Wednesday, July 28, 2010


There are many silences in my life which settle me into this rolling landscape. The warrior you once comforted seems to lie dormant amidst urban youth discovering the natural world. There is caving, canoeing, road tripping, rafting, backpacking, hang gliding. There are loud songs and silly sayings. Exploration and mild adventure.
New chapters.
You must understand by now that this tale each of our lives develops has chapters, each distinct from those before and after the one we are living now.
I thought last winter was quiet. But there was a restless quest inside me turning in turmoil for spring to shake out. Spring has passed. The quietness inside me these days is different.
I miss Alta Mons. Sometimes when that landscape crosses my mind I feel as though I've been exiled from my home.
I miss my friends. How odd to be geographically close to so many loved ones and logistically hindered from spending time with them.
I miss Montana. The snowmelt water. The mega wild pulsing just outside myself.

Geronimo is perhaps the happiest he's ever been. He has developed a "Tramp" like existence spending all day everyday by my side or doing whatever he wants. He knows what to time to show up at the kitchen back door for snacks from the cook, where to go for movie and popcorn time and when staff take evening runs he can dog around with Bizzy, a frisbee catching border collie. So far that is the best part of my life here.

Between that, time with Ben, learning to hang glide and coveted time in WV's New River Gorge I am thankful for this time in the Appalachians. But looking forward to four months off this winter.

I suppose this is my first chapter which began with a measure of distance from my past thru hiking life. And somewhere between age and seasons that feels very noticable. I worked and lived here for weeks before those beside me knew my past -Glacier, the AT, Outdoor Trails. Experiences so dear to me, yet my former desire to broadcast them has subsided. It is enough for me. Enough to treasure them in my heart rather than showcase that past.

Sometimes I think I am lonely here. That I need another to be part of this, to understand it and me, to share myself with. Sometimes I wonder if God's put me here to work through our issues. God and me that is. It's been too long since I traversed forests and creek beds in conversation with the divine.

So this silence hovers like fog, whether it's of dusk or dawn is unknown to me. But it seems as if a peace and fulfillment is so near I could reach out and grab it.

You and I used to speak of feeling alive through pain and struggle. Euphoric from primal joy and suffering. Being thankful. Between geographic and logistical distance most talk of such principles lies dormant; resonating in the heart and soul of memories rather than in my ears.

But I am beginning to live here. In quiet evenings with my saxophone on the back porch. In the way these branches quake before a storm. In the sunset soaked clouds that peek above this pine surrounded field.

There is heat, sweat, and hard work - slowly I feel my legs strengthening and spirit stirring. In a sleepy sort of way.

I wonder what these children take with them after leaving this place. I wonder if they feel magic here like I do in places I have lived, loved, and come to understand.

I wonder what shooting stars will collide with my path and when.

Know that I think of you, and hope.

That your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, you never need to carry more than you can hold.

Monday, July 26, 2010


After weeks of spring students, medical training, and a major push with 14 days of leading 9th graders through caves, ropes courses, rivers, National Park land, multiple states, and hang gliding I finally have some down time working around camp as support.
It is a welcome lull in summer season.
Today was perhaps the first pleasant day of summer -temperature in the 80s, light breeze cooler in the morning and now at night. Summer should never be over 90 degrees - thank you.
After helping with breakfast and lunch and cleaning/ restashing equipment I had a few sweet hours to myself before dinner. Retreating to my cabin I continued unpacking and "nesting" a process that has taken many small sessions since moving here June 1st. I'm getting close to settled. Before I know it nows will be falling and my tiny cabin will be vacant for four months.
But for now - it' becoming quite cozy.
After serving and cleaning up dinner I retreated again to my humble abode, deeming it just as good a time as any to pick up my saxophone (which I haven't played much since 1998). So I sat on my porch in the woods playing sax while Geronimo frolicked about with his football. By lunch tomorrow all our campers will be out of base camp on trips. I love quiet solitude time =)
There are a handful of important things I've been searching for lately - all the more incentive to unpack / clean. Since leaving Montana I've misplaced an important watch, a drivers license, and countless other items. I've found a favorite Damien Rice CD, a key to my parents' place and more paperwork than I should've moved across the country.
It gets me to thinking about life: loss, gain, and status quo.
I've lost and gained much since leaving my beautiful 1920s apartment in Raleigh Court pre AT hike. Perhaps it balances out. Perhaps I've gained more than lost.
Depends on which day you ask me.
I was once told life is a balance of holding on and letting go.
So it is.
When the full moon rises over the woods on this Shenandoah Valley I think here. for now. is fine enough. I know not what comes in months or a year from now.
Such is life.