The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Dropping Down to the Desert (or Opportunity, Take One) Day Four

I woke up today thinking about two things.  The first was, ‘Good Lord are my legs sore!’ While this was very true and unavoidable to consider, it wasn’t as profound as the other thought which has been on my mind all day, and it’s really not completely worked through yet.  I woke up thinking about opportunity.  What is it, what does it mean?  How does one get it?  Give it?  All I know is that some are squandered. Some are lost.  Some never show up.  People make them.  People find them.  People see them.  If I had my way I’d give them.  I’d teach people to give them.  I’d teach people to teach people to give them.  You see, to me that would be an opportunity…for me.  Thanks for indulging the ‘Deep Thoughts with Matt Sauri’!

Luckily, today was much less challenging than we initially thought, at least in terms of work capacity requirements.  It wasn’t without its own challenges, though.  We started with a 4,000 foot descent.  We dropped into the desert in a mere 30 minutes, after taking a day and a half to get up to the top.  We were screaming through the rocky corridors and limestone banks, occasionally ‘leveling out’ to a mere 10% grade (that means that it’s still mighty steep) all the while on a great road that twisted like a Dali-influenced corkscrew.  If yesterday was an exercise in alternate forms of consciousness (delusion, seeing stars, etc),then  today was sensory overload.  There was no time or availability to daydream.  Simply moving waaaay too fast.  In fact, I caught my mind wandering at one point and luckily was able to reel it in (that’s rare for me, BTW).  Just too much happening at once.  I’d have to say I felt pretty alive at that point.

About three quarters of the way down, Mince pulled to the side and wanted to check both of our front wheels.  He claimed that he feared that they could have gotten jarred and slightly loose due to the rapid drop, much of which was recently bumpy.  To tell you the truth, I thought it was sort of grandfatherly of him.  I felt like my wheel was fine.  But…if you know Kevin, you might realize that arguing is futile.

So, we continued through the giant chute of a playground, whipping through the last of it to emerge into the vast, dry, time-tested feel of the desert.  Talk about Mother Nature!  Amazing how the coolness is shrugged from the air in a flash, replaced with the dry ominous heat that means doom for so many life forms here.  What’s it take to survive in the desert?  I don’t plan to stick around long enough to find out.  We kept long sleeves on so that we wouldn’t get scorched, put it that way. 

One visually captivating thing was at the very end of the descent; we were still moving at around 30mph or so when, I noticed just above my head (as in just above, like maybe 8 feet or so) a large hawk floating.  She was moving the same direction I was, and at the same clip.  So, it was like she was right there and I got to see her just hovering, although she was actually moving pretty fast, as was I.  It was beautiful.  I had two thoughts: a) I hope she doesn’t have to um…go potty right now and b) I’m glad I’m not a small rodent or even an aging poodle right now.  The talons on this creature were something to behold.  Imagine getting scooped up and taken away into the sky – that would suck.

As invigorating as the rollercoaster drop was, the road flattened out and will, in the next few days, become a long barren stretch of dry lonely road with sudden side gusts and headwinds.  If there are some tailwinds too, I’d be fine with that.  The above pic is of Kevin, and he didn’t know I took it.  It reminds me of the long road ahead.

At the day’s end, I realized that I wanted to be alive and well at the end of this trip, so I told Kevin that he can act grandfatherly anytime he damn well chooses.

All I know for sure is that there will be opportunities.

For Families of the Fallen....To The Limit,

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Matt Sauri

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