Eminence Gris and Hiking – Try Putting Those Two Together

snowy pathway surrounded by bare tree
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com


 (journal entry)

“While meditating this morning I watched our neighbor across the street try to pull into his driveway. The streets are frozen, with deep ruts and so it was hard, and he has a big truck, for him to pull into his driveway, but he slipped back and forth and finally rested on his driveway, akimbo, straight.

 Our beliefs and dogma and doctrine are similar to slippery streets. They may help us to move forward, they may be the path, but the more frozen they are, the harder it is to get to the destination. The path is not direct, and achieved inefficiently.”


Today began a glorious day.  I went for a hike with my friend Vince Fortunato, and for the first time in weeks felt strong and healthy. We started at the Pierce Park trail head, for those of you who know the spot, and decided to climb right up the steepest path. I wanted to test myself and to stretch myself. To kick my own tires to see if they could hold the road. I’m no fancy four-wheel drive, just an aging pickup without bells and whistles, but I huffed and puffed to the top and could see all over the foothills and Boise proper. The ensuing path forward, with its ups and downs and muddy goop and slips and stumbles and all around, was like a farewell-to-being-sickly tour.

Tonight, Lana and I went to see the movie Vice, about the rise to power of Dick Cheney. I’m not a clever and imaginative movie reviewer like my brother is, so I will just say here that throughout history there have been the Cardinal Richelieu’s. The éminence grise  who, with official or unofficial power, operate behind the scenes, manipulating others with more legitimate power. In this case, the Vice-President manipulated people and the situation to accomplish his goals.  He didn’t worry about the constraints of laws, dogma, or doctrine to accomplish his goals. He didn’t let the truth be a straitjacket. He found himself to be the best decider of how to serve and to protect the United States in time of peril.

Needless to say, going from feeling the expansive possibilities of hiking the foothills to the helplessness of being led like sheep into an unnecessary war was a big mood change.

Which brings me to our latest unnecessary, yet willful, blunder.

We just opened up the federal government after a month or so. People, including myself, found themselves on one side or another, “frozen, with deep ruts and so it was hard” to move off our own well-worn paths, our frozen “beliefs and dogma and doctrine”, and to push together to move toward the safety and security of home, even though we may have parked a bit akimbo. Leaders, thought leaders, media-ites, opinionators, tried to keep us in our own lanes, in our own ruts, and digging ourselves in deeper.

This time, the dire consequences occurred right in our own country and our democratic system of government took a Red Bull and finally jumped the ruts for the moment.

Finding the wisdom that powers us up mountains and putters us down swampy, rutty paths seems like the long-term play to get back to the trail head, to back home, again.  Partisan politics have their benefits, but they have their chuckholes, often “played” by the eminence gris we never see.  The ones we see are challenging enough.

We are on slippery streets, slippery slopes, now. We’ll need to work with all our neighbors to more quickly plow the streets, get to the driveway, and home.


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