Category Archives: Uncategorized

Siouxon Creek Trail

In late June, 2020, I emerged from months of sheltering in place, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ventured out into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, in SW Washington State. It was a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day, with a light breeze. The forest service road to the trail head was mostly paved, but full of giant potholes and rough, slow-going sections. This was a part of this forest I had never been to, but had seen photos and had heard about it’s spectacular beauty.

The trail was gentle and meandering, as it followed a crystal clear river and was punctuated by magnificent waterfalls along the way. Salmon berry were beginning to ripen and I imagined that by the following week they would be prolific throughout the area. Although with the number of people hiking the trail, it was unlikely they would last long. There was a near constant stream of other hikers and backpackers; many families with children making their way towards camp-sights along the river’s edge. We spent much of the hike moving off the trail to give people space to pass, as we feel that it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines, even when in the outdoors. Most people seemed appreciative and many people even wore masks as they hiