Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Low says to me from Massachusetts "I hope you are aware of how crazy your life will be starting Saturday until at least the end of August" ... I smile from a warm early spring evening 14 hours south in Virginia. Yeah, I know, I think I'm ready.
Hot Cheese is in Mass too. I am becoming increasingly cognisant of the fact that a core group of supportive adventure partners are from or living in Mass. I remember my original smitten ness with Henry David Thoreau... and start to think... hey... maybe I should live near Mass one day. Anyways Hot Cheese tells me she's proud of my decisions and would probably make similar ones if she went back 5, 10 years with hindsight. I remind her of where her path has led her, how awesome her new husband Birdbath is, and we decide on the thought that each person's path leads them just where it ought.
During a campfire worship circle with my high school age youth group I talked about timing and paths. There have been many moments, opportunities, and relationships in my life that have seemed right... if only the timing was better. It hit me Thursday how right all of this is, what Bones and Low have known all winter... Tom Dunford (my great friend and trail Angel from Burkes Garden) was driving Luke, me, and Geronimo to where I skied off the trail in November. I watched in careful awe at the greening landscape springing, winding before me. Rain drizzled, the road twisted. When last on this road it was dark and snowy out the windows of Fischa's Volvo. Some very loud classical music billowed from a symphony through his car speakers. I emerged from my thoughts and daydreams with familiar love and recognition - he was playing Claire de Lune - my favorite song of all time.
I ardently believe God plants seeds and whether we participate or not, ,finds a way to nurture them. How was I to know back in November when checking my blog after my AT withdrawal Tom would see that song, remember it, and use it. I believe in signs. I think everyone needs sources or encouragement. As last week unfolded with Claire de Lune, a rainy 8 mile night hike very reminiscent of my Katahdin descent, 12 miles the next day in five hours... clouds dispersing through the valley in much the same way as my last days in North Carolina, the clouds distorting the truth and being of my life also seemed to disperse, and lift.
It is spring. The days will only get longer. The Earth will only get warmer. And you, you, will do what you were always going to do - spend a year journeying through yourself and Appalachia. Seek companions and your God. Return, return to Montana.
Am I prepared? Am I ready?
My heart and head cartwheel. But Low and Bones don't...apparently they've known all of this all along, and while I've been stressed in a darkened existence, like an ostrich with my head in the sand, since November they have been anxiously and excitedly awaiting this season.
It isn't Springer Fever.
It's just Spring, perhaps a fever, and like the Christopher Walken SNL sketch... the only prescription is more cowbell.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I obsessively check my phone, email etc to hear from people. Perhaps this is a nervous habit developed from a winter of waiting for life to paddle out of my eddy and into the current. It seems even now, as the current slowly picks up and river swells I am still in search mode. Is it excitement? habit? addiction? Perhaps somewhere in between.
I am trying as best I can to savor my last remnants of winter around Daleville. I have been spending as much time as humanly feasible with friends, family, working, and getting my stuff together for- the leaving.
The best possible way I can explain this anticipation is cartwheels. At any given moment almost every day I feel it absolutely necessary and appropriate to throw my arms up, tumble towards the ground, kick my feet over my head, and land right side up... blood rushing from myhead back to my feet. To prove my world can go upside down and land right side up? Because I've always loved that song by the Pixies "with your feet in the air and your head on the ground" ? Or because my Alice in Wonderland fetish draws me toward a world full of cheshire cat like nonsense? I don't know... but cartwheels... that's just what I'm working with =)
Last week I had a great portrait session with a high school senior, returned to the spot of my snowy Nov AT exit, and introduced my youth group to Alta Mons. A really great week overall, and an exciting preview for the adventures to come starting Saturday.
I don't have a lot to say right now, but just wanted to update that Bound has warmed up, and is getting mark, set, GO for Spring / Summer Epic ness!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Window- OPEN

Winter and directionless has finally broke!

April 4 return to Fontana Dam, walk north on the AT to Damascus, drive to Bland, walk to Daleville by
May 15 Trailaversary (day I started this whole journey 2008)
May 16ish Trail Days in Damascus VA with many close friends from my Daleville-Katahdin stretch, including Low and Bones!!! just in time to grab Bones and
May 18 ish start the epic westward drive to Montana (with a few stops in between naturally)
May 29- end o August Work and live in Glacier National Park for the Glacier Institute Field Camp

Only two huge questions linger:
Who will keep Geronimo May 29- late August?
Where will I work after Glacier Institute?

