Sunday, November 20, 2011

My cousin Kevin

Growing up Kevin and I always seemed to find ourselves in all sorts of trouble. From being the neighborhood bullies (always having one another's back unless of course we were the only two around) to terrorizing the local house pet; whatever we set our expansive imaginations to,we did it. One blazin' hot summer afternoon, Kevin, Daniel Degaston and I were out doing what young boys do best to cool off: Water Fights!!! As our efforts to soak one another turned towards ganging up on poor little Daniel, we made our way to the myers' backyard where, to Kevin's knowledge existed a great hornets nest nestled in the wood pile under the back deck. Daniel was the first one stung. He dropped like a fly, and I don't remember what sparked our battle towards the little guy's bad day, but Kevin and I were relentless. After running home crying, we took it upon ourselves to salt the wounds just a little more and we did so by jamming Daniels squirt gun right into the nest of hornets, and then we ran our chubby little guts inside to escape the new pissed off hornet swarm, to dry off, and to eat some of Aunt Janey-O's amazing leftovers. As time went on, our good pal Adam Crowley showed up and something sparked in Kevin's conscience to return the squirt gun to his neighborhood pal. But he knew he wasn't going anywhere near that wood pile! He also knew there was little that his cousin couldn't be bullied into. I don't know what went through my head (besides fear of a cousin's terror turning on me) as Adam and I slowly crept our way into the backyard. As I approached the nest, the sound of hornets still running wild through the air, my heart was pounding! Adam and I crept up slowly, sure as to not be sighted by one of the flying beasts, and Kevin watched from the comfortable corner of the yard. Then all of the sudden there he was, the object of my bad day, soaring stinger out straight at my face! I didn't stand a chance. That huge hornet had a mission and was not to be interrupted by any living source on the planet. Arms flailing about I turned to run but it was too late, I could already see the whites in the little insects eyes. As it landed centimeters above my left eyebrow that livid creature did what evolution has taught it best: stung the living crap outta me. This sent me sprinting for safety as I was certain I was going to be enveloped in a mess of hornets. Moments prior Adam had already made it back to our shaded corner haven and was laughing along side Kevin as the spectacle unraveled. I learned that day that my bee allergies were pretty darn severe as a softball sized lump appeared where my eye used to be. I learned that apologizing isn't always worth it. And most of all I learned that my greatest cousin and longest friend is a man of many attributes. Talents that come in all shapes and sizes. And one of the greatest of these is his un-matched ability to coax someone into a very sticky situation for his humorous benefit. Obviously the lump on my face became an iconic moment in our lives as we have passed this very story onto many friends and family members. As a result of many more interesting moments that came about in our lives, we thank you Kevin for always giving us that initial push towards our destiny. And may your next 25 years be filled with laughter and of course, Heather's patience! Love ya cous. Cactus Face and Baller50 for life!! Ry Guy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Man Walks on... My personal epiphany of "180° South: Conquerers of the Useless"

"My whole life, I have been drawn to open country. It's where everything becomes clear, where the world makes the most sense. I always return home a little different. But I know now we cannot take it for granted. When open country is gone, we will be gone along with it!" Jeff Johnson So many times in my own life I have been striding down my solitary path towards greatness. I have been led to many different types of people, of seemingly endless shades of personality, all of whom have inspired me in some way or some other. I've seen and felt some the unescapable ups and downs, walked paths unknown to places uncharted and learned some of life's most, valuable, and inspiring, lessons. Gathering all I've been able to scoop up with my inherent clutches, I have begun to settle myself into a young man capable of things I had never before imagined. When in pursuit of often changing goals, individually we all have fought and will continue always to fight, the challenging obstacles in our specific journeys. One of these most inspiring persons (whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting) to me is Jeff Johnson. Jeff,much like myself, has done what it takes to further his affinity for the great outdoors. Years ago he fell in passion with two of the worlds most renowned outdoors preservationists on the planet today: Yvon Chainard and Doug Tompkins. Their inspiring journeys set them sail on countless adventures exploring and pioneering the outdoor culture. One of their greatest lead them to where they are today, in the great country of Chile, fronting one of the worlds largest outdoor conservation acts entitled: "Cencervacion Pategonia". How many times in our lives have we found ourselves stuck in continuous spiraling grooves leading us opposite of where we first began? I'm sure we have all felt this way one time or another, I know I most certainly have. What these men have taught me was not in any formal setting. It wasn't face to face in a class room, nor was it out on any adventure with these gentlemen that I have learned what truly has become very important to me in regards to my own individual way of thinking. Truly there are beauties surrounding all of us wherever we may be in this world and if we were to go through life skipping out on learning from these God-given spectacles we have not fulfilled our purposes as human beings. One can benefit from the things around him if he actually puts himself where naturally he was not intended to be. Or rather where our comfort zones lie there we should not be. When a person can anxiously step aside of oneself and activity interpret a warm embrace from the hand of a higher creation is when that individual may experience a glimpse of a life full of grandeur and glory. Make a conscious decision to come forth out of the mess of life we catch ourselves up in! If we miss it, we miss everything! This is Ryan appreciating your patience with me for my absence is inexcusable! Love, live, and grow! Always!