Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mt. Hoffman

Picture yourself on the summit of a high mountain in the Sierras. The view in every direction goes for hundreds of miles. To the south is Mt. Lyell and Mt. Ansel Adams, the east Mt. Dana and Mt. Conness, and about 3,000' below the tips of your toes lies Tenaya Lake. You have arrived at the 11,200' peak of Mt. Hoffman.

Years ago, when Dino was just a teen, we made the ascent to this glorious place and sopped up the most spectacular views and emotional highs in all of Yosemite. Mt. Hoffman is the geographic center of God's summer home, Yosemite National Park, and that day remains instantly accessable to me. During the climb, we found ourselves momentarily surrounded by a storm (the black rolling thunderheads were actually below us, encircling the mountain) and we took refuge in a small outcropping of rocks. Normally, one would never climb during nasty weather, but that morning began as a blue-sky day and we were three quarters of the way up the mountain.

The storm passed and we made it to the summit around noon, each of us silent, in awe, captivated completely by something we'd never before experienced. I quietly, almost respectfully, pulled a walkman from my pack and passed the headphones for each to take a breathless listen and fully complete the panorama - the Largo movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony.

I felt compelled to speak, "Someday, when one of you is facing a crisis of some sort or just a terribly stressful day, wherever you may be, whether in a high-rise or by the ocean, remember this moment. No matter what may happen to you, this place, this picture will always be here just as you see it now."

Let's visualize this for Dean. The view of a thousand miles, snow-capped peaks, a swirling gentle wind. That view is God. As you inhale, you feel millions of fresh energy cells fill your body, stimulating your senses like the dawn of a blue-sky morning. Breathing out, you watch the shriveling cancer cascade down the rocks, breaking into pieces and ultimately turning to fine dust. Inhale the good, exhale the bad. Do this whenever you think of Dean.


Chris said...

Beautiful, poetic and moving. May our individual breaths converge into a healing force the likes of which no cancer can resist.

Brad said...

What a vivid image. You are so right, that nothing will take away Dino's ability to recall that moment, or our ability to conjure up that image and focus our thoughts on dashing the cancer to hell (as long as we are on the religious imagery).

The closest I have come to religious experience in my life has been in places like you describe in this passage. Beautiful.

Brad said...

I have plans to climb another amazing peak this weekend in Washington, Mt. Daniel. I will be thinking of you at the top, Dino...

Priscilla said...

WOW, Dick - that was beautiful!

Dino, while on our honeymoon in Canada last month, at Jasper National Park we ran into a hiker-Dad who reminded us completely of you. He was just like our "momma-sherpa," with a Canadian accent (eh?), telling us of all of his tales and favorite hikes and camping trips in Canada. He knew ALL the details of the geology, best times of year to go, and the difficulty levels, etc.... an expert - as you are about Yosemite, D. Aside from his blonde hair, his voice, mannerisms, knowledge base, and body height and structure - were just like yours! We could not help but chuckle that it was no coincidence we ran into him and his family during our brief water break. That was on our most specatular hike - Mt. Edith Cavell glacier hike. We were on the mountain tops, in snow, walked through gorgeous meadows full of wildflowers, and saw almost every angle of the gorgeous Angel Glacier (not surprisingly in the shape of an angel)'s only open for 10 weeks out of the year, so it was a rare opportunity. The glacier was feeding a gorgeous light green pool with chunks of ice floating in it. We were in absolute awe, and thinking of you all the while!

We will all be visualizing cancer cells cascading away, and breathing in good health for you, with the angels guiding your way to climb higher peaks! Hang in there, D - we love you!

kkbirdhouse said...

Thank you, Dick.

With much love,

VocalNurse said...

Thank you for this image. I wish so much for Dino to heal and be well.


Mathew said...

Thanks again, as always, for letting us in.

Lots of deep breaths coming your way from NYC tonight...

Michelle said...

I hope you'll remember me... I was a Nexite with you back in the day. My name then was Michelle Ray; it's now Michelle Morgante (long story). I just wanted you to know that I've been following you journey and sending you positive thoughts. I especially love this posting about Yosemite - indeed one of my favorite places on God's earth. Please know that I and many other Nexites are with you.

Francesca Giessmann said...

dear dick:
Although I lived in the US for almost 10 years, I unfortunately never made it to Yosemite, but it is on my list and I will make it.

I need you to tell Dino a story: kind of long but for the little that I know of him, he will get it and appreciate it.

I was just in Brazil visiting my family. Very special trip as the first since I have been in remission... so very emotional to say the list.

I have an 11 year old nephew.. and we are very very close. He loves music and plays guitar. He loved Black Sabath and Ironman.

