Journey’s end?

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

-T.S. Eliot

I am a wanderer. This is not something new. I can’t honesty say that I ‘memba my first great exploration as I left the birth canal … but I suspect I was pretty excited about it. My earliest memory (technically my second earliest memory) is actually of a man in a big, bulky white suit jumping down a ladder creating a puff of dust … and to this day many will say it never happened. Whether it DID or not, does not matter. Nor does it matter if I actually remember seeing that, or it is just something I manufactured for myself, for that image has in many ways shaped who I am today. The irony of my attempted wanderings is they have taken me on great adventures, only to find me right back where I started from, wondering what actually happened, and more importantly … what’s next.

That is where I am now.

The best way to explore life is to ... well ... explore life.

The best way to explore life is to … well … explore life.

I started this last adventure, not truly realizing until this very moment that I was not truly STARTING anything but just continuing, only to find myself right back in my old cave. But somehow it is more profound this time. Or maybe the contrast is sharper. The last few years of my life have been extremely epiphonious (Real word? Maybe not, but it applies.) Especially the months around my “hike”. I am back here, trying to absorb all that I have learned about myself; about humanity in general; about what is important and what is just part of the great drama known as human life. It has left me with more questions than answers … the biggest being, “What do I do now?” There is so much more of the world to explore, both physically AND metaphysically, yet we live in a culture where such exploration is reserved for the extremely wealthy or the outcasts. Otherwise one is not behaving as one should … defined by those who would control the masses and supported by said controlled masses. So now I am in limbo, spending my days in vast amounts of thumb twiddling in between going walkies with Brown Dog.

I have to admit, this is not all that productive on any front.

I do not wish to stop exploring the world … which is to say exploring LIFE. But I can’t find it in myself to squeeze back into a box that I never respected in the first place … and respect even less now as our culture slips into what to me is somnambulance. So I wait here, hoping for a path to follow, knowing all to well that waiting rarely gets one anywhere. I need to create it myself.

So me, tell me … what’s next?

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:

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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.

Hmmmm

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.

Finally.

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 …

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF BROWN DOG.

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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?

 

Digging out of the snow

With the advancement of technology, the concept of exploring the world has vastly changed. Actually much about how humans interact with the world … and each other … has drastically changed since the pre-internet years. It is debatable (and a personal choice) how good or bad these changes are. I for one find them both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because we all can now directly experience much that was practically legend before, without ever having to get up from our chair. On the other hand, the terrifying part is that we don’t get up from our chair. And we believe digital “truth” too easily.

But, once again thanks to advances in technology, we have plenty of things to fear in this world, so I will conveniently ignore that part and focus on the positive. This whole journey, that started as a digital escape from a cave, became a plan for a couple of dreamers to take over the world (at least THEIR world), and ended up with a slew of unexpected tales that were not in any way expected … is far from over. However as some doors shut and others opened, a maze of choices became apparent. I have been so busy wandering this maze lately that I have neglected actually documenting the journey, which has not only increased my own confusion, but left a few interested parties hanging. In other, less long-winded words … time for an update!

Of the original idiots, THE Idiot is now an artist of note. He has shifted his talent as a writer into equally amazing talent as a painter, and the only thing that really stops his works from becoming invaluable masterpieces is that he is … in fact … still alive and painting. He has evolved from Notable Idiot to a man with a superpower. Shelbygrl has reemerged, doing her best to live a happy life despite the various roadblocks obstacles some trickster deities keep tossing in front of her. My newer hiking companions have all continued on with there lives, though Grey Wolf may be starting the trail fresh. And then there is me, myself, and I.

Ironically, I seem to know the less about where the three of US are going then my companions.

My physical journey with a destination turned into a mental journey with multiple destinations, and now it is a spiritual journey where not only is the destination unclear, but I am not even sure of the path I am ON. I now have THREE manuscripts in the work, NINE pseudo active blogs (and several more I have a hand in), two of them theoretically to earn money, one to consolidate, one to save the world, and the rest to entertain or at least generate a thought or three. I am physically sort of stranded in Ohio at the moment, which was not on ANY path that I envisioned taking.

Despite the multiple projects, lack of direction, occasional battles with dark lords, and horrible diet, I oddly feel I am right where I need to be.

This blog will get a bit of an overhall in the near future, as I have been doing with the others. I am working on pulling all the parts of me into a coherent whole. I don’t know what the final product (or products) will be, but if anyone is still curious … stay tuned!

The beginning of the pulling together ...

The beginning of the pulling together …