcoming them. Sitting back while they dance, all liquid heat and the yearning skin of lovers long separated. It is a night for remembering. The words. The whiskey. The music. The candles. The smell. The loves long gone and the life that is here, right now.

It is a night for coming home.

To myself

Thank you for sharing the journey with me

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer, Explorer

The Treasures are all right in front of us….

It was one of those perfect winter days. Not to cold. The sky a bright blue and sun shining bright. IMG_1454The creek was calling. Loading up the fishing gear and heading down to Santeetlah creek to try some of my winter luck I was full of excitement. For me, that time on the water can be sacred and not to offend anyone, but it is very much like church. Those moments when I am at one with all that surrounds me. Focused concentration on the water. Working hard on picking the right fly…casting in exactly the right way….and right place…trying to draw a trout to the surface…..and SMACK…..there he is……ready to reel in, be admired…and then returned to the water….awaiting another day…..pure bliss for the trout fisherman…..

Yep…this was that kinda day, everything was just right…….Except me! No matter what fly pattern I chose, none of my presentation skills. as vast as they may be, caused a fish to merge with the fly as it drifted effortlessly across theP1000941 water. Hunting the deep pools and the rapids I could see the fish…moving gracefully…darting to and from, hiding under the rocky shelves….yes, they were there….I just couldn’t seem to coax them to take what I was offering. Challenged, I continued the effort for a while, but after a couple of hours I’d had enough of “church”. Of course, it could have been JB and Lakota playing in the water, watching me and the fish with interest, but more than likely it was me and just that moment.

Laying down the rod and reel I began to explore the nooks and crannies of the creek as it wound through the woods. I’m always searching. Always looking to see what is out there.FullSizeRender (19) Finding cool twigs or branches and even large boulders to sit on and bask in the warmth of the sun on a chilly winter day. Grabbing sticks to toss into the water for the dogs to retrieve. Today the pebbles, rocks and stones caught my dreams. Wandering along the banks and wading into the pools I was on the hunt. Reaching into the water I picked out dozens and dozens. Sliding them in my pockets and then slipping some out, I skipped them across the surface like a kid. A short while later I sat…in one of my favorite spots…..on a large boulder that juts out into the stream and drew all of my treasures out of my pockets. Laying them out across my lap, I was searching…….searching for the very perfect one….you know the one I was looking for. Round, smooth, perfect color, perfect shape……..and then….it struck home….hitting me like the proverbial bat……they were all PERFECT!

I laughed out loud (the dogs looked at me as though I was nuts) and gathered them once again and headed along the banks. I was seeing with different vision, a new awareness in my eyes. I began to look at them differently…..no imperfections, only beauty…..jagged edges, rough bumps, cracks, all were perfect shapes and color…every single one remarkably different than its neighbor, but ….WOWZA…..what a moment.

I began to celebrate with that knowledge. Joy overtook the search and the discovery was complete. Those rocks are just like you and I….and…….well hell….everyone else. Once we stop trying to find the idea of “perfection” that has been placed or created in our minds and open ourselves to the possibilities then we can discover that we’re all perfect…..Oh….I don’t mean that we aren’t cracked, beat up, slightly out of shape, but we are all perfect in just this moment, all different and all shapes and sizes…..and in the scheme of things…if we look closely enough…we can see it……the beauty that lies within all of us……

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Well. that was it…my lesson for the day. I wandered back to the truck, broke down the rod, took off the waders and boots. Loaded the dogs into the back cranked the motor and headed up the mountain towards home. Come to the mountain for a visit. Let’s sit and talk. I’ll take you to that special spot on the water and let you see for yourself.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot…on the way to the house I felt those bulges in my pockets. I pulled out the rocks gathered at the creek and caressed them. Rolling each of them in my fingers. Feeling every nook….every bend…every crease and indention….noticing all of their varied colors…the warmth and shapes….I just grinned and grinned….I still am.

Life at the end of the lines, From the INNSide looking out and In Celebration of the Great Adventure Ahead!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer and Explorer

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Fill Your Soul

“Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul”

                                                                   -Jamie Lyn Beatty

I just returned to the mountain and realized something undeniable. Spirit and adventure run deep in my soul—there can be no doubt. I am an explorer. Come, share the ride with me.

