When I moved to Boise, ID after living in the California mountains where I founded an International Film Festival, the high desert was a new environment. I was used to San Francisco for an urban environment and the mountains with a 14,100 mountain surrounded by high trees and green trails.

Moving here and not knowing anyone, the first thing I did was join a dog hiking group which hiked the many trails into the foothills above Boise. The leader of the group knew zillions of the vast amount of trails. It was winter and the snow here is so light compared to Mount Shasta they should call it sorbet not snow. The hikes were great.

It is summer and in the 90's almost everyday. I can't complain when my buddy tells me about the humidity in N. Carolina. I remember visiting my folks in Florida and the instant sauna like sweat dripping from humidity. Here it is a hot, flat sun that bakes bread in the streets.

Yesterday I took Ruby my loving and beautiful golden retriever for an early morning hike to beat the heat. We went above a trail I love in springtime because it meanders with a creek and my water loving dog splashes in and out while joggers, and bikers share the trail.

But this time I started above the trail and hiked down desert mountains always looking for rattle snakes. Ruby was born in the mountains and taught how to hike, swim, love snow by her late big brother my first reddish golden. She ran and jumped as I slowly traversed down. We got to the trail and walked a few miles. The water was gone, yet she found a drop to dip her feet in. After our walk we climbed up the mountain filled with these stickers. We climbed and climbed trying to get back to the dirt road where the jeep was parked. Halfway up one hill my heart pounded like an African drum and was about to fall out of my chest. I was so tired all I could do was sit down and take a breath. Ruby saw me sink down and came and put her head on my lap and did a low whine because she was worried. I petted her and just took slow regular breaths and meditated on my predicament.

The only choice I had was to get up and keep going. Before getting up and climbing it was important to rest and reflect. I realized when I was young there was a deliberate need for a challenge. I went by myself for six months to Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In Peru I lived with Native Indians high up in the mountains. In Bolivia I went into the jungles to test myself and slept alone where I could have disappeared.

This felt like my test. It was a metaphor for the rejections and difficulty I am having getting start up funds to create a wonderful Boise International Film Festival. I am tired from meeting so many people who have no tangible help because of the cautious nature of this city and state. 

Right now life is difficult in so many ways. Politically the poor deal with the cruelty of no health care while Republican rural hospitals go broke because of ideology in a bad box. The world is blowing itself up. Getting a decent paying job is a hike on a mountain. And most important the brain training for empathy and kindness are replaced by linear computerese and a love for technology over the touch of a loved one's cheek.. Whew. Everyone I know and meet are challenged and some of us don't keep going one foot at a time when it gets rough.

So I say stop reading everyone's recipe for success and when it gets really tough just sit and breath and reflect. A simple challenge. Beautiful music in the background or quiet and sit and let it go. Then when you are ready get up and move forward.