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Cal Smith

(he/ him/his)

New truths in what I see before me

To fully know myself and who I am has become an ever-ending mission. Seeking answers to my questions about life, the world, even my relationships with others, the best results have come in the mountains.

Never once have I found words inscribed on granite or a message from above in the clouds; rather, I am amplified internally. My understanding and interpretation of my Indigeneity grow, I walk a bit more proud and confidently and, being sociable is briefly, easier. Though when I do not achieve what I set out for, the negative is amplified. Doubt in the movement of terrain, I question what I am doing with my life. Certainly, the negative amplification is more fleeting than the positive, as you cannot have one without the other.

This I know to be true.

But what if we approach such places, the mountains, nature, etc. without intentions of accomplishment, rather growth? I cannot deny I love ‘growth’ through masochistic endurance efforts but there is not much more truth to be found there for me. Miles 42 and 24 have felt quite similarly, but what about outings with others? Even yet, what about with other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color? Now there is something for me to learn and teach with them forever.

This I know to be true.

To fully know myself and who I am is still a never-ending story though it grows more clear, especially with any journey in the mountains. I will always love pursuits of athletic endeavors which are undeniably selfish; though, who am I without my community? To have the ability to perform alone is an achievement to me, but to thrive and live with my people, is to be fulfilled.

- Cal Smith, Verascapes Advisory Board

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