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The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest of wilderness”

                                                                                                        -John Muir

I love to ramble. I lust to wander and love the freedom that comes with the unknown adventure. My senses adore the feelings of the elements as they touch me. I want to travel and will aimlessly seek out adventures in cities, crossroads and in the woods. I often find myself taking dirt roads beside creeks, streams, rivers and woods just to see where they lead. I love the way it feels to be in cities, seeing the grandeur of the buildings, art, restaurants and the masses of people. Then always I return to the peace of my home. To think, reflect, share and be in solitude. Is that a contradiction?

If home is indeed where the heart is then this is where mine belongs. After returning from Atlanta I sat in the foyer, a spot in the house that often is just passed through. Drink in hand 2015-01-14 18-29-24 -0500I spent about 40 minutes gazing at the digital photo frame that sits on a table there. The pictures of adventures scroll by. Elizabeth sat with me and asked about each photo as it passed. We laughed at many. Every single one has a story, each a place or moment frozen in time. Oh yes……..while I’d love to be able to catch the next flight out and surf the world for a great adventure, that’s not where my life is right now. So I take time to find it in all of the simple things. Dinner, laughter, gazing at the stars, long walks and just everyday moments.

I seek treasure, but not the kind you think. I search for clues and answers, scrambling over rocks in the woods and through the minds of those who cross my path. I will not be pinned down or placed in a box. I don’t have a shelf life or expiration date. My imagination is both friend and enemy with whom I often question and argue, but I look at with awe and love to set free. Those pictures of friends, family, life, adventure and exploration set that imagination free. Sharing the sense of wonder with Elizabeth created a list of places to go and people to share it with. All of them are flames that burn bright. Brought out by those photographs….I realized that I forget to let my inner child lead the way. I allow myself to become mired in fog. My head gets filled with a thousand thoughts, I carry baggage and often absorb the mess. It was good to have a reminder.

“My scars tell a story. A reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded”

                                                                                                     -Steve Maraboli

I am fascinated by the way we operate in this world. I watch people scurry about and wonder if they are on a grand adventure or just going through the motions…. We all do it, getting caught up in our routines so much that we fail to find the adventure in everyday life. I however, won’t be forgotten. We all should refuse to be forgotten in spite of our fear, tears, scuffed knees, broken hearts and bones that mark our lives. We are like treasures from deep in the mountain, We possess so much, yet we remain hidden gathering value until we sense that the time is right to be discovered. I don’t wish to disturb you or to be disturbed, but I hate to be labelled, discussed and placed on a table or shelf for all to view.

photo (33)I love to dig for the truth in myself and uncover things, trying to unravel an endless rope of hopes and dreams gone awry. I can be wild, my hair long, ride fast and am furious and untamable. I go slow down country roads, lost in the woods because this is where my magic can be found. I am a piece of art appreciated by a few, those who resonate with embers of the flame by the light of the fire. I like bare feet, my heart beating and my hands and mind open. My eyes are full of magic to be shared.

So, if you ever pass by my magical place on this mountain, I ask you to stop for a moment. Share with me as I will with you. Tell me about your journey, the adventure and exploration that you’ve had so far. Talk to me of your days and nights and let’s unleash our fantasies. We are blessed beyond belief and have time to rest. I will not tire, so sit with me, lie down on this meadow on top of this windy mountain and tell me where you began, let’s fill our souls. Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/480968

“It is easy to be a Holy Man on top of a mountain”

                                                                -Somerset Maugham

In Celebration of the Great Adventure Ahead!!!!!!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer & Explorer

Welcome to….

2015!

Sophie sat with me over the holidays and helped Elizabeth and I celebrate in style. As we all talked I heard Sophie talk of things that bother her and found that many of these affect most of us. We worked to come up with some resolutions and….

well…..in her case…..   

Ten Steps to a Happier Life

  • IMG_1844Avoid Drama
  • Be Nice to Everyone
  • Have Good Friends
  • Get a Back Massager
  • Listen to Good Music
  • Relax When You’re Mad
  • Always Help Your Friends
  • Concentrate
  • Be OK Alone
  • Don’t be Needy

Do that and you’re fine! (punctuation corrected, sorry Sophie)

As the first full week of the New Year sets upon us resolutions have been made and occupy our minds. The gyms are full, diet ads all over the TV. Many of us are setting goals that are beyond logic, reason and possibilities. As I read Sophie’s list I nodded in agreement. Of course I changed Concentrate to Awareness and I’m sure her “good” music is a little different than mine, but I couldn’t agree more with the back massager! Most of Sophie’s ideas are both achievable and reasonable if only we take it one day at a time.

