Panier of Plenty

Azimut Brutal

Déplacement en ligne droite, par lecture approximative de l’azimut
sur la boussole. Inspirés du terme militaire “azimut brutal”, qui
veut dire “aller toujours tout droit”, le brutal wood ou bois brutal
a un principe : choisir le chemin le plus difficile et qui cumule
le plus d’obstacles.

To follow a direct course, irrespective of anything that might stand
in the way, to push a way forward – with determination – overcoming
any physical discomfort. To be focused solely on a goal and relentlessly
stride towards its completion, even if obstacles arise, forcing the
natural flow of things, battling into a headwind. Head down and on
with the mission, leaving little room for movement, this strategy
is used by those we often admire the most – raising them on a pedestal,
for their courage and achievement, to hero status, as their feats are
recorded and in turn inspire other conquests. Man has long sought
to conquer – whether to claim new territories or to have reached
greater heights than previously attempted, going to extremes in
order to be mentioned – to be written into the tomes of history that
changes the course of events that proceed.

The ‘life of an adventurer’ cannot be for all, that is sure, yet
those who succeed and face their own demons, transcend physical
discomfort and mental tension, with emotional anguish carefully
disguised, as they somehow win through (if luck is on their side)
or ‘go up in flames’ or perish on an iceshelf in their tent,
or engulfed by the waters on the high seas, fail to return
when expected – never heard from again.

Daring to go beyond, or simply adding a twist – another level of
difficulty or something that doesn’t yet exist – these pioneers
who ‘go out on a limb’ remind us that uncertainty can be lucrative
or grim. Whatever the outcome, they alter their life course, choosing
a direction and pursuing it to the bitter end, clinging to their
convictions in the face of others criticism. Tenacity we might
call it, or ‘guts’ in familiar slang – ‘gun ho’ approach, that
puts risk to one side to keep an idea afloat. With or without
backing’ the trajet is always clear – an objective stated, to be
realised no matter what else appears. We are schooled in this,
for it is ‘drummed in’ as we compete, for the battle of life
demands of us ‘feats’: a performance, results, credibility
behind our name – something memorable, if you please, that
will enter us into the hall of fame.

The degree of difficulty determines the applause, and whether
the task has been attempted before – if many have tried and only
failed, the one who wins will be ‘raised and hailed’. Paving the
way for those behind who crouch in the footsteps left by the
‘greats’ like Sir Edmund Hillary who many venerate. Opening a
door to other achievements, once recognition is gained publicity
ensures momentum. And therein lies the key, for we can’t be proud
of someone we can’t see; we rely on marketing and book deals and
signings to propel and support further attempts in the name of
the cause – a compulsive way of being once the public eye is
trained with ‘expectation’, ensuring the continuation as the next
record is broken. As long as they are on form our heroes remain,
enduring in the places that won them their claim – a reminder of
what we are all capable of, should we also decide to ‘go all out’
towards a goal: to put ourselves to the test, to follow through
an initiative and push to do our best.

Fighting the odds and overcoming our fears, this ‘rite of passage’
has many other forms, dating back to antiquity and when warriors
kept score. Whether prowess with sword over enemy, or master of
all trades including treachery, a man’s measure has been made
from all he gains in reputation – whether on the crusades or a
merchant banker, each person has a ‘value’ placed upon their
head and a standing in society that matches the assessment.
Status goes hand in hand with worth, as fortune has been linked
to ‘position at birth’, and the chance to rise, to be elevated
in the ranks, comes when we are noticed for exceptional acts
– thus a structure is created and held firmly in place: ‘further,
better, faster’ we have to join the race, for if we look to others
to confirm our worth we are forced into this pace – eventually
coming to the conclusion that we’re capable, after any ordeal,
is the point of the story, whatever the tale, for to believe it
we have to feel it in our own time and style.

For those who aren’t driven to extremes, the most pleasurable road
to freedom is to admit our own value, without requiring proof – not
looking to others to set the benchmark but stating intrinsic worth:
that nothing is required, beyond appreciation, of all that we already
are, in whatever combination. Giving ourselves a pat on the back,
reserving our admiration for our daily achievements, and accepting
ourselves ‘lock, stock and barrel’ – drawing on satisfaction, breathing
in all of life in each moment, as we are fulfilled.

Borne marking the French/Spanish border

Dodtour team

Course: straight ahead without a path

Azimut Brutal through dense scrub

Inspired by my adventures on Sunday 1st July, as I joined ‘Dodtour’,
crashing relentlessly along the ridges of our mountain range, following
the bornes that mark the French Spanish border – as a quick image is
snapped or a baton tapped. Part of a quest to follow the ‘outline’ or
border of France – passing as closely as possible to the markers or
hugging the coast, whether on foot or mountain bike or by kakak (or in
the case of the last Pyrenean marker, diving in a coastal cave) – only
the Mediterranean coast remained, with the finish line in the Hautes
Alpes calling. On Friday 29th June, I joined a friend and his fellow
cyclists from England in Narbonne, having been inspired to undertake
their adventure by a book highlighting a life-changing walk by a fellow
compatriot across France, from near Biarritz on the Atlantic coast,
to the beaches of Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast.

This entry was published on July 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm. It’s filed under Adventure, Environment, Europe, Forest, France, Hiking, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Pyrénées, Randonnées, Spain, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Azimut Brutal

  1. mesarapugs on said:

    Phew! Much food for thought …. a poignant insight overall, and final analysis xx

  2. Great post, especially reading it after just finishing Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’, an account of a 1100km along the Pacific Crest Trail.

  3. claude on said:

    Tu es une grande randonneuse et marcheuse mais en plus tu es aussi une phylosophe un poète ( normalement on dit poètesse mais ce nom ne me plait guère ) un poète réfléchit et sensé bravo .
    La marche est plus facile avec des battons et l’écriture c’est mieux en francais ( dommage ) .
    GROS BISOUS . Claude

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