I wanted to write. I wanted to put a piece together, and combine it with my own photos in a way that would leave readers thrilled to have taken part, excited and hopefully awed by a tale of adventure and excitement. In considering the stories of my own life, however, I felt that I couldn't assemble such a piece without building it on a foundation of blatant self aggrandizment. Instead, I felt I needed to write this tale of a grand adventuresome life from a different perspective: a story of another adventurer who shares the same unbound spirit of freedom. From there it was a simple step to strike upon my subject, and after far too much time, the bits and pieces collected on scraps of paper, e-mails, and mental memorization have finally come together in one place for all to see. Without further ado, I give you:
101 Places Kelsey Gray Has Been
1: Showing Off In Camp
Achievements of a man can be intense
And leave a long impression deep within,
But what leaves just as great an impact is
To see the ones who try to copy him.
2. Body Surfing a Shining Sea
When someone who lived with us many long weeks,
And shared in our passions, our famines and feasts,
Is forced to depart 'ere the journey is made,
And fly to the West leaving us in the East,
Are we to be mourning adventuresome days,
And missing in sorrow our comrade in ways?
Forget it! We'll head to the south, to the beach!
Enough about Jessica, here comes a wave!
3. Avoiding the Bite of the Cobra
I own a good book, it's at home on my desk,
Its title is "Snakes of the 'Merican Southwest."
But though I've perused every page with great care,
I've never been able to find THIS one there!
4. Cleaning Up the Cluster
We've four routes behind us, and here comes the rain,
A drizzle that forms little streams down the rock.
There's ten more to go and we'll do it in pain,
Drenched all the way to our socks.
We've put ourselves here, so we might as well 'scend,
In spite of the dripping and steaming and soak;
Just rig the belay and I'll climb the five-ten,
As soon as I've sorted the rope.
5. Walking A Very Thin Line
When "Life on the Edge" is literal
- And it is in many a case -
A scenery view is a different thing
Than it is to a life at the base.
6. Looking Down From the Rooftops
I'm looking for a partner in
a venture I propose
Which will lead us to exotic lands, and
get us foreign clothes.
We'll learn to eat some different meats;
We may go hungry too,
We'll walk the roads in sandals after
we wear out our shoes.
The sea we'll see, and mountains too,
and animals, and streams,
And time will not affect us in our life
made out of dreams.
There's room for one, I'm looking now
as far as I can see;
A million people in my eyes
and all I've found is me.
7. Fixing a Broken Window
The opportunity came
Some midnight while we slept:
Nocturnal villain smashed the sill,
Where all of our things were kept.
Undaunted, on we went
Without expending a cent.
Despite the bust, with character plus,
We christened the Hing Marin.
8. Riding the El Train
And all around they move;
Processions of society in bustling horde surrounding me.
A booming cacophony shaking the ground of voices and cell
phones and walking around.
Now add a breeze and headlight from the emptiness at left,
And the horde around me pushes to the limits of their shelf,
And the moment doors are open it's an unrepentant motion
Pushing on relentless forward with priority to self!
Then a last and final warning "doors are closing, thanks
And a quick acceleration leads away the mass of man, and -
9. Reading the Guidebook
This I can climb - but that one I can't
And prospects for these three are gray,
But the worst that can happen, whatever I chance,
Is I sit on the beach for the day.
10. Studying Local Fauna
"Come out, and greet the day,
I want to know you well." "
Forget it, I'm not interested,
no matter what you sell."
11. Confronting a Dinosaur
Regarding your claws and magnificent size,
And such gigantic teeth,
I'm certain my eyes would be ten inches wide,
If you were hunting ME.
12. Finding the Way in the Dark
There was a bold adventurer set out to climb a route.
At midnight on a Christmas Eve he boldly ventured out.
He hasn't found a Santa Claus, or gifts beneath the trees,
He'll be hard pressed to find the route, with snow up past his knees!
13. Waiting For the Soup to Boil
If I had a clock I could set it.
And then walk away and forget it.
Alarming and ringing would quickly be bringing
Me round again hungry and ready.
If I had a baker of bread,
I COULD be still in my bed,
He'd give me a call when my breakfast was all
Done and ready, and then I'd be fed.
But I'm huddled in early dawn chill,
With neither of these at my will,
It's probably queer, but I'd rather be here,
Than anywhere else in the world.
14. At the End of His Rope
Now upside-down and hanging there,
Now swiftly swinging low,
And back into the sky again,
As high as he can go!
A vacillating pendulum
Of happiness that shouts,
Expressing loud to all around
The joy that's bursting out!
15. About to Eat It
For some of us balance is swift to obtain,
And some of us have to earn it.
Some of us rise most quickly to fame,
And some of us crash and burn it.
