Archive For: Nature

Walking on

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu
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Once again it has been a long while since I have dared put my ongoing journey into the weak vessel that is written language. Photography is a better method of sharing for me, but sometimes it too does not relay what needs to be relayed. Anyhoo, as happens when time passes, much change has come into my life. Paths past have been left and/or revisited, while paths future still live in the nebulous land called Possibility. Companions have moved on with their own journeys, which for many now means a separation of ways … though our paths may cross again. Such is the wonder of the land that I once again am heading towards.

Though I did not complete the Appalachian Trail as a Through-Hiker, there is no doubt that it has changed not only my view of life, but how I live it. The experiences I had there and around it; the people who I met on it … the journey so far has helped shape who I am becoming and where my next steps will take me. The irony of this adventure is that much of the journey has me staying put in one place for indeterminate lengths of time. Right now I am back at what I guess I can call my home base, the “attic” of my mom’s house. While here I need to start repairing some of the inadvertent damage my exploration of parts unknown caused, nurturing the seeds that have been planted along the way, and regrouping for the next part of The Grand Adventure.

One of the potential seeds planted would have me joining a fellow explorer, known on the A.T. as EZ Rock, as he does a documentary in Colorado. This is a photographer’s dream, and I seem to more and more be calling myself a photographer. But there are a few stumbling blocks (as usual) that I need to … well … stumble through.

The biggest challenges are a lack of functional equipment, and the transport of my newest hiking partner, none other than the famous(?) Brown Dog. To that end, a new gofundme campaign has been started:


More importantly, since four-legged companions seem to be discriminated against in the travel world, I need a method of getting myself and Brown Dog from eastern Massachusetts to somewhere in Colorado. Volunteers, suggestions, and/or donations would be most welcome!! Spread the word and maybe I’ll have a chance. And since I know that four-legged companions get way more attention than scruffy middle-aged men, here is a cute pic of Brown Dog:

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MA 02324 41.964741, -70.966568 My Training Camp

This time I took a left

It has now been over a year since I began this … you know, I am not quite sure what to call it anymore.


It started off as an adventure. Gradually it morphed in walk-about. Then it shifted into a whole new realm … maybe the world of dreams. But as a I ramble about this, I am clarifying for myself. What I am doing is simply LIVING LIFE.


That said, part of the lack of posting about life recently is being too busy living it, part of it is living said life in the woods far from any communications capabilities other than smoke signals. Fortunately, I am momentarily pretending to be civilized, so time for a bit of an update. Team Idiot finally escaped the dangerous jungles of suburban Cleveland, managing to make it all the way to the safety of the Spiritual Way Station known as Damascus, VA. Unfortunately, the spiritual world is both of light AND shadow. It seems this past winter shadow seeped in deep, and instead of the bright greeting we were hoping to find, we were instead met with the worst of the human spirit. Apparently free and happy spirits are not welcome to the spiteful spirits that actually try to dominate this otherwise beautiful haven.

But I digress. Back in part of the heart of Appalachia, the team intends to hang here until the Bacchanalian Fest known as Trail Days is over, then decide where to wander to next. Gonna find a place to sit down, do artsy stuff, sell said artsy stuff, hopefully rendering financial issues less of a P.I.T.A.  I will personally try to actually finish one or three of the ever growing number of projects I keep creating.

That was an awful lot of words to get to my ultimate point, that I have gone and started yet ANOTHER blog, kind of spin-off from this blog. Our newest member of Team Idiot is Brown Dog, who has left the city for the first time to explore the wonders of nature. It’s a work in project, but check out …


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The Tale Goes On … #1000Speak

How do legends become legends? What makes deeds great enough that they need to be shared across the land? Is it the actions that make the hero? Or is being a character of legend something we are born with? I suppose it pays to have a good advertising team. It’s all about spin.

I would love to share the tale of a legendary character here. I would love to give the exciting details of his journey, a journey like no other. Yes I would love to share such an exciting tale, but sadly I can only work with what I have. THIS particular story is just about lil ole me. Or more specifically, some recent adventures of mine.

“Who,” one might reasonably ask, “ARE you?”

I guess that might be a good place to begin.

These are the first words I wrote as I began turning this grand journey I am on into a book. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of me setting on this path, and ironically I was at a loss on how to start this post. But it suddenly dawned on me that particular beginning is a good place to start.

Every morning the story should start that way.

