As I go on day after day head strong into one challenge after another. I carry a piece of freedom and hard-earned confidence. I carry a piece of the Tooth of Time in my heart. As I watch the old stalwarts of our economy crumble. As I plan for the future with every seed I sow and tend. As uncertainty for many grows like a dust storm from the 1930’s. I have every confidence that this country can and will bounce back, indeed the whole world. At fifteen I climbed this mountain, charted a path with a compass, and felt strong as a man. It was slow going at first, until I learned my stride. Confidence is not a trait you are born with, it is one you earn. Over the hundred and thirty odd miles, I learned to really hike. I discovered my love for nature and panning for gold. I set my confidence, my sense of self, and my awareness of my world in those winding switchbacks. Eagles screeching and echoing in the bright Navaho skies and bears playing on the ridges below. As I reached the summit tired and sweat crystallizing on my hair, an awesome sight caught my breath. I was nose to nose with the largest mule deer I have ever seen. (No hunting allowed here) He decided he needed a human salt lick. In those huge brown eyes I felt no fear as he licked away. Stunned in silence I took my licking and felt the coarse fur of his neck. After awhile he moved on to the next arrival. Life has my twists and turns. I will always carry a piece of the Tooth of Time in my heart. Do not be afraid to take the path uncharted.
- Re-elect Philmont’s Tooth of Time Traders (scoutingmagazine.org)