On waiting and embracing: a somewhat apologetic return from a lengthy hiatus

At times it is folly to hasten; at other times, to delay. The wise do everything in its proper time.
– Ovid

Golden aspens near Buena Vista, CO.
Golden aspens near Buena Vista, CO.

More than six months have passed since we moved to Colorado and, regrettably, since I last wrote here. My extended silence has certainly not been for lack of inspiration; here we are surrounded by indescribable beauty, settled in the eastern shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Endless jagged peaks rise to the west as a seemingly impenetrable fortress of granite, snow, and ice. Aspen groves scatter like boneyards, their golden leaves long abandoned by the frigid night. Rivers, half frozen, wind tortuously through hidden valleys and intimidating gorges. From these mountains, the eastern landscape spills forth almost as an afterthought. Foothills kicking at flatlands. Waist-high grasses rolling in the wind like waves on a golden ocean. The eastern horizon interminably flat and unremarkable, save for a jumble of urban monoliths protesting the impending monotony. Beyond, innumerable fields of sunflowers, wheat, corn, and soy, waiting patiently for spring. The Great Plains, expansive and uninviting like the southwest deserts from whence we came. Continue reading


A fond farewell to New Mexico

IMG_20140517_232220A week from today I will be arriving in Colorado. A different home in different surroundings. New jobs and new friends. A continuation of what we’ve built, but also a fresh start.

Many people have asked me if I will be sad to leave New Mexico. The answer is yes and no.

For me, there is always a sort of bittersweet goodbye when I leave a place, not knowing if or when I will return, and also knowing that if I ever do return the place will not be the same. Places have a life of their own. Much like the living things that inhabit them, places are constantly changing. Cities grow, businesses fold, buildings decay, and entire neighborhoods are “revitalized” beyond recognition. Landscapes shift and transform, always under the slow erosion of wind, water, and time.

As Heraclitus wisely pointed out, you cannot enter the same river twice – next time it will not be the same river and you will not be the same person. Continue reading

Addressing the void

IMG_20140322_122047It has been quite a while since my last post. While I could enumerate the reasons for this, it’s unnecessary. The gist of it is: plans change.

It’s amazing how fluid life can be if you let it. One can easily lose sight of the peripherary when the blinders are on; make plans, lock them in, and stay the course no matter what might arise. This, in my view, is a difficult way to exist, always in opposition to the continual shifts in our surroundings, our options, and our future.

Things are always changing. We are always changing. Always. Continue reading

A slow shift toward the Long Road

Our house full of stuff.
Our house full of stuff.

Any goal worth pursuing requires preparation. And so it is with our impending PanAm adventure.

We are slowly shifting the very structure of our lives. This is easier said than done. We often don’t realize in this country how entrenched we really are.

We have a house full of stuff: unused golf clubs languishing in the garage, boxes of art supplies, box fans, piles of books, seven years of tax records, extra dog collars, a bin of orphaned cables and cords, a veritable jungle of houseplants… you get the idea. It just piles up in the course of everyday living. We hardly even notice its accumulation until we attempt to downsize. In America, having so much stuff is normal. In fact, we probably have less stuff than most. We will get a storage unit for the few sentimental items we don’t want to part with, and the rest will be redistributed via moving sale next summer.

There are the other trappings of modern American life that weigh us down, too, like the complex web of financial obligations we all create for ourselves: bill pays, bank accounts, credit lines, contracts, mortgages, student loans, and retirement accounts. Much of this is already sorted out, and it will be quite nice indeed to simplify our financial landscape. Continue reading

Now is the time: overland plans for 2014

The monastery in Arequipa, Peru.
The monastery in Arequipa, Peru.

It’s amazing sometimes how quickly plans can change. A month ago I was planning to attend graduate school next fall after taking 7-8 months to drive around North America with our trailer. I was excited to graduate this December, and thankful to have a period of flexibility before starting my MFA program.

But, thanks to university bureaucracy, I found out recently that I will not be graduating in December, and will instead be tethered to New Mexico until May. Needless to say, this discovery was more than a little irritating. In fact, it gave rise to a full-blown Hate Train, which then gave rise again to The Conundrum (see previous post). This, in turn, inspired our new and more awesome plan.

And we couldn’t be more excited about this unexpected change.

Continue reading

The Conundrum: creating meaning from chaos

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
— Oscar Wilde

Footprints in thedust.
Footprints in the dust.

Sometimes, when my mind is idle or the weather is grey, when I am overwhelmed with my growing to-do list or discouraged by bad news, I struggle with what I fondly refer to as The Conundrum.

The Conundrum never goes away; it cannot be resolved, nor can I be effectively consoled about its omnipresence. The Conundrum is, in my view of the world, an incontrovertible fact. It is rooted in solid logic and, being an intensely rational individual (often to a fault), I cannot escape it. It is the whispering in my ear, the tugging at my sleeve, the devil dancing in the details. The Conundrum is always there.

We all stumble through life in our own ways, along our own paths. We may all be in search of the same things—happiness, love, freedom from suffering, security—but we all take a different approach in pursuit of these things. I’ve watched my few longtime girlfriends take wildly divergent paths in the past decade: one is a married stay-at-home mom in suburbia; one has a kid and a partner, but works full-time in manufacturing; one lives in her car and repairs wind turbines across the country when she’s not making music; and one got married and lives with her in-laws in England. And then there’s me. Continue reading

It’s time (again): summer travel 2013

The view from the top of Cathedral, Tuolumne Meadows, during my 2011 western road trip.
The view from the top of Cathedral, Tuolumne Meadows, during my 2011 western road trip.

I won’t lie. I have itchy feet pretty much all the time. When I’m not traveling, I’m probably thinking about my next trip, which now is imminent. Hence, time for a post!

As an adult university student, I am acutely aware of the rarity of extended free time in the “real world,” and I am amazed that more students don’t capitalize on their annual summer hiatus. Maybe it’s because they’re all so broke and in debt they can’t afford to go anywhere. Financial stability — yet another benefit of being a 30-year-old college student instead of a 20-year-old.

Anyway, this is my final summer before graduation. I’m going to make the most of it, of course. Continue reading