Of Souls + Water: The Elder

Longevity like youth is wasted on the young. But the staying power of our seniors gives hope to those of us who aim to remain active long into the twilight of our final days. In the latest edition of the film series Of Souls + Water director Skip Armstrong offers up a compelling vision of a bright future in the last installment called The Elder.

“How do you want to be remembered when this life joins the wind?” the filmmakers ask in the opening frames. “What did you leave, in the chasms, upon these lives, young & curious? What did you write? What dust in the rain, sand in the rivers?”

We also might ask ourselves, what is our legacy for our time spent traveling across the Earth? River guide Rob Elliot has paddled his way through the Grand Canyon more than 200 times. And though the fact of that says nothing of his character it may be safe to assume that a life spent sharing the wonders of this most ancient section of the Colorado River was likely worthwhile. Fleeting images of Elliot, age 68, as he paddles with strength and verve through Armstrong’s film reveal the life that awaits us in later years as we pursue our passions without fear or hesitation.

What the Elder lacks in action the film makes up for in anticipation. Though few scenes are heart stopping, most are thought provoking providing a glimpse into our own future. Where other films in the series encouraged viewers to chase their dreams, the Elder shows us the promise upon awaking, to realize so late in life that we truly lived.


The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the support sponsors Patagonia, Rayovac and the New Belgium Brewing Company

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.