Developing Magic

Dories on the Colorado River - Photo by John Wise

I started this blog with a little motivation from my Dad and my love of photography and writing; here I can combine the two. I love that I can write about where I’ve been and share it with others in hopes they too may enjoy the trip in a similar way. I last saw my Dad on my Spring Break from school in March. He wanted me to be able to read his super-rough-draft of a book while visiting but still be able to get out of the house.

In the process, we made a book together, in just one week; I was impressed. I tried reading his story from a reader’s point of view, but with school still fresh on the mind and all the common grammar mistakes found in the English language, it was hard not to stop and mention words or question the meaning of things. Then there was the getting lost in the descriptions and the emotions. The book is called Stay In The Magic and it felt like I was reading from long-time friends turned educators who had been on a spectacular journey of exploration that  overwhelmed them emotionally and spiritually.

Photo by John Wise

Every day was colored in a special way, just for their eyes. There was fresh food even after two weeks on the wet, wild, scenic river. There were life stories, poems, jokes, and song. At times there were helmets worn for safety and bailing the water out of the dory to keep it afloat while getting soaked to the bone in chilly water. There was hiking on steep cliffs using only the inches thick trail to maneuver on. All guests on this trip would poop in a bucket and then that bucket was tightly sealed and brought along in keeping with the, Leave No Trace, policy.

My Dad took this trip in October 2010 and was on the river for 18 days. When I went to see him in mid-March, I could have easily believed that he had returned from the trip that day, so strong was his enthusiasm. Here it is almost a year later and he is almost done editing the book. He has had about eight other pairs of eyes on it including mine as a first-time proofreader. I was more than intrigued but a little rushed the first time through. With the rereading of this past week, I have all the time I need, with this new version having seen almost 2,000 changes to grammar and explanations, along with many additions and deletions.

Photo by John Wise

I am still overcome with so much beauty and emotion expressed by my Dad who I’ve only recently had the chance to form a stronger bond with and kind of get to know. I have also benefited from reading some of what Jeffe Aronson had to write about the Canyon and its greatness that has held his interest and attachment to being a Grand Canyon boatman. My Dad wrote so much of his experiences from his mere 18 days on the Colorado. Jeffe was on his 117th trip when he helped guide my Dad through such an amazing experience, Jeffe tells of those experienced or newbies who after taking this rafting journey come to believe that the Colorado is the greatest river adventure in the world.

I am ready to read Day 15 and I feel like it has been months experienced in this Canyon; this is how much time it seems one would need to say that they have seen a tiny fraction of what the canyon has to offer at any given time of day in its varying seasons. My Dad’s motivation for a blog started out with a love of photography and a desire to write. I feel sometimes that the nature vs nurture ideal is stronger than some realize. As I come to know more of myself through exploring new regions of the mind, I learn more about my Dad than I think most people contemplate or wonder about.

Photo by John Wise

My Dad could have simply shared his handwritten scribbles and I would have been proud of him, but the determination and perseverance it has taken to write such word-beauty is astounding and makes me strive to experience this planet in such a manner and then have the decency to at least share a sliver of the joy I felt that many will never get the opportunity to do when bound by their inner demons and cultured reasons.

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