Spiritual Adaptation to Higher Altitudes I (2017)

for Bb Clarinet and Vibraphone

Duration 6 mins.

(dedicated to Corey Mackey and Keith Lienert)

I was introduced to rockclimbing by accident years ago, when my children were involved with a progressive highschool that encouraged them to explore outdoor skill courses as part of their development.  I was allured by the solo adventure of the climb, the management of ropes and the feel of the rock under my  feet and fingers. Then, there was the fear of heights that could take your breath away when you were exposed to the vast openess below you and the feeling that you were really not supposed to be this high off the ground.  And when the wind blows and you watch an eagle or hawk drift by, perfectly comfortable souring at these heights, you realize the importance of mind control in making your ascent.  Over the years, I have gained more mental discipine while climbing and my spirit has been strengthened by the visual experience of these  broad and deep horizons.   The poet  Diana Syder said it well in her poem The Mountaineer:  “From this height it’s safe to scan the earth for bigger things.  The climbs of life are its meaning.”  WN