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What is your Land of Beyond? January 30, 2012

Posted by Marc Troeger in adventure.
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Robert Service was a poet who became popular writing verse about the Yukon gold rush in early 1900. He is often referred to as “the Bard of the Yukon” and is best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough.

My personal favorite is one of his shorter poems, written as an ever-so-lightly jest to the dreamers, yet a very powerful message to those who seek adventure. Even though I have this poem memorized, I still carry a copy of it wherever I go, always rereading… always seeing some thing different in the words… always encouraged to keep my eyes on that “land of beyond”… always reminded that it’s not about where you are going, but what you have before you.

Read this poem once, twice, many times! Digest it and consume it. And then come back for more, always asking yourself, “What is my land of beyond?”

Land of Beyond
(by Robert Service)

Have you ever heard of the Land of Beyond,
That dreams at the gates of the day?
Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,
And ever so far away;
Alluring it calls: O ye the yoke galls,
And ye of the trail overfond,
With saddle and pack, by the paddle and track,
Let’s go to the Land of Beyond!

Have ever you stood where the silences brood,
And vast the horizons begin,
At the dawn of the day to behold far away
The goal you would strive for and win?
Yet ah! In the night when you gain to the height,
With the vast pool of heaven star-spawned,
Afar and agleam, like a valley of dream,
Still mocks you a Land of Beyond!

Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond
For us who are true to the trail;
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A fairness that never will fail;
A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal,
A manhood that irks at a bond,
And try how we will, unattainable still,
Behold it, our Land of Beyond!

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Adventure in the Little Things January 13, 2012

Posted by Marc Troeger in adventure, life.
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Ten years ago, a good friend lost her battle with cancer. It was heartbreaking to many of us. Karen was an inspiration to her family and friends, and, with her work with the Helsinki Commission, the world.

Karen was also someone who was full of passion and experienced many adventures throughout her life. I was fortunate to have been able to join her on a number of those.

Even as cancer began to take a toll on her body, she still held a strong conviction that remission would come. During this time, she insisted on experiencing the world as much as she could.

One warm, Fall day, a group of us took a hike along the Hazel River trail, in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains, an hour’s drive from Washington, DC where we all lived. Even though the trail was a level stroll along the river, Karen eventually began to tire and we decide to turn back. As the others walked on ahead, I stayed with Karen at her slower pace. Eventually, she asked to rest, so we sat on the banks of the Hazel River, under a large, oak tree.

Always being the curious one, Karen began poking at the ground with a stick and overturning small logs and rocks. I still remember the child-like amazement on her face and the laughter of delight as she uncovered many different bugs, worms and other insects. I joined in the discovery. The others soon came to find out what was keeping us. They, too, sat down and joined us in the search for the “little things” as Karen called them.

Eventually, the search waned and Karen soon dozed off under the tree; someone went off to wade in the river; the rest of the group sat on the riverbank, talking quietly and enjoying the beautiful day. At some point, someone pointed to the time and the sun that was lower on the horizon. Rousting Karen, she arose from her nap, deeming herself rested and we continued our short journey to the car.

As we approached the car to settle in for the ride back to the bustling city, Karen stopped us. With a tear in her eye and her impish, crooked smile, she gave each one of us a hug and thanked us for the days adventure. It was one of those images that burns itself into your brain, of a friend who is long gone, but forever part of your life.

For Karen… for us, regardless of our situation, adventures still abound, even in the “little things”.

What’s been your adventure today?

House of Representatives Tribute to Karen S. Lord )