•≈ Brrr...
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Shivering, sweating, coughing & puking. Add constricted throat & lungs feeling like they've been filled with concrete. Niiiice! This virus has been hellish. Add random total loss of balance when walking & burning leg muscles like I'd been running the Cuillin ridge again... All that time the collie sat on the end of the bed piling up toys, balls, random socks, empty mineral water bottles & with interrogating eyes, asking Why are we not playing outside? The gales & the rain & the dog circumnavigated my bed through each night as company & it invariably helped me sleep in patches, the sound of wind through a slightly open window, the dogs patrolling growl. By Wednesday 27 I had neared 98 hours of nil-by-mouth infliction, but had at last started to think about trying to get something by my lips other than occasional warm tea....a whole cracker maybe. I was also able to sit on the floor by the pc, wearing the downy like a giant shroud or cloak, eyes streaming, head swimming & feeling like some sort of wierd Jedi master who's main ability in using The Force, is to constantly spawn hundreds of paper Chrysanthemums out of cheap Coop boggie roll wherever he goes. I'll get back to work on the Rolling With Dubside dvd review when I can also figure out how to capture stills of the movie on desktop in jpeg form...
Today is Thursday & after a night & half a days sleep I feel incrementally more back on form, although, I think this virus has partially eaten my brain as well. Maybe I've been rewired & kayaking backwards will be the norm...
As an aside, I dont go down easy, & I don't do man flu, but this felt malarial. I never pop pills or drown in tonics for things like this becuase I believe in letting the body muster it's own army against infection whenever possible. What good is an immune system when it's turned into a local chemist junkie? You might pay the price while you're going through the worst of it, but it sets your system up strongly for the year.

Coincidence? Exactly 24 hours before this hit, I was visiting a dear old friend of mine in the local hospital...

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 14:17:00 | 0 Retorts
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff explains the meaning of Wu Wei to be without doing, causing, or making. In other words, without being meddlesome, combative, or egotistical—not going against the nature of things. Chuang-Tze tells a story about Confucius walking along the Gorge of Lu where a great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet. The waters churn violenlty below. He & his students had seen a man leap from the top into the foaming river below. They thought the man must be committing suicide, & Confucius’ students hurried to the river’s edge. When they arrived, the man was standing, shaking off the water, & beginning to sing. Confucius approached the man & asked him:

How did you manage to swim through such dangerous waters?
The man answered: I have no particular method of swimming, except that when I am in the water, I do not fight the water’s superior power. I float with it & sink with it instead of trying to force my way through it. I started my learning with what was given to me at birth, continued with what was natural for me to do, & completed by trusting what was meant to be.

Non-ado, no action, wu-wei. It means following the natural course of things and trusting what is meant to be. No effort. Control without control, coersion by letting go. A fight without a punch being thrown is nothing more than a dance afterall. Thus the confidence of rolling in storm surges & force winds will take you on a natural & extensive path of exploration, whatever the seas may throw at you. For me, it's a simple case of trusting & reading that enviroment, then calmly going with it. Oh I'm upside down, oh I'm the right way up, are just consequential elements of that process. Well, as the tuiliq drip dries by the burner & my shoulder recovers, I'm busy writing a wee review of Dubside's instructional dvd, which he simply entitled Rolling With Dubside, & it will be posted on here soon. It's also nearing planning time for the Fugloy/Faroe solo circ nav, which will doubtless see some upside down moments in the giant swell that patrols those outer reaches. First though, some more of this, over at Traigh na Beirigh... Take the box says Amy...

Black knives & white scythes - playing in the North Hebridean reeks. Rolling practise in gale driven swell.

How can you know what the edge looks like, if you don't look over it, if you're no prepared to jump or at least feel what it is to jump? - Dan Osman

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 04:01:00 | 2 Retorts
•≈ Snowak
Saturday, 2 February 2008
Getting up as the dawn spread low across open ground, after storm force winds tearing up the far Northern tips of the Hebrides subside, we were faced with blizzards & subsequently cancellation of guiding the adult group over to Barra in kayaks. I also now have additional students, one aged 13 & female, the other 14, & male, brother & sister & being that age, they have a totally cool trampoline, but these recent baltic conditions & giant reeks of swell are no place for the novice at sea, adult or child. Tomorrow I will give them a solo demonstration of big surf rolling & handling skills, whatever conditions come this way. To amuse them for today, & in part, myself, I took to producing a comedy demo, & it so happens, that -
Today there was a chance to perform some Greenlandic Snow'aking skills. In figure 01, notice the aloof yet balanced mental state of the Greenlandic snow'aker as he performs a reverse sweeping stroke with half a shitty euro paddle. Good at clearing paths. Facial poise is everything in this tricky manoeuvre. Please note, when in this position, it is virtually impossible to sneak up on the Greenlandic snow'aker:

Fig 01: Aloof yet spatially aware...

Figure 02 shows the graceful finishing position after a snow'aking hand roll. Note how there is no snowball held in the forward gauntlet. Having made a complete roll without dropping the snowball, two-step deftly avoiding a random henge in the background, our Greenlandic snow'aker has tossed it exuberantly into the air & is waiting to catch it in his teeth. Our Greenlandic snow'aker is a veritable ballerina of grace, as the photo clearly shows beyond contestation. Do not try to perform this stunt without first wearing a substantial porn tash.

Fig 02: The reluctant ballerina

Figure 03. Of course, no matter how proficient the Greenlandic snow'aker becomes, no matter how in tune & zen'd up with his enviroment & oneness....there is always, always, the need for speed. A determined grimace will add at least half a knot to his performance, resulting an unprecedented turn of speed. This phenomena is not solely exclusive to Greenlandic snow'aking, indeed, riding supermarket trollies out of, or around the Coop at break-neck speed is merely a hybrid variation of this ancient art. As is anything to do with Nuuk airport.

Fig 03: Last to the beef stewpot? I don't think so...

Well that's all folks, & it simply falls to our Greenlandic snow'aker to quote a fine wisdom from the mind of Björn Thomasson: In Greenlandic snow'aking, it pays not to be to elitist, just so long as you understand that we are better at it than you.

That's all folks...

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 08:27:00 | 0 Retorts