Some of us stand to our feet and go far,
With never a struggle that shows,
And some of us falter and hit the ice hard,
Coming up covered in snow!
16. Crawling Through A Lava Tube
When a fellow meets a fellow
In the middle of the ground,
You can hold it almost certain
That someone must turn around,
And giving way retreat until
A spacious cavern's found...
It helps prevent the awkwardness
There is in going round
Within the limitations when you're
So far down.
17. Looking Far and Wide
I wonder if you've seen it, maybe it's been here today,
I think I've seen a footprint here or there along the way.
I'll give you a description, sir, and please if you should chance
Discover its location, bring me word of it, and fast!
It's kind of big and shaped a bit like curiosity,
And carries dust from everywhere upon its happy feet.
Its eyes are sort of wandering, like hunger, or a doubt,
And colored like a discontent in streaks from pupil-out.
You'll find it eating anything it never has before,
With teeth that turn the something-new into an awful bore.
It has a twist of happiness in either limber arm,
But in its presence, luckily, you're never safe from harm.
I'm looking for it here because I saw it come this way,
When I was chasing it across the dunes the other day,
If you know where to find it I'll be sure you get your share.
I'm looking for adventure, and I think it's over there!
18. Sitting on A Picasso
Nobody knows what it is,
And everyone wonders why.
But we went there to the city square,
And saw it, for who it was by.
19. Paying Exact Change
One, two, three, four,
Eleventy-twenty and twelve
That's right, I've got the cash in hand,
To pay for a brand new dell.
20. Living a Lifelong Dream
In life there's far too many things
that only exist in dreams,
And items written line by line
that wait 'til we get the time.
These things are all within our grasp,
but only by taking the chance
Will ever the lists be merged to one
of things that we've said AND done!
21. Getting Very, Very High
I can see the curve of the earth from here
And the thinness affecting the atmosphere
Is leaving me feeling a little bit queer
But certainly empty of frowns.
I'd love to stay on the summit for hours!
For now, the top of the world is ours,
But threatening yonder are thundering showers,
Which means we'd better go down.
We'll be on the road by the end of the day,
Going onward again, to somewhere away
From the summit we've left in the drizzling rain,
And somehow I like how that sounds.
22. Satisfying A Wicked Thirst
Raise up your thermos', blue-collared men,
and drink to the thirst of our work!
For the labor we've done underneath a hot sun,
and the headache and toil and hurt.
For the load that's diminished by work that we've
finished. Payday is coming, just think!
The money we seek, by the end of the week, so
raise 'em up high, and drink!
23. Standing on the Summit
The peak of a mountain is high as it goes,
Attractive and beckoning those who would know
The way to the summit up toilsome slopes,
And what do they find at the top?
It's always the same in a mountainous range,
After climbing and climbing, the summit to gain ,
And reaching the peak; the vision proclaims
There's a higher one, right over there!
24. Halfway Up the Route
Crimp, jug, stem, jam,
Dyno a short little hop.
Living is best on the sides of the cliff,
It ends when we get to the top.
25. Taking Pictures in Complete Darkness
Consider a column of calcified crud
Chronologic'ly older than Christ
Actively added up atom by atom
Aeons afore any life
Very voluminous at the first view
Of Eve, the very first wife.
Evolving in emptiness for eager eyes
To enjoy if there ever were light!
26. Letting Go of Something Beautiful
Fly away into the sunset free
Without a bond or care, and happily
I will stay behind and wait and see
Whether you'll return again to me.
27. Harassing the Wildlife
I'm sorry to disturb you,
but I must investigate,
I've never seen your kind before
in such a close-up way.
Your scales and their patterns and
your movements I admire
And much respect I hold for your
I'd love to hear your trademark,
but I guess I'll have to wait.
For now, until we meet again,
goodbye, young rattlesnake.
28. Underground on A Bamboo Ladder
I know that men have gone before
And built an easy way
But still it feels adventuresome
"Exploring" in the caves.
29. At the Very Tip-Top of the World
Nature is an artist and He uses every style
To express His hidden mysteries to those who look awhile.
His palette is a varied one including all the seven;
And His canvas is extensive reaching from the Sea to Heaven.
His pieces decorate the walls which He Himself has made,
And carving down or building up to Him are much the same.
The music of the birds is His, a melody that flies,
And ripping thunderbolts as well, a noise that shakes the skies.
He authors also, lesser known, a certain kind of verse,
Which echoes loud in harmony to those who read the Earth.
Ancient is His art, and sure there's some that we can ape
But His originality we'll never imitate.
30. Flat on His Back
I wouldn't be laughing quite so loud,
You might have done it too!
Anybody might have gone
And blown the second move.