Mark and I have been friends for many years…we met for the first time in 1994. On some deeper level than I have with most, an immediate connection was made.
At the time I was in Albuquerque NM when he came through on a slideshow tour. The local shop that sponsored his event was a place I rented space from for my sewing, climbing shoe repair and guiding business. I was 24, running my own businesses to carve out enough to climb, travel, and adventure with limited restrictions. Mark and I shared not only a similar mountain spirit but a mindset for training and harnessing our full potential as an athlete. There are people and spirits you meet that are forever with you and forever change you, whether it is a split second connection or a deep and lifelong friendship often just knowing they are alive keeps a smile on your face and your heart happy.
Mark was traveling with a friend’s artwork. Many climbers and alpinists knew his name, Randy Rackliff, and that he created woodblock masterpieces. Mark took it upon himself to help Randy sell them, at the time Randy wasn’t inclined to put them out there much, or possibly thought that they weren't as amazing as they were. I loved his print “CHAINED” which is the image below, so I purchased it from Mark when he was in town. 22 years later this print hangs in my home office, I see it everyday. Not only will it always remind me of the day Mark and I met and the friendship that moment spawned but also it represents a deeper philosophy we share.
This image can represent a lot of things to a lot of people. That is the beauty of art. It is for the individual and the audience to appreciate and take away what they will, based on their own personal experiences. CHAINED reminds me that WE, are only “chained” by our own personal limitations and that to move forward we must “Break the Chains” that bind us; be it the chains that bind us due to fear, self doubt, discriminations, whatever the case to move forward, to live an exceptional life they must be broken and often more than once. This reflects my own personal and simple philosophy…Face your fears, they are the single thing that holds you back.
Wherever the world takes you MFT, break the chains and continue to be exceptional. I promise to do the same."