Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter like that can change your life...

Misty damp night lingers through Botetourt. Molly purrs on the bed next to my ear. I'm sitting in the laundry basket full of dirty clothes under my window. I open it; immediate access to what high school friends call my "fairytale world". The darkness is warmer than you might imagine. Horses beat heavy hoofs against a landscape covered in ice. Amanda meows in the hallway. I let her in the room too. The cats have lived together more than eight years and don't like each other. They live outside, but I let them both in the house, and my room (I'm a sucker). It's impressive really- for not liking each other they manage to purr in unison; Molly now on the carpet below my laundry basket, Amanda in my right ear. Appalachian night to my left.
One of the things I love most about my bed is that I can lay on my back and see the stars. Moon and star gazing is crucial to me and in the winter that view from the comfort of a queen size pillow-top mattress is next to unbeatable... until I open this box of a house to the great outdoors.
Most of my October was spent in the smoke and haze of damp southern Appalachia. Tonight is like those days and nights on the trail.
Poor Virginia.
Botetourt has made futile attempts to represent our season. The winter weather advisories local news anchors have fretted over have only manifested to this so far - less than an inch of ice. No snow since I got off the AT near Bland.
Another manifestation: no cars on the road. A few halogen windows glow from neighbors' plots. There is no speed. There is no agenda. Etzler has slowed to a foot and sleep pace. Glen's horses run and I think about Grayson's wild ponies.
Acoustic twinges out of laptop speakers, songs from a brief affair summer 2006. I think about beating my heart soul and body up and down stairs; four flights of Brazilian Mission. Thirteen? fifteen? times up and down. I remember the music, tears, and longing more than the count. "Is it wrong to not hold on if nothing ever lasts?" my speakers ask.
I lost my passport, and consequently my five year Brazilian visa when I moved out of Allendale. I need to replace it, life without a passport is just not how I want to live =)
This time last year I bathed in a 1920's porcelain tub to counter act the cold of an apartment without heat. I miss that bathtub more than the tiny kitchen where you couldn't open a cupboard, oven, fridge, or backdoor at the same time. I miss it more than the fan that brought Geverstraminer into my life, more than oreos/ Sex and the City/ couch time with Ang.
The chill slick coating slightly shimmering under night's mist brings me back to the ice storm at Emory and Henry freshman year of college. Campus power crashed, and my group of friends skated down 1800 brick sidewalks to the waterhouse to celebrate the first cancellation of classes since Pearl Harbor.
Ice. Glisten. Silent night...
Point? there isn't much of one. Just thoughts.
But I'm wondering, remembering, how much these states of water shape the memories replaying on the midnight of my mind.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

'I Galapa. I magic-man. I wizard-man! I sing you to me.'

I took a position as interim youth director January 8. The pay is small, transition rocky, and self-questioning immense. I've had two official meetings with a group of 4or less high school students.
The pastor of this church calls my life, the AT, shoot probably everything I'm about right now my "walkabout". Those of you who saw Australia know where I'm going with this. Those of you who haven't- should. (see the movie that is). Humor me. Google it. Wikipedia will tell you
Walkabout refers to a rite of passage where Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months.[1] In this practice they would trace the paths, or "songlines", that their people's ceremonial ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds. Merriam-Webster, however, defines the noun as a 1908 coinage that refers primarily to "a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work", with the only mention of "spiritual journey" coming in a usage example from a latter-day travel writer.
He never says hike, walk, AT, journey. He says walkabout. He doesn't dwell on my unassuredness of what life may bring the next hours, days, weeks, months. He seems amused, and perhaps in a small way, delighted.
Sometimes I wonder if God has revealed something to him I've been left out of the loop on.
I read something in my Esther bible study today. I was sitting in a comfy arm chair in the church lobby. It was after I spilt my "choffee" all over everything, before a church member cornered me with another idea/ task. Beth Moore basically said the Devil takes delight in replacing our potential for joy and content with stress and worry.
Light bulb.
Let's save you and me both from the wordiness of fleshing out details of applying this to my life. Sufficient to say I've been hugely stressed and barely joyful lately.
A day away from the house afforded me fresh perspective on a full but hungry plate I juggle : youth director, freelanced wrestling pictures, studding Geronimo, census tests, Glacier Institute, Center for Structural & Functional Neuroscience Program Coord.
Lonely, but eyes starry I've made it through another day.
Somehow I am sick of AT lingo, sick of wanting and not knowing, sick of feeling sad.
Hike your own hike?
or just... walkabout.

