December 01,2013


"Tales From Outside The Underbrush" is meant to succeed the monthly series of predecessor essays that were in effect, largely if not exclusively set inside "The Underbrush" of geological exploration and forestry, to a universe outside that specialized environment. This "outside world" is one where life is also lived and experienced, and though most often reflecting a different level of circumstance, is not necessarily suggestive of a higher level of civilized behaviour and experience nor a more intelligent reaction to such by the author; just different and outside the conventional underbrush. Hyperbole will continue to be employed for emphasis or effect, or just to avoid the boredom of straight fact or opinion. Reader reaction and comment is invited and welcomed if delivered in a civilized fashion.

This month's entry continues the tale.


"The world is made up of stories, not atoms."

Muriel Rukeyser

To all things good and bad, there is an ending; to the former often coming too soon, to the latter sometimes hanging around far too long, like a bad smell. It will be left to readers to make their own choices as to which might apply in this case, this case being an end to "Tales From The Underbrush." The material that comprised this book has been posted monthly on my blog since May 2008, a run of sixty-seven consecutive months. This does not mean there will be an end to this blog however, only that it will have a new beginning that will be less focused on one area of life once lived but no longer, namely that of geological exploration and forestry, and more on the generalities of another life lived and now being lived. In effect the essays will change from being "Tales From The Underbrush" to "Tales From Outside The Underbrush", which less than coincidentally will be the name of the new book going forward. And what of its content? Possibly that might follow some planned thematic rule of thumb no doubt to be frequently broken, but perhaps now summarized as the "Rule Of Five R's", namely involving rant, rave, ribaldry, reflection, or just plain recollection, all hopefully presented in an interesting and readable fashion.

In the meantime, this month's tale is not so much a tale as it is an essay of recollection, reflection and review.

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go."

E.L. Doctorow

"If you are going to make a book end badly, it must end badly from the beginning."

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894

Recollection and reflection, while seemingly similar, are in fact quite distinct in the mind of this writer. To merely recall or recollect is more a gesture of memory empty of material substance. On the other hand to reflect is both to recall and assess whether there was any meaning to the event, either at the time or subsequent to its occurrence. Such is what the writer has attempted to extract from within the context of "Tales From The Underbrush." Sometimes a formative period in life is not recognized to be such until it is passed and conscious thought given to its effects on a subsequent existence. As I look back through the Underbrush, I recognize that the experiences that underlay the tales were formative in making up the human I have become in my declining years. While such recognition will always be of value, it is unfortunate, in my case at least, that the value of that conscious recognition was not more apparent at the time that particular life was being lived and experienced. Such is the folly and ignorance of youth. Perhaps only by the repeated testing of challenges and the overcoming of obstacles thrown in one's life path, does that path become defined and can the journey along it be described in retrospect.

Thus, I have put to pen some reflections of my life and experiences in the mining exploration business; initially as an exploration and development geologist, later as a mining analyst in the investment industry and laterally as an officer of several mining exploration companies. There was also the occasional reminisces apropos of other experiences I have, well, experienced. These have also usually been of the "bush" variety but not always. Most were memorable, at least to me. I hope that has been transmitted to the reader.

The majority of these professional field experiences have taken place in the Canadian Shield areas of Canada but they also encompassed memories of my time as an exploration geologist in South America, where, as a geologist fresh out of graduate school, I spent three very formidable years in Ecuador, subsequently returning to Canada a much humbled and hopefully better if somewhat physically broken human being. As well, much professional time has been spent in in the British Columbia wilderness, plus northern Canada, Mexico, Australia and other parts of the world.

As with most memories that feature discomfort and hardship, they seem to age fairly gracefully with the passing years. The painful aspects, both physical and mental tend to give way to recollections of the positive or humorous aspects of the experiences. Much like the skills of the athlete I once was, the older I get the better I was………..at least in my own mind! In similar fashion, seemingly the worst the experiences, the softer are the memories.

Such are the pleasures of recollections and reflections. Tune in next month for the start of the beginning of a new ending.

"The palest ink is better than the best memory."

Chinese proverb

Copyright © 2013 Ian de W. Semple. All rights reserved.

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