Thursday, February 10, 2005

my title

Here are some reasons for choosing "patagonia" as my title:

During my freshman year of college, my friend Allison had an assignment to learn from others life experiences. It was for what she always referred to as her "Patagonia class." I assume the class was centered around Bruce Chatwin's "In Patagonia," I book I have yet to read, but long to. To fulfill her assignment, she and I set up a table with paper, crayons, and a sign that said, "Come tell us your life philosophy." As people passed, they drew pictures, told stories, and shared with us everything from silly catch phrases to significant turning points in their lives. It was one of the first of many moments I've had in college where I've seen the power of creativity in gaining knowledge and the universality of human experience.

This year I went to a slide show/ lecture given by an alpine climber who has done first ascents all over the world, but whose favorite place is patagonia. He told us a story of doing a seemingly impossible climb with 3 other friends. They got stuck in storms; one climber nearly died. They stayed on the mountain for 26 days with only 15 days of food, attempting the summit again and again. They finally gave up, and came down, having to eat their first aid kit on the 9 day hike back to civilization. As I watched the slides of jagged peaks ( intermingled with faces of frozen beards and children herding sheep, I realized that I needed to do something like this in my life. I needed to go places that would change my ideas of what mountains looked like, that would challenge my concept of time, that would bring me closer to others than everyday living ever could, and that would make me revere God's grace in giving us such an awesome planet to live on.

Patagonia is on the southern tip of South America. Its people have lived lives that are probably about as far from my experience as its possible to get. I love studying people, how they think, why they act the way they do. Its why I love psychology and sociology. They teach me the mechanisms behind human behavior. But the necessary subjective element-- the empathy, the respect, the understanding, the compassion, the charity-- this comes from learning from, living with, and loving those different from ourselves. That is what Patagonia symbolizes for me.


LJ said...

It's good. It's very good. I also want to gain perspective of God's creations.

And that quote by Forster: "a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life"--it's an excellent description of your life and your passions. I'm glad to know you.

gremhog said...

From knowing you for years, I think you are more than equipped to extend to other the love, understanding, and help they need. I think it was born in your very soul/being. Get the education cuz that's essential. But know that it's heaven sent.

Briar Rose said...

Heather - You rock my hair ties.

Radical Bad said...

Awesome, you totally rock my world Heather. Just for a little trivia...Patagonia actually got it's name from Ferdinand Magellan who saw the people who lived there and called them Patagones, which means big feet. But don't worry, I don't think you have big feet. On a more serious note, I love your passion for life and for the people that surround you. You are an amazing person.

Augusta Jane said...

This is a really neat website, Heather! :) Sorry it took me so long to make a post. The Utah pictures are pretty.