~ some of you no doubt have opinions as to what I should do with the remaining 440 miles of my AT journey. some of you find me edgy about this topic.One of my favorite restaurants in Missoula is Food For Thought.~ Consider:

It's not that we're scared
It's just that it's delicate

So why do you fill my sorrow
With the words you've borrowed
From the only place you've know
And why do you sing Hallelujah
If it means nothing to you
Why do you sing with me at all?

We might live like never before
When there's nothing to give
Well how can we ask for more
We might make love in some sacred place
The look on your face is delicate

So why do you fill my sorrow
With the words you've borrowed
From the only place you've know
And why do you sing Hallelujah
If it means nothing to you
Why do you sing with me at all?
(DR lyrics)

Sometimes walkabout spans something larger than you intended it. Rivers wind. I'm just flowing.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Left Behind

I'm sitting on my Grandmother's couch drinking tea. The tea-before-bed-thing started my last summer at Alta Mons. With cicadas, friends, bobcats, and a hint of romance in the damp Appalachian night, tea was the claire de lune of the day. This couch sat in at least three of my grandmother's houses I can think of. The house has sold, she's passed on; a sleeper sofa, birthstone ring, and more memories than I can count are left to me.

Life twists and turns in ways we never imagine. Going through my bible study on Esther tonight I found myself amazed at Persian custom and wondering what she did during her "one night with the king" to "find favor in his eyes". It was hard for me not to think about the obvious implications of this sleep over. My bible study asks me to write a paragraph in Esther's diary after her first day as queen, feasts in her honor, and being tucked in by a maidservant... I scribble "how did my life come to this? what now?"

I read it back to myself- realizing I'm not writing in Esther's diary, maybe I'm just writing in my own.

I wonder if I'd read the story different if I didn't feel estranged spiritually. I wonder if I'd read the story different if I was coming from a wholesome romantic background. Last week's major point (for me anyway) "you cannot amputate your past from your purpose". As Low would say - food for thought- I'll help with the dishes (although I'm still not sure what that last part means).

I've found a couple of promising job opportunities this week. My bank account grows hungrier and bleaker and I try to fight the urge of depressed acceptance of my current circumstances.

Phew. I wrapped up the fourth out of five days of bible study homework. I flip through scripture instead of calling someone I love who will not find me.
Tea, I think.
I drink, hold, smell a comfort and wholesomeness of a once vibrant moving yet steadfast life. I wonder if God will use these mementos of a life left behind as instruments I always needed to fulfill my purpose. Curious about the orphan exile he made a queen, do I ask or hope I get a glorious transformation too.


For now- the best thing I can come up with is to drink tea. Perhaps the rest falls into place?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


To those of you who actually read this:
Thanks for caring and believing in me. Your thoughts and support are strength and comfort.
Two jobs have been applied to, more are in the works...
I'm jamming out to Ryan Adams thinking
I ADORE the harmonica

Life turns out alright if you paddle when you need to, right?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Balance Games

Dark blue-grey clouds patch work themselves over a diffused sun. I hear the heat wave is coming to a close and by this evening rain and sleet will settle in. I'm in a wicker rocking chair on a wrap around front porch. Grey paint chips from the boards beneath my feet, Geronimo and Heidi sniff around the yard. A chill sets deeper than my middle school gym shorts and high school track sweatshirt have protected me against. The air is moist.

I listen to Lauryn Hill; because I need to get my groove back and it reminds me of Camp Brown Bag. In Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey builds an outdoor living space beside his park service house trailer. I'm brainstorming constructing a similar structure here. Life at this house is safe, comfortable, and full of the latest greatest modern distractions... I mean.. conveniences. Memories, dreams, desires of a life of travel and exploration float to the pinnacle of my consciousness like a bloated body thrown overboard.

More time than I can justify has been spent in front of some variety of LCD screen; job hunting, Wii Fit, Email, TV. The most redeeming factor of this intermission of quiet financially grueling restlessness has been the time I've spent with my family. I try not to think much about them returning to their jobs, schooling, normal life after the holiday. Mostly because this holiday has become my normal life.

Even too much of a good thing can be harmful? Even water, my Dad says. Even a holiday, I say. My goal for the week: find and apply to a handful of jobs I'm very serious about and interested in. My goal was to winter in Botetourt, return to the AT (Fontana-Daleville)) in the spring, head west by the end of May. If I don't find enough work in the next few months an AT return will not happen in 2009. College is spent working towards graduation. Post college I've spent working towards the AT. The next chapter is turning, and I've GOT to find a goal to propel forward motion. My eddy out has become stagnant. Where's the current?

If only finding life and inner balance was as straight forward as Wii Fit Balance Games.