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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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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