Ride on.

“Hawk. Goin’ for the Musselshell. Take me a week’s ridin’, and he’ll be there in… hell, he’s there already.”

Jeremiah Johnson

I ‘ve watched people break.

I’ve seen them crumble after a failed relationship or the death of a loved one. A job lost or a career that ended. The horrors of combat. Money troubles or complete financial devastation.

Doing all the right things and still struggling, while seeing others thrive.

Shit happens — and I say that not to trivialize misfortune, but to acknowledge that every life brings us events beyond our control. It’s also important to recognize that different people, confronted with similar circumstances, react in different ways.

Not everyone breaks. Why?

Because when shit happens, trauma is a choice.

Go ahead and balk at that if you want. It’s the only explanation for why some people press past the awful and the ugly. It’s a matter of will.

Not everyone has it. None of us has it all the time. But despite how we react, no matter how long we choose to dwell in a dark place, there’s joy for the taking on the other side of every trauma of our own making.

The sun comes up every day. Rivers run. Seasons change. Each breath is a gift not to be squandered.

I’ve decided that I don’t want to spend much of my life in grief, depression, sadness or regret. Though I embrace my humanity, I know that there’s more to being human than weakness — it equips me with determination, persistence and optimism. And if I’m gonna set up shop or keep house, it’ll be where the joy is.

My choice.

After posting here and on social media about our recent setback on The Mountain, Deb and I got a lot of what you’d call sympathy. The word “heartbreaking” came up more than once. And I want you to know that we appreciate the love of friends anxious to see us succeed.

When I say, “we’re good,” however, I mean it — we’re good. The sun came up the next day and every day thereafter. We’re alive. We’re well. We choose to press past disappointment and advance confidently in the direction of our dreams.

Today’s header image is of the Crazy (Woman) Mountains, which to a reasonable certainty is where Jeremiah Johnson stood, his eyes to the skies, when he spotted that hawk on its way to the Musselshell. I doubt that he reacted by bemoaning the fact that he wasn’t a hawk, or that he’d have to ride a week to cover the same ground.

I expect that if he really wanted to come down from the Crazies and fish the green river valley himself, he saddled up and started ridin’.

That’s the lesson. Stay in the saddle. Ride on.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

This is an anniversary worth the remembering — two years ago this morning, Deb, Scout, Dipstick and I hit the road. We hadn’t a clue about the adventure awaiting us….