I've just had two weeks of mostly beautiful moments.
Throwing my body into roiling, frothy rapids, shoved down stream between rock walls, nearly tepid water begging me stay out of the wind.
Dragging myself ashore, the cold wind erupting gooseflesh over every inch of my body. Plodding over to my backpack, and then returning back into the warmth, Ranger IPA in hand. The undulating flow of the river rushing against the rock shelf upon which I sit, creating a natural whirlpool which threatens to roll me over, and fill my can with liquid I dare not drink.
Black clouds masking the sun, spewing fat raindrops that pock the already broken water around me, hitting me in the face as I gaze at the ominous heavens.
Sitting in a lawn chair, next to fire, the windless night allowing the indecisive flames to reach directly upwards, towards the dark expanse. Reading with the heat on my side, waiting for moments when the fire burns low, my gaze wandering to the stars not hidden by gas station lights and overly illuminated Walmart parking lots.
Climbing a trail I last hiked 19 years ago, as a young scout, which prompted this journal entry:
"About two weeks ago, I went to scout camp for the first time. I had a great time. The mesquitos [sic] were thick. The first day we had to pull up 100 lb deer carts up the mountain. That night we, well most of us went fishing. I caut the first fish. The next day I caught another fish (I caut the first two fish) There was a 20 foot cliff above the water that we would jump off of. One kid in my scout group jumped off, counting all the times, he jumped off 38 times. I only jumped of 17. The water was very, very, very, very, very cold. By the end of the week I had made several new friends and we were all dead tired."
31 year old legs carrying me up the path, in Chacos and sans deer cart. Marveling that we ever pushed those things up the jagged, rocky, nightmare of a path; wondering where the mosquitos were.
Standing atop the rock, off of which I had hurled my body so many years past, watching the Earth Mother's breath race across the water, creating patterns and shapes too beautiful to describe. Contemplating my journal entry of long ago, and wondering if the chill would be the same.
Flying through the air, arms pinwheeling, breath catching in my throat, every muscle tight as a knot in preparation for the shocking cold. Slowly drifting upwards, the lake's chilly embrace releasing me to the surface; face breaking into the mountain air, and faintly realizing that 17 times wasn't that impressive.
Sitting next to a raging fire, the remnants of the arms of trees felled by the pine beetle's deadly habitation burning, popping, and forcing us to scoot ever farther away. Dozens upon dozens of moths, confused by the unordinary brightness, circling like things possessed, until an innate desire forces them into the consuming wall of flames, wings burning away, tiny bodies falling to rest on the coals, to blacken and disintegrate.
Consuming mild barley drinks, discussing the oft alogical nature of religion, and the futility of hiding and distorting history; the paradox of the simultaneous promotion and utter discouragement of truth seeking.
Walking between giants; living things with such age, mass, and size as to make one question the sanity of humanity, in removing all but 10% of them. Feeling the rough bark beneath my fingers, sometimes stained black from our Earth Mother's previous attempts at cleansing her skin with fire. Wondering if any human heart ever broke after felling one of these redwoods.
The 10 minute commute from 80 to 55 degree weather, the turgid mists from the sea ensconcing the land in a blanket of white and grey. Driving along the coast, the sun occasionally burning through the mist and seemingly setting the trees on fire; only to dive back into the damp fog but moments later.
Visiting brewpubs not rendered impotent by theocratic laws. Sitting in a coffee shop in a little town called Bellingham, jolting from my seat as the sound of thousands of pounds of plastic and steel careen into each other, 30 feet behind. Passing the myriad herbs growing in place of flour beds along the walkway to the entrance; thyme, sage, rosemary, basil. Glancing one last time at the wrecked bumpers.
Riding a boat across a deep blue lake framed by the Tetons. Hiking through vast meadows divided by glacial streams, watching a mother moose tend to a pony sized baby. Neck sore, from staring at the impossible peaks that I wished were 200 miles closer. Bloated drops of rain falling through brilliant beams of sun, in a seemingly absolute contradiction.
Sleeping on the earth. Showering never. Leggings, not pants. Chacos, not shoes.
What the hell did you do for the last two weeks?