Life means to have something definite to do--a mission to fulfill--and in the measure in which we avoid setting our life to something, we make it empty. Human life, by its very nature, has to be dedicated to something.
Poetry often introduces a mythological dimension which reflects the close connections between the gods and commonly encountered trees. A passage from Vergil's Georgics, in which the poet enumerates grafted trees and miraculous growth, incorporates several such mythological references: myrtles, sacred to Venus; the poplar, crown of Hercules; and the acorns of Jupiter's symbolic oak, referring to his grove at Dodona. The pine was held sacred to Pan, the Roman Faunus, and in his Eclogues Vergil describes the pastoral god's home on Mt. Maenalus in Arcadia. Propertius stresses the god's fondness for the tree, and Horace, for his part, dedicates a pine to the goddess Diana in a famous ode.
. . . Of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us - recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state - our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions - were we truly men of courage . . . were we truly men of judgment . . . were we truly men of integrity . . . were we truly men of dedication?
If America is to be run by the people, it is the people who must think. And we do not need to put on sackcloth and ashes to think. Nor should our minds work like a sundial which records only sunshine. Our thinking must square against some lessons of history, some principles of government and morals, if we would preserve the rights and dignity of men to which this nation is dedicated.
Climbing is a unique sport, presenting mental and physical stress that you learn to overcome by operating close to your limits. Sometimes your limits are higher than you realize. "Of course, you recognize your limits in climbing by falling off the rock," says Alan Czenkusch [leader of Whistepig Climbing School of Del Norte, Colorado]. "However, you're safe because you're on belay." The belay anchor system is the crux of climbing. It allows falls with impunity - almost. The person running the rope does so to protect the climber. There is a great responsibility and obligation to this concept and Czenkusch explains it solemnly. The belayer protects himself by the use of pitons and other devices which give him fail-safe redundant protection. When the belayer calls out to the climber below "On Belay" it means he is set up correctly and has assumed a serious duty and would even give up his own life to protect the climber. Such dedication should allow the person below to ascent with no fear of falling. The mutual trust which allows belaying is part of the camaraderie, the intimacy, the mystique of mountaineering. Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped upside down 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. "Don saved my life," says Czenkusch. "How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him."
Eric G. Anderson
Source: “The Vertical Wilderness," Private Practice, Nov. 1979, p. 21.
We wish that this column, rising towards heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to produce in all minds a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We wish, finally, that the last object to the sight of him who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it rise! let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and the parting day linger and play on its summit!
Daniel Webster (1782 - 1852)
Source: At Corner-Stone laying of the Bunker Hill Monument, 1825. Webster's Works. Boston.