When I was there , he was checking my ipod and he saw that my most frequent played song was VIVA LA VIDA. The song that Dino "introduced" me to since I was never a COLDPLAY girl.. but that song and Dino's fight are now close to my heart. ..

So I found myself telling this inquisitive 11 year old about "my friend" ( you see, .. I have never met Dino but I am a friend of Amy B and a fellow cancer sister and feel from the very beginning a special connection to D.) ...

I told him about this man, who was fighting the fight of his life just like his Aunt was doing exactly one year ago... the boy just looked me and said, with the utmost confidence: _ So he will KICK ASS like you!!!!

A couple of day went by and he said: - I learn the song for your friend!!! . .and there he was . .attempting to play in his guitar VIVA LA VIDA.. .and he did a pretty good job... ( I am bias but he is pretty talented!!!!)...

So , please tell Dino .. .that an 11 year old boy . .all the way n Brazil... is learning music because of him and he is sure that .. DINO WILL KICK ASS!!!! And so am I!!!

much love.. .a warm hug....

LynnAJ said...

whoa - tears of joy here - knowing that life will be more extraordinary than ever for you, Dino, once the ass is kicked!!
i am gratefully sending healing energy and cleansing breaths your and every day.
keep smiling. you are doing great.

Love, Lynn and Corey

Billy Ramirez said...

I'll think about Mt. Hoffman every damn time I hear a bassline. You've been a great bassist and a valuable friend and I miss the damn hell out of you.

When the band jams, I feel like I'm missing a limb. I love ya, brah. Get well soon. I look forward to you flashing a quick smirk at me when we nail the end of that fill on "Some Other Life." I also look forward to you getting pissed off at me when I screw up.

The Seahawks still suck, tho.

dindi024 said...

Breathe Slowly and Exhale a lot!

I've been following your journey quietly for a few weeks now. I am truly humbled by your strength. Please know that you've been in my thoughts and I am Praying for you daily. You were made for this climb! Believe that! Find continued strength where you've never looked or expected and there, you will find Hope.
Angie Hernandez
SCHS '88

Looney said...


We love you bro. Keep hanging in there.

Anthony & Theresa

Kim said...

We haven't had a chance to talk about my 6 months in Asia and although there are adventure stories (getting robbed on moped, sitting out a 3 day torrential storm in a small village in Laos, snorkeling in the clearest water surrounded by the most glorious colors of nature, and watching sunrise on the Annapurna's in Nepal) all of these brought me closer to faith, hope and love. My travels were, ultimately and most importantly about my spiritual unfolding and discovery. There were moments of profound connection to spirit and love, that I had never felt before. Moments like yours on the mountaintop. Wherever I am in the world and i need a reminder to love, to have faith, to dig deep I conjure up these images. So, as I follow your journey, I send you love from this place of belief, this deep well of love and faith. The cancer cells are trickling down the mountain and we are all being filled up with love as we travel on this journey with you. Sending you so much love and healing thoughts.

Mathew said...

We love you, Big Dawg. We are a hundred billion bottles washed up on your shore. We are castaways, with you every single second. We've got your message, baby. You can be sure of that.

I'm gonna go play the wheel of fortune progressive slots for a bit. A good friend who knows this shit says that's the one to play.

Jodi said...

We are all breathing like crazy here for you Dino!! You hang in there. F-cancer!! You're the big Kahuna, kick it where it hurts!!

We love you Dino!!
Jodi (Thuringer)Schaff

Bill said...

Dino--Thinking about you up here in Oregon my friend.


Kim said...

Sending you a million Mt. Hoffmans along with a heaping helping of hope, love and hugs.

italyintel said...

Dino, hurry up and get through this and the pizza and hookers are on me.

VocalNurse said...

Dearest Dino, I am singing a special song for you, from my heart to yours.

All love and goodness,

Amy said...

Diggity Deeeeeennnnooooooo... I'm headed to see DMB on Friday night and am pretty much I will think if you the entire time. I remember when you came to my cube at EA and we listened to the track Stand Up from their new album when I had it before anyone. I think that was the moment when we bonded as friends and left the hi-res art and lame screenshots discussion for the Tiger Woods website aside. I had a guitar in my cube and you played it. Then you shared your entire DMB library with me.
With every breath I inhale I take this story in and visualize everything that your dad has described. With every breath I exhale I hope is lessens your pain as I visualize peace inside of your body.
I could not be more proud of your display is courage and bravery right now. We're all here, virtually holding your hand as you climb what seems to be an endless summit.

I wish the doctors could make medicine as strong as you.

Sending you healing strength and peaceful breaths...mi amigo.

Sensei :)