Often, I’ve found myself staring at that big rock in the river that I don’t want to wrap my boat on and the rock just gets closer and closer… Over the years, I’ve learned to aim my focus where I want to go instead of the obstacle that is in the way, but like most lessons, this one has been learned several times over. Sometimes the wind will blow and you will hit that rock no matter how hard you try to miss it.
Just recently I was on the other side of the world in South Korea. The trip had been planned for about 8 months and was led there by ties to close friends and family. A trip to celebrate life. While on my travels, I have Mike and others to thank for holding down the fort here at MFWO and you to thank for keeping them busy. In my absence, I planned with all intention to stay informed at the least by checking the email and tuning in to meetings even at a 15-hour time difference. Well, try as I might, on one of the more important meetings with all of the other Middle Fork Outfitters on the Zoom call, I said to myself “Will, you need to tune into this one, there are a lot of important things being discussed” I looked at the time of the meeting and I see that it will start at 10 am Mountain Standard time; after doing the math, I see that the meeting will start at 1 am in the Korean time zone that I have gotten accustomed to. I shake my head in dismay but continue with the day, not wanting miss out on any adventures. “I’ll be fine” I tell myself with a plan to drink some late-night coffee and push through the meeting that night.
It all started out great, I had my camera turned off and headphones in with a muted microphone, tired but confident for getting this far. I turned the lights down so as not to disturb my housemates (Korea is notorious for cozy housing) and I settled in to a 4 and a half hour meeting. Well I caught a good amount of the meeting during the first hour, then I started to wane. The last 3.5 I could not help but to doze off. As if I was bobbing in and out, circling an eddy of legendary voices discussing logistics, shuttles, river access points, and much more, my tired eyes won the battle and my brain went into hypnopedia mode. 5:30 am rolled around and my ears catch the mutterings of “thank you’s” and “goodbye’s” indicating the conclusion of the very long meeting… I hang up my phone and think to myself that I did my best and caught what I could, hopefully I can catch the notes for anything important. I close my eyes and back to sleep…
Well, I cannot tell you how glad I was to return to Salmon to see Spring in full effect, it is one of my favorite seasons. Greeted by friends and loved ones and catching up on the stack that inevitably builds up during an absence, a piece of information comes to my attention. I am informed that everyone on the meeting knew I was sleeping, and, in fact, I was even offering my two cents by snoring over the others speaking (I guess I unmuted myself during my sleep). Apparently, they were all trying to figure out how to mute me so that they could resume the meeting without distractions.
Now, when these types of things come to my attention, I can’t help but feel bad for interrupting the meeting and also a bit embarrassed because many on that call are folks who I look up to and have a deep respect for. On the other hand, I can’t help but just laugh at myself and try to imagine what it was like to be on the other end. I guess I will just hope that they found the same humor in it that I have. These things are bound to happen when burning the candle at both ends.
As it turns out, great notes were taken on the meeting, and it could have been an option to have a good night’s sleep and save myself the embarrassing performance; if only I had let go of the fear of missing out. So… A reminder to all to focus on where you want to go and not so much the obstacle. Looking forward to a great river season!