This may seem to be off topic, but it really isn’t.
I have some friends who are having very tough times right now. Very tough. And I came across something on Twitter yesterday that I thought would not only give them some inspiration and comfort, but also a larger sense of themselves as they work to get to the other side of the river. Not that the rest of us couldn’t benefit from that too.
As you may know, Sarah Palin has a new reality series, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, on The Learning Channel. In this last week’s episode, Sarah, her father and a friend flew up north of the Arctic Circle to hunt for caribou to stock the family freezer for the winter.
They flew by bush plane into a base camp named Kavic River Camp. The camp is run by a middle-aged woman named Sue Aikens. When I say runs the camp, I mean runs the camp. While the camp may only operate three months or so a year, in the harsh Alaska weather, it takes a 365-day effort to maintain it. And so she is alone and totally dependent on her own initiative and self-sufficiency for much of the year.
To give you a sense of just how self-sufficient she has become, she described how she let her guard down while she was working down by the river, got herself separated from her gun and was brutally attacked by a bear. She was left with a gash in her scalp and dislocated hip sockets among other things.
So she managed to stagger back to the camp, sew her scalp back together and go kill the bear; it was still lurking in the area. Once back in the safety of her cabin, she collapsed and was unable to move for ten days. Finally a bush pilot noticed that she wasn’t answering the radio and nothing in the camp had moved in days.
Her brief description of the bear attack and its aftermath created a groundswell of viewers clamoring for more about this incredible, independent, iconoclastic woman. As a result, the producers put a follow-up interview with Sue on the show’s website.
This link, http://bit.ly/f6fsuI, will take you to the interview. What you will find is a brief introduction, and then a dozen written questions. But instead of her written answers, you will find a matching-dozen podcasts so that you can hear her answer to the questions in her own voice. Each runs one to two minutes long, and once you begin, you won’t be able to stop. She’s mesmerizing.
What you will be left with, what I was left with, was a soaring sense of the majesty of human beings. Our intelligence, our inventiveness, our ability to self-sufficiently address daily life in soul-satisfying ways. Sue had to learn how to fix diesel engines, weld, live with discipline and, yes, stitch up her own head. There was no one else to do it.
It’s not that we don’t need others, but what this points to is the power within us, to our stamina, our resolve, our durability, our perseverance, our very spark of life.
For Sue it’s all about life and death, literally. For my troubled friends, perhaps they’ll gain comfort from being able to see a bigger part of themselves as they deal with their problems. And for us golfers, maybe having a little perspective on who we all really are will help us get to the next level in our golf.
And while that might seem trivial, it’s not so much, because how you do anything is how you do everything.