I read a friends writing the other day that talked about not taking the “big steps”, but really small ones. It’s the same analogy I used when riding my bicycle. I hated climbing hills and mountains, but a friend once told me to concentrate only on what’s right in front of your wheel, never look up to the top of the mountain because if you do the mind will beat the strength of the body every time. Keeping our head down and focusing on the task at hand serves us very well, but every now and then we look up and get overwhelmed…

As I look back on the past I find plenty of regrets and I would love to have a “do over” for some parts of life. I’m also focused on the future and all of the possibilities that are ahead.  As an Entrepeneur, Innkeeper, father, friend and writer I understand how important it is to build up, not to tear down. Each of us can use our talents to create….a feeling, to set a mood, relate an idea, share dreams and so much more with those around us. We can express every emotion, touch, hold hands, hug or even long glances with crafted phrases and words. Often we never see the impact that these have on people, but I know that our reach is far, often to places we never knew existed.

Through the years, I have been given much and taken more than I deserved. I’ve shared, loved, hated, hurt and been blessed…..more. I survived my youth…..and so far my adulthood. I am older now…..and hopefully wiser. As I reach into 2015 I know that the best is yet to come for all of us. We can each take the lessons of our past and apply them to the NOW and the future is bright indeed.

I am humbled and often ask for forgiveness, yours, mine and God’s. I know that I will so will God, the question is you? Will you not only forgive me and others, but will you forgive yourself? My life has flipped over again and again and rarely gone according to my plan. It’s quite the learning process! I have searched for life, love, friendship, happiness and so much more through the years. Through all of the darkness and all of the  light, I found and lost it time and again. Here’s the secret…..it’s an inside job.

I am the luckiest man I have ever known. I have two fabulous daughters who teach me how to live life. I also have many friends (and a few enemies) near and far that listen and watch, helping me along the way. Through it all, you have been with me. It is a magical journey. The coming year is going to be an AMAZING adventure!

So,…..I’d like to offer you Sophie’s New Year’s resolutions and one more for 2015…….               

   LOVE YOURSELF MORE!!! MUCH MORE!!!

Will You? I know I will! As Sophie says, “Do that and you’re fine!”

In Celebration of the Great Adventure Ahead!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper & Adventurer

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Oh yes….I want…..

I want to be surrounded by your old walls, the dim light settling on my shoulders. The creak of the cold wood floors on icy nights under warm wool socks that cover my feet. I want to be taught to value life through each meal at the table, nicked by hands that built it. To teach my children the value of a life that’s more than material desire.

I want my pen on pages that may someday be read under your roof. Our coffee brewed over open fire. Make me a rugged lover with grace and passion.  Let’s spend afternoons stacking wood to warm our passions bringing heat to our lives, sweat trickling down the curves of our backs and the creases of chests. I want my chores and worries accomplished with hard work, my life cradled in this wondrous natural world. Let me build a life with you, if only for a while.

Give me candlelit dinners, with wax that drips silently onto the table…..then floor. I want to sleep, cradled in so many blankets that I am lost in them and rise with the sun’s first light. To dance in the kitchen, whisky bottle in my hand, swaying to the rhythm of life with you. I’ll find my god in the wild woods around you.

Open your door to the creases of mountains grand enough to make weather all their own. Watching the clouds and mists, hung so low that they look like a sea beneath your mountain caps. Sip the cold fresh water, the smells of the kitchen filling us completely. I will bathe on hot days outside your walls in the creek that swiftly runs by. To have the sea at my weathered fingertips.  

“As you walk upon the Sacred Earth, treat each step as a prayer”                                                                                                            -Black Elk

To huddle at your ashen hearth as snow silently settles like a coat, to feel the pure bliss of new life when the ground is covered by wildflowers. Let me stare out the window in silence with my hands in warm soapy dishwater. I want to hear my kettle each dawn and dusk. To hear the rustle of my laundry drying in the wind. And pop and crackle of fresh split wood in the fire. I want to let crisp air fill you in spring, to heat it for clear-minded sleep at night.

Give me one simple life. Each modern luxury is an understood gift. Each trip to town to remind me why I love living here…at the end of the lines. My fear to come only from nature’s constant balancing act. I want to die with a soul cleansed by life with you. I want you to be my greatest footprint remaining when my days are numbered.

Oh yes….I want this…..

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