Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rites of passage and learning to let go

According to Wikipedia a rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a person's social status, which was exactly what I was realising last night as I attended my son's first formal as a gentle bouncer stationed on the edge of the light, to keep wayward souls in, while another layer of professional security behind me in the darkness seemed to not only do this, but keep wayward strangers out!

The concept of learning to let go, as a parent, first came to me from another parent of older children about 18 months ago. Since then I've been sort of waiting, hopefully prepared to handle myself well, while reviewing my strategies in life and in the outdoors - my hope being that in the outdoors' environment with it's lessons [so far consistently non dramatic] we'd be paid back for the investment.

The process is speeding up now though, and two weekends ago I was jolted out of my comfort zone when Dougal asked if he could float down the Clutha with friends from the outlet of Lake Wanaka. The trip is gorgeous and so was the early evening, and as the trip is basically obstacle free, I went into check list mode to help him prepare well - the ritual gave me some comfort!

Looking upstream up the mighty Clutha...

After I'd dropped him off and they'd launched their array of rafts and lilos I came home for a cuppa then drove down to the pull-out spot at Albert Town and waited and waited.

Did I mention how I waited!?? I had to learn the lesson of patience and tried some landscape photography, but the camera only really got used in earnest for this shot of them coming into view with the lower Dean's Bank in the background...

Contemplating the past I've realised the whole game now is more subtle, but that the rules are just same.

It was easy a few years back - just state the activity, ask if it was OK and then lead, letting them think they're leading, while we hover nearby...

Preparing for a short 100m trip along an historic mine shaft in the Dunstan Mountains, in Central Otago, but near home...

We're parked up waiting for cousin Michael while near Moonlight, on our way out from Ben Lomond Station behind Queenstown...

And all of a sudden last night I wished him well - now a young man embarking on "a rite of passage"

By 3 am I was throughly confused as we never agreed on what time, in regards to daylight saving changes, he'd be back from the after-party [held at a secret location], and he'd not shown up. The plan was hourly buses would drop them back at Mt Aspiring College - thankfully only 10 mins. walk from home. So I drove around the block a couple of times and never saw a soul except one parked/hovering police car in my street. So realising the futility of it all I turned in thankful for all the time we've spent together in the hills and otherwise - the mileage gave me trust.

The trust was not misplaced - minutes later he turned up, and said he'd missed the first bus, and that he enjoyed the "formal" formal, but found the after-party "interesting". Elaborating this morning he said it was his first time observing the affects of alcohol, and how it changed the behaviour of many people he knows quite well.

I guess wilderness values and concepts have taught us both to trust, detach and observe!

We're off on a Rees/Dart 4 day tramp next weekend. With any luck we'll do a side trip up, past the Dart Glacier, to Cascade Saddle.

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Blogger Deirdre said...

What a handsome young man.
I'd forgotten those hours awake in the night when they'd gone out!!!

April 5, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

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