Burned Out in Hell

The European way of mountain walking...is not to compete to get there first but to reach your goal sometime during the day without being burned out, knowing that the joy and the goal is the journey itself.
- The Hidden Life

Nine days ago, the missus and three of her friends climbed our local national treasure - Pikes Peak. Seven days ago, we found ourselves at a school gathering, complete with other people who knew of their Peak experience. One of these other people, a mom-friend we know, came up and asked Well, how fast'd you do it? That was the first thing out of her mouth - Well, how fast'd you do it?

Then another mom-friend approached and joined the reindeer game. As mom-friend #2 reached the circle of conversation, mom-friend #1 said Hey, now you climbed Pikes Peak how fast? Mom-friend #2 said something like Oh, my, well, we did it in about four hours, I guess.

It's hard enough for me to be at these school gathering as it is, but throw a little in about hour hours, I guess in there and I'm ready to emit a barbaric yawp at the top'o'me lungs, I am. My wife and her friends had just completed something that many folks in this region, even Colorado natives, have never done, and rather than rejoicing with those who rejoice, these mom-friends quickly framed it in terms of competition. I was so mad I could've spit. The shame was so thick you could've cut it with a knife.

However, being all spiritual and such, I realized my anger for what is was, what it always is: sadness. I was sad for these ladies, sad for their husbands, sad for their children, sad for their co-workers, sad, sad, sad. I'm all for healthy competition. We were at a track meet for pete's sake and my six-year-old ran the half mile in 4:28, the dad said being all spiritual and such. But peas and carrots, folks, we've gotta learn to put away childish things when we become men and women. There's still a lot of folks worried about going to hell one of these days. I, for one, wonder if we're not already there. Burned out in hell. Makes sense, huh?

I could say so much more about this, but it makes me mad, which means it makes me sad, and I've got to get dressed so I can be one of the first parents to drop off their kid at school.


  1. Your last sentence about leaving to be the first in line to drop off your kids made me laugh out loud! I have found your blog through Miska & Winn Collier and am thoroughly enjoying it. I, like Miska, will run (not walk) to pick up your next book when it is published.

  2. We haven't made enough room in the world for EVERYBODY'S brilliance - so we compete instead of celebrate each other. GREAT post. Celebrating your brilliance...