Monday, October 26, 2015

Dealers in Obscurity

Camera obscura

Dealers in Obscurity 

Dana Koogler 

Monday, October 26, 2015



      I admit to being a weirdo.  I gravitate toward other weirdos who share my proclivities.
I dearly love finding the little known stuff especially waterfalls.   It has its rewards and its frustrations.   Just about every off trail hiker or seeker of the harder to reach waterfalls has had
that conversation with other hikers or just other people about what you're looking for.  The instant
 their eyes glaze over you can tell you're beating a dead horse.  You know its pointless
to continue because they don't know, and can't help you.     It happens other ways too.  Perhaps 
an individual your chatting with has some knowledge of a place or a falls. They want to help you.
They are trying, but you figure out as the conversation continues they really don't know.

      What I didn't know was that there was yet another level to it.   I had grown accustomed to 
that type thing happening.  It did not bother me so much. I had grown to expect it. I already had a 
reputation as being a waterfall geek and weirdo so I wasn't losing much by launching into my spiel.
I remember after decades of nursing how it felt to realize that there were going to be times when scarily I was it.  Situations with patients that were so tricky that even the doctors would not quite know what to do. Situations where other nurses would try to fix something and strike out.   That was a frightening feeling in my professional life.  Hunting for waterfalls is a hobby, not a profession so 
it doesn't carry the heavy sense of foreboding that the other did.  Yet having experienced that feeling of "Ain't gonna be nobody else to help you. You're IT."  did at least prepare me to recognize it 
when it struck in world of my hobbies.
 Feeling around blindly in the dark 


Why Now? 

          I've lived with this for a time now so why just now write a blog entry about it?
Why bring it up?   A thread of discussion brought about by two friends is why.
Recently in hunting for South Shoal Creek Falls and chatting about it with Beth Bradshaw 
she suggested that I should mention it to someone ultra knowledgeable.   It was said as a form of
encouragement and help from her own struggles and tendencies to want to find the obscure!
It hit me like a bolt out of the blue. That lightning strike of "I'm IT!"  followed by the rumbling thundercloud of emotion and thought (Ain't no sense spending time mentioning it to so and so because they're gonna ignore me, tell me they don't know what I'm talking about, followed by blank stares) . My response was " I AM someone ultra-knowledgeable."  which is true.
A second discussion was with another dealer in obscurity.. Mike Gourley.   Hunter of waterfalls, chimneys, home sites, cemeteries, mountain peaks to boot.   We're on our way to hike and hunt
South Shoal Creek Falls.   I shared with him that it occurred to me that it changed things when you start hunting for ... and he finished my sentence.. the obscure.   The more obscure or out of the way, unknown something is the more you can expect to be one of the few or only who is aware of it.
It amplifies the challenge of locating it.      The thought that followed after that was this:
I'm going to have to stop relying on the waterfall hunters or dealers in the obscure for this one.
I need to increase my odds in finding this thing by talking to the folks who are local.  They don't know how out of the way it is or how desirable it is to me.
 The only way to G-E-T is to A-S-K.  
And that right there was what turned the key. 


            The dealer in obscurity.... the seeker of the thing so out of the way best prepare for that
sense of there being no resource because you are it.   AMFYOYO applies here. "Adios My Friend. You're On Your Own."     The best advice I can give you as you enter the realm is this. 
Decide to network with others.  I'm not talking about only other waterfall seekers either.
You can either sit on your hunt for whatever out of the way, hidden treasure..and struggle.. or you can decide to share information with other seekers and dealers in the obscurity and local folks who may know.  

            Sharing things with other dealers in obscurity means that you may help them and they end up helping you!        Remember too that local folks don't necessarily revere or remember 
some of the stuff they know about in the same fashion as the rest of us.   If they are not collectors of waterfalls but live near one they may know of it, been to it, and have set it aside in their minds as unimportant info.     My husband, father, hairdresser, all have known of my special love of waterfalls and known of places that I had not been. Yet it took decades for them to have it occur to them to share a place with me.  When people who know me well are like that.. How much more likely are complete strangers to be about the knowledge of waterfalls they possess?  Unless I directly ask them about it they will not know or share.  Sometimes even then they will not tell what they know because they just don't recollect at that precise moment.
Later they may remember something and tell it!

        Prepare for the frustrations of seeking and not finding.  Prepare for the elation of having things work out just right.     When it does go right........ take off and run with it.
Enjoy it. Wallow in it.   It doesn't happen often enough to ruin it.  

   I think the seeking, the struggle, the losing, the winning........ the entire experience
is worthwhile.  It makes you tougher than pig iron and weirder by the day!


Boys howdy... don't I know it.
**Case in point-- I talked to Kevin Adams this evening after posting this blog entry. He did NOT know of South Shoal Creek Falls until informed by me. ** 

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