Many thanks to all of you for your constant love support and prayers (especailly my extended family, The Botetourt Commons community, and my PENMAR FAMILY!!!). If you have suggestions as to the answer of my lingering questions ideas are mucho appreciated!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Time seems shifting to those who are waiting. As my life has little structure or markers right now I have little reference to what makes a day, a week, a month. This isn't new, walking the Appalachian Trail morphs time too, but in a more grounded biological way. Here lately moments linger in my mind.
I have had two brilliant interviews with two amazing companies in Montana for summer positions since January. I have job searched nearly every day since I November withdrawal from the AT. Sometimes I search for immediate jobs in Virginia, sometimes I search for more long term positions in Montana. I comb classifieds, environmental job boards, informational newsletters, searching, wanting, waiting on something.
These two positions are the best I've found. Both in western Montana, a place my heart has ardently longed for since this summer. It's funny, sometimes you just want things, other times you have innate gut feeling that IS what's to be. It's not to say I am tired or resentful of Virginia. I have and always will love it here.
I spent the afternoon walking brick sidewalks laid before William Clark journeyed down the Missouri River with my best childhood friend (walking w my friend, sorry to say she didn't kick it w WC). We laughed about past and present while swinging at an elementary school playground. Afterwards we piled in my car to get the best Sno Cones in the universe, only to find the Sno Shack closed, and settle for iced coffee and a smoothie from the new doughnut shack. Yesterday I met another life long friend in the middle of a country road both on our bikes, she left her parents, I left mine, we met in the middle 'neath that old Georgia pine... (that's a song reference we didn't really meet under a pine, but nonetheless once together we biked around for awhile). Life and love are beautiful in Virginia. But I strongly feel, it is time.
I have two plans right now. Both are a financial stretch but faith is going out on a limb... right?
Plan A (if MT comes through): work here until April when I return to Fontana on the AT, walk back to Daleville by May 15, catch up with friends at trail days, drive to Montana with Geronimo and Bones for sidekicks, and start working there beginning of June
Plan B (MT job rejection): work here until mid June when I return to Fontana on the AT, walk back to Daleville for however long it takes, back to the grinding stone on a job search (Missoula / MT focused by the fall)
For reasons inexplicable via this medium I desperately hope for Plan A, and those that hope are not put to shame... right? Regardless any prayers would be mucho appreciated. I should here in the next 7 days which path will illuminate.
I've been thinking about that a lot lately, paths and illumination. The bible says thy word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Scriptures like this constantly find their way to my fingers, eyes, and heart. I spent half of last week labored on hiking trails at the camp I love. A methodical mind and body consuming task that enraptured me with purpose and joy. I found myself laughing to Geronimo "okay God, teach me about paths, literally and metaphorically, I'm here, tell me what you will, just please, please, send me a light".
While I wait it seems fate has humorous tests for me. I spent the last half of this week nearly crippled and immobile with back pain. I have the great fortune to have a Dad who has coped with acne, receding gums, and back pain the majority of his life... genetics... what a beautiful thing. Normally I tough out pain or sicknesses, but as someone too poor to have health insurance and too busy to say no to jobs if sick I have been popping pills like no body's business. I'm happy to say that the back pain died down last night which is fortunate because I awoke this morning with a very goopy eye. Sorry to say my dad, the pharmacist, deemed it pink eye, and as the day progressed I'm thinking it is in both eyes. Alas, more pills. I won't go into how sick the preschool class I subbed for Friday was... but I wouldn't be surprised if those germy sick kids were the ones to infect me.
It's not all doom and gloom however. I has been about 60 degrees here the past 3 days. Tomorrow I plan to lead my youth group over the section of the AT my brother started about a year ago; apple orchard mountain, the guillotine, and Thunder Ridge. And if that wasn't good enough my brilliant friend Issac plans to come along too!
So I should get some sleep. Low's much anticipated daylight savings will rob me of an hour, small price to pay for the hope, light and joy of ... SPRING =)

"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. ..."~SoM