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Beethoven and Backpacks

August 29, 2010

  It was another blissful wilderness weekend for me.  See the above shot?  That’s just a pathetic snippet of the jaw-dropping 360° backdrop from the fire lookout tower we holed up in last night.  Care for a spectacular vista with breakfast?  *Sigh*, alright, why not… since we had to leave the TV at home.  Believe me, “stunning” doesn’t even begin to describe.

Mind you, getting there was a 6-hr. slog.  Uphill the whole way.  Carrying 30 lbs. more than usual.  There are times in life when you pray (hard!) that the reward is worth the effort.  This was one of them.  Thankfully, we weren’t disappointed, but there were more than a few moments when we weren’t so convinced we’d get adequate payback, and putting one foot in front of the other was a dark and unwelcome thought. 

A curious thing happens to me though when I get like that.  My brain gives me music.  Earworms, to be exact.  Tidbits of melody to accompany my feet for the next step.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next. 

This time I couldn’t escape the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony – brooding, minor key music that perfectly matched my tired&hungry&burningquads mood.  Ironically, it contains one of the more famous “ostinato” (repeated rhythmic motifs) in classical music – “ostinato” coming from the Italian for “stubborn” or “obstinate”.  Which is exactly what’s needed when you’re at mile 11 and wondering “how much farther?”.

This piece accompanied me for a couple of hours, over and over and over again.  Not as maddening as you’d think given the circumstances, although now I can’t get rid of it and it’s starting to annoy me just a tad.  But listen to it – it’s the perfect pace for moving heavy feet uphill.

Current earworm annoyance aside, it’s a beautiful soundtrack when you’re in the middle of nowhere and needing the pick-me-up to plod the home stretch.

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