I went to the mountains for extended silence. While I did achieve many hours of straight, awesome silence, an equally powerful metaphor occurred at the outset that has stuck with me as tenaciously as the experience of silence.
Winter cold temperatures had refused to yield to the spring equinox. The week prior it had snowed all the way to the valley floor. My destination was 1,500 to 2,000 feet elevation so there was plenty of snow up there. The trail head I had in mind was blocked by a snow berm so I drove on up an unplowed back woods road with snow ruts to the pavement. I continued on a couple of miles and the farther I went the deeper the snow. I decided to turn around at the next opportunity. I came to a wide spot in the road where there were plenty of tire tracks indicating others had been there. The temperature was right at freezing. There was about a foot of dense, saturated snow layered atop two inches of ice. No sooner than I turned out of the ruts, I was stuck. I had been driving in 4WD. I put it in super-low 4WD. No help. I was on ice.
I had come to the mountains for solitude and silence. I was sufficiently remote to have both. I sized up the situation. I had a collapsible spade and an ax. I set to work digging very heavy, icy snow from behind each tire, then chopping the ice away all the way to the pavement. There was a downed pine tree nearby from which I chopped a large pile of boughs, which I tucked behind each tire for traction. I then backed very gently onto them and was soon back into the ruts and on my way back down the road… in reverse.
The metaphor was such a perfect reflection of the issue I was facing in my real life back in civilization. July 1st last year I agreed to go into partnership with a couple of guys I have known for some time, who are smart and ambitious, and whose values and principles seemed to be a good match, complementary skill sets, experience, goals, etc. all aligned. About a month ago decisions were made, money spent, and commitments agreed that I had not been consulted on, in clear conflict with sound principles of partnership and business generally. I had turned out of the ruts, onto the ice. I was faced with the need to carefully assess the situation, to find a way to gingerly back out of the situation without panic, using the tools and materials at hand, and escaping a dicey situation where the elements could have harshly demanded my life.
Just this very day, I extricated myself from the situation with minimal damage. It took a fair amount of sacrificed time, energy, and some pain, but all four tires are in solid contact with the pavement and I am safely rolling down the road again.