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Here be dragons … so I’ll move over here instead

“Why I came here, I know not; where I shall go it is useless to inquire – in the midst of myriads of the living and the dead worlds, stars, systems, infinity, why should I be anxious about an atom?” -Lord Byron

Saint Augustine has been quoted as saying “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”.

I want to be an avid reader, and there have been times that I have been. But these days I seem stuck on the same page. The book got a little darker than I wanted, and I put it down weeks ago. Until recently, I simply did not want to pick it up again. But as scary as the story might get at times, if we don’t keep reading … we will never know how it turns out. It is really silly to hide from a book that hasn’t even been fully written yet. I made the mistake of getting caught up in other people’s chapters, thinking that the pages I am writing are inextricably tied to  said chapters. My mistake.

One I often make.

But I found my courage again. Or maybe my inherent stubbornness has had enough of my hiding under the sheets. Either way I am back again for the nonce.  I will not whine about my journey stalling, or make big promises about where it is going, for neither is particularly productive at the moment. Nor would there be much truth to the words.

No journey ever truly stalls. Even if we seem to stay in place, it is only in a relative sense. We are a small speck on a tiny planet that is both revolving and rotating in a small galaxy that is also constantly moving; said galaxy part of a moving cluster of galaxies; all part of an inconceivably large universe that is also in constant motion, How can we say that our journey has stopped. Each moment we are in a different point in the space-time continuum, and we will (probably) never cross that point again.

When seen from this perspective, stagnation is purely a mindset.

Time for me to shake that mindset. Bold words. Let us see if I can turn said words into action now. My journey is far from over, unless I call it over. I do not know what is next. Perhaps I will continue the promised book, for even if never read there is power in the writing. Or maybe my wander lust will find another outlet that is beyond site for me right now. Wherever my path takes me, I will begin reading (and writing) again. The Book of Life; The Book of MY Life, is far from over yet.

Brown Dog teaches …

“Not yet Brown Dog! It’s too early! Go back to bed!”

This is my equivalent to hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Every morning Brown Dog enthusiastically and urgently prances about, essentially saying “Gottagogottagogotaago!!,” while her mean and unfeeling companion hasn’t the energy to crawl out of bed yet. This has become part of the routine. On some levels, there is resentment in these actions: I went on this grand adventure, and all I have to show for it is a dog I did not ask for. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love Brown Dog. Precisely because of that, she is often the target of my frustrations with life in general … and with myself. She has an exuberant energy that drives me crazy … mostly because I envy it. The irony being that my NOT having it is essentially my own fault. And any resentment is really just my inherent allergy to responsibility. Truth be told … once I actually get the walkies project started … it usually turns into a moment of peace (if often slightly agitated peace thanks to B. D.), reflection, and … believe it or not … learning. I take these moments to appreciate: appreciate what is around me; appreciate what I DO have and what I don’t; appreciate the simple fact of living. These moments are also good for letting the mind wander in nomadic bliss. My thoughts are often random, but I will explore that randomness to its very edges.

SQUIRREL!!!!

SQUIRREL!!!!

This morning, as I admired the early morning light on the autumn colors, the chill, brisk air instilled some nifty thoughts in my head. One that I may actually pursue (let my inner inventor run for a change) is the concept of a treadmill for dogs. As seems to be the norm for this time of year, Brown Dog’s focus was torn between the desperate need to GO NOW!!, the finicky need to GO HERE!!, and the distracting need to  CHASE SQUIRREL!! Basically a typical morning’s walk. Nearing the end of the walk, our slightly frayed, “ghetto” rope of a leash once again burned my fingers as B. D. once again decided THAT squirrel was Public Enemy Number One. So I said to her: “They are everywhere, girl. If you chase them all, we’ll never get anywhere.”

With an eye awakening smack, the cold air put its fingers to my cheek and I suddenly GOT IT!

I was talking about squirrels to a dog, but there was a profound lesson in what I had just said for myself (and maybe others). This simple statement so well applies to many other things … but most applicably in MY life to dreams and … causes. Dreams are everywhere. So are battles to be fought. One of the temptations an Idealistic Thinker faces is the need to follow ALL the dreams; the need to fight ALL the battles.