We are all writing the story of our lives. Who we are is key to that story, the very plot of it even. Thus we are the heroes of our own story. But the beauty of every story is they are actually parts of a greater story … the Human Story. Together we are writing the Greatest Story Ever Told, sure to be a Cosmic Best Seller. Each chapter we write of our own lives becomes just another detail in The Ultimate Novel, the Book of Time Itself.

I have spent a year on this particular series of chapters … I have spent a lifetime; maybe even many lifetimes. This is the story I took up as I cried my first cry, and it will be the story that continues as I sigh out my last … for there is no true beginning or end, just new chapters.

Two years ago, paths crossed, and the first idea for new chapters began. One year ago, the ideas became a reality as a first step was taken, and yesterday … TODAY … the story continues from totally unforeseen pastures. I am here in a place I never envisioned, unsure where my next step will take me, totally uncertain as to what future I will write myself now, but absolutely KNOWING I am on the path that I need to be on.

For we always are.

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Where will the next step take me? What will the next chapter read?

This journey has reminded me that I am a minuscule part of an infinite whole, while at the same time encompassing that whole in the universe that is me. Every meeting, every pain and joy, every hardship and ease, every failure and success just makes me a unique part of the whole, and The Story Continues. I have no hope of containing the immensity of this story in one measly book, not even my own infinitely small part of it. Yet I can also be thankful to be part of the whole, a necessary part just as everyone else’s chapters are.

I cannot actually telly you where the next steps of my Walk-about will take me. But I can tell you what will drive them.

Compassion. Hope. Laughter. Healing. Change. Brightness. Beauty.

I look forward to interacting with YOUR chapters. What future will YOU write?


The best story ever told … for real this time …

It is odd to me how many of us seek to hide from the “real” world in creations of fiction. Especially since the unfolding of any life is vastly more interesting if we just open our eyes and truly SEE it. We especially need to pay attention to our own stories. We spend our lives seeking understanding; happiness; love; success … there is an endless ever-changing list of possibilities. Ironically, as often happens when we think we are looking for something … we find what we actually NEED while looking for what we think we WANT. It seems the real trick of a complete life is recognizing the difference. But no matter what path we end up on, it will always be a unique story to tell.

For instance this particular tale, which is labeled (now somewhat inaccurately) a Tale of  a Trail, has grown so exotic that even those of us living it are not completely believing all aspects. It started as an attempt for two slightly scarred by life kindred spirits trying to find something they both felt they had lost. Months later, we both are in the process of exploring what it is we may have actually needed … again ironically barely following the path we set out on. Mark, Idiot Extraordinaire and Dream Starter, thought he would regain his life and heal by a healthy little stroll through the woods with a friend. He may have indeed regained life and healing … yet he never even set foot on the trail. Not only has he become a master artist that can still be successful without having to spare an ear, but he is returning to his literary genius persona with a …


In the mean time, I am still on walk-about, trying to figure IT all out. I am more and more realizing that I need to stop looking for what I want and allow my needs to be heard. Somewhere in there, I hope to write a book or three, sell some photo art, and maybe even accidentally help an occasional soul in the process.

I like to think I am becoming more and more “Picnic” as I keep stepping forward. Good or bad, Picnic is gonna be a damn enjoyable story!!

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Open your eyes!

Now that the nature of my journey has changed, I am beginning to see the world differently. Where I have been … Damascus … is a crossroads of sorts. Physically it is a bit of nowhere that somehow connects many different pathways. It is nature and man-made trying to find a balance. Yet spiritually, it is much more. I call it the Doorway to What If. Because it is connected to both the human world and the world humans are trying to leave behind, I am still inundated with all that I was escaping (recovering?) from. Every time I see or hear the news; every time I see the worst of humanity in action … all I want to do is run back to the woods … which is easy in Damascus. On the other hand, at times it is a struggle for fringe dwellers to easily survive the area.

Thus for the moment the adventure once again moves to Ohio. It is not the state of my dreams. I have never even considered it as tops on any list of places to visit. But I am here now, and may be for a while. Fortunately I have learned (remembered?) one simple little fact that oh so many seem to forget often …


As the darker side of life invades our senses, we start forgetting this. The ugly; the dirty; the undesirable somehow claim our focus, blinding us from that refreshment that our souls so need. But the beauty is there if we remember how to see it. It takes effort at times, but a single flower; a smiling child can still be seen in even a war-torn country. And sometimes it is just that small bit of hope that keeps us going.

Not that Ohio is a hopeless place. But the reality so far has set straight some preconceptions I did not even know I had. These are a few moments and sights I caught the other day. I know many who have followed this journey might be disappointed by the new directions it is moving in, but I hope there is still something of interest in what I share.

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