A Travellerspoint blog

The Three Questions

inspired and adapted from Tolstoy, Thich Nhat Hahn, and Jon Muth.

sunny 70 °F

There once were two twin boys, Darien and Sawyer, who sometimes felt unsettled about who they wanted to become. As they looked alike, and sounded alike, and dressed alike, people kept mixing them up, or thinking they were the same person. They wanted to find their own identity. They wanted to understand themselves. "I want to be my own person, a good person," Darien told his parents. "But I don't know how to do that." "Well, I want to have a strong character, be moral and true," chimed in Sawyer.

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Darien and Sawyer's parents understood and wanted to help them out. So they took them on a backpacking trip in the canyons of Utah.
"If only I could find the answer to my questions, then I would know how to be," said Darien.
"If only I could find the answer to my questions, then I would know how to act," said Sawyer.3462f2c0-a316-11eb-a8ff-3580f2ee86bf.jpg0878baf0-a316-11eb-af15-3d2dc5156da3.jpg

When is the Best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?

Darien and Sawyer's parents considered their childrens' questions.
Then their mother said "To know the best time to do things, one must plan in advance."
Then their father said "You will know what to do then you pay close attention to the events around you."
Then their parents agreed and said together "But you can't pay attention to everything yourself. You need family and friends to help guide you along the way."
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Sawyer thought for a moment and asked his question. "Who is the most important one?"
His mother answered, "The person who carries the heaviest gear."
His father answered, "Those who know how to heal the sick."
Then their parents agreed and said together, "Those who make the rules and do all the work."
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Darien and Sawyer thought some more. Then Darien asked "What is the right thing to do?"
"Biking" his mother said. "Hiking" his father said. Then his parents said together, "Playing outside."
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Darien and Sawyer thought for a long while. Although they knew their parents were trying their best to help them, the answers didn't seem quite right. Both Darien and Sawyer wanted to know how to be their own self.
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That's then Sawyer had an idea. "Darien, why don't we travel to the ruins. The spirits in the rocks will surely know the answer. They have been there for 1000 years!"
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Thus, Darien and Sawyer hiked deep into the canyons for 4 days where the old ruins lived. They searched for 17 miles, up and down canyon walls, for the right rock to speak with. When they arrived, they looked into the windows for the spirits, read the writings on the cliff walls, and....
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When they found the rock with the strongest spirit, Darien said "We have 3 questions and we need your help to answer them." Sawyer explained, "When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?"

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The spirit in the rock listened carefully, but did not say a word. The children waited, but did not receive an answer.
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Then Darien said, "Maybe mom was right. Maybe we need to go biking to find the right answer." Sawyer replied, "Let's bike to the Rock Gods. Surely the stones there will know the answer." So they climbed out of the canyons.

Between thirst and hunger, long miles and fatigue, an accident befell Sawyer. Although he wasn't badly injured, the incident was enough for his brother to witness that they were not invincible.
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Eventually, they ascended back up to 6000 feet, where the wind was chilled and the sunsets were colorful.
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Darien and Sawyer immediately hopped on their bicycles, and began to ride.
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25 miles to the cliff walls, 20 miles down into the valley, around twisty turns and sheer drop-offs, through dusty soil and beachy sand.
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At times, there was only enough shade for half a body.
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At other moments, their excitement was so great as to reduce their concentration and crash into a cactus. 04f0f3c0-a316-11eb-af15-3d2dc5156da3.jpg01775d60-a316-11eb-af15-3d2dc5156da3.jpg

The water was non-existent; but they boys kept riding. Through the stone pillars, around the towers, their wheels turned. They eventually spoke with the stone Gods.
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When is the Best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?

But the stones stayed silent. large_510ebe00-a47d-11eb-a9ab-0bd6fec71e79.jpg
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Darien and Sawyer were befuddled. Why weren't the stone Gods answering them. They had to continue on towards water, 20 miles to the nearest town. After fresh warm meals and clean band-aids, they decided maybe the stones didn't want to share the answers. They continued on for 20 more miles towards shelter from the winds.
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The gusts on their backs flew them up hills, the winds at their sides pushed them into the road, the winds at their fronts showed them their imperfections. They rode in a sandstorm, needing to hold on for dear life as sand slapped at them with 35mph gusts. But they carried on.

When they arrived in Bluff, they sat in a fort looking at the stones they had collected along the way.
Darien said "It was a really fun trip, but I still don't know when is the best time to do things." Sawyer replied, "It was a great trip. We survived the canyons, and biked across the desert, but I wish we could have figured out our answers." Then they looked at their stones one more time.
And a voice in their heads said, "But your questions have been answered."
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Darien and Sawyer looked at each other. They started reminiscing about their trip. The starry nights and scenic vistas, the owl and canyon wren calls, the hot days and cold nights. They joked about how dirty they were, how their butts were sore, they shared stories of laughter and pain.

Then Sawyer said, "Ya know, I think there is only one important time, and that time is now. If we hadn't hiked to the ruins, we wouldn't have seen all those amazing views. So the most important time was the time we spent in the canyons. The most important one at that moment was the one I was with - my family." Darien replied, "And when you fell down and hurt yourself, the most important time was when mom and dad cleaned your wounds. Or when I crashed my bike, the most important one was the person I was with, mom, since she pulled out my cacti thorns."
Sawyer added, "And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is sitting at your side. So when you need help, they will do good for you too." 3d71d390-a316-11eb-860e-5f18b085389d.jpg002ed7d0-a316-11eb-a8ff-3580f2ee86bf.jpg

Then the rocks whispered, "For those are the answers to what is most important in the world."
And the children agreed.
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Posted by risajs 01:33 Archived in USA Tagged utah

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Comments

ABSOLUTELY amazing and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!!!
WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!!!

by Doug Malley

Wow -- not only are you and Jared great bikers, hikers, healers and parents, but you're a truly great writer, my beloved daughter. Thank you for being! Mom

by bschiffman

Reese, your storytelling bicycle adventures just get better with each one. No wonder the boys are good storytellers in their own right. And Jared is the captain who keeps the course. Thanks to you all for keeping us in the loop. Your sons have no idea how lucky they are. Their mom and dad are great parents who take them on inspiring adventures.

by glenn

Wow! Family adventures in Utah! Wonderful tale, Risa. Grand Staircase-Escalante area? Have you considered writing children's books??

by Emily Warren

Inspiring and thought-provoking, Lisa! Great to see the whole family on an adventure of physical and philosophical discovery!

by James Napoli

They auto-corrected your name! Don't worry, I remember it starts with an R.

by James Napoli

Well met, Sibbitts!

by Guillermo

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