THAT way lays eternal frustration.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so adrift these days is because I have CAST myself adrift. If I keep chasing everything that catches my attention, my own personal squirrels, I will never get anywhere. To reinforce this message, B. D. suddenly got another scent, and started towing me at the cost of her own breathing … again. This time I said, “Stop choking yourself chasing after something you will never catch!!”

The cold air slapped me in the face again as soon as I said this.

Yep. Brown Dog is one fine teacher!

 

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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Zen and the right nostril

The 13 stages of enlightenment by nostril habitation:

  1. Surprise: Oy! A bug just flew up my right nostril!
  2. Amusement: Ha! Another bug just flew up right nostril.
  3. Ridicule: These are really dumb bugs.
  4. Curiosity: What is so special about my right nostril anyway?
  5. Fear: What is WRONG with my right nostril?
  6. Denial: There is no way that was another fly up my right nostril!
  7. Annoyance: Enough with my right nostril already!
  8. Anger: If another one of you flies up my right nostril I will hunt you, your neighbors, and all of your families down. I know where you all live!
  9. Bargaining: How about trying the left nostril for a change?
  10. Desperation: What politician do I need to sacrifice to keep flies out of my right nostril?
  11. Acceptance: Obviously my right nostril is where it’s at. Do what you will flies.
  12. Enlightenment: Come all flies, be one with me within my right nostril. Avoid the left nostril! That way lies confusion.
  13. Nirvana: Man found dead in the woods. Witnesses claim he was asphyxiated by flies. Autopsy revealed an unimaginable concentration of insect carcasses in the man’s right nostril.

Join the Right Holy Church of Nostril Habitation. Achieve Enlightenment in mere hours. Or if you wish to make a donation:

http://www.gofundme.com/TwoHikingIdiots #gofundme

Navigating without a map

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    Hungry Mother State Park

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    Hungry Mother State Park 36.883776, -81.526499 Hungry Mother State Park

“Why am I out here?”

Ultimately, every hiker will be asking themselves this question… most likely after a particularly bad or painful day. The funny thing is, at that moment in time they may not even know the answer to that question. We all start the trail with our reasons; our own justifications for attempting such a grand adventure. However, it seems to me that the justification we give ourselves to get started may be completely different from the “real” reason we are out here… often to our own surprise.

But that is how life really works.

This question has been bouncing around my mind like a pong ball of late, especially as any vision I had of the HOW of this journey has been completely replaced by that pesky bugger known to some as reality. In the last few weeks, I have found a new hiking partner, systematically gotten caught by every hiking town with any allure in a 300 mile radius, spent about 6 times my budget, found at least 3 places  that will be my future life and career, walked several hundred miles … most of it NOT on the trail, embraced my inner savage, helped my current hiking partner find her future porch rocking chair mate-for-life, had a nasty stomach flu, and dyed my hair and beard red, blue, and purple.

Yet I still am not clear what I expect to find.

This confusion, combined with a severe lack of cooperation from the Gods of Technology, is why I have not updated in a while … incidentally causing a few folk to wonder if I had been abducted by aliens or possibly eloped with a Sasquatch. Now, as I lie beneath a clear night sky in the oddly appropriately named Hungry Mother State Park (Virginia), I am in a position to share once again, even if I am not quite sure what I am actually sharing. My future vision, usually vague when it comes to myself, is now about as clear as wearing a blindfold in a sandstorm. The way I see it, these are the possible scenarios:

  1. I will eventually finish. Preferably before the grand celebration party that is no doubt being planned as I type. Or at least in the next decade.
  2. I will be kidnapped by aliens or elope with a lonely Sasquatch.
  3. I will start a hippie commune. Or go a little more upscale with a bed and breakfast/hostel. I will eventually become part of the mythology of the trail.
  4. I will actually complete a book.
  5. A combination of any of the above.
  6. None of the above.

Yep. All is clear now.

NOTE: One of the tech issues I have been fighting with tooth and nail has to do with photo transfer, so sadly youse guys are gonna have to wait for a new batch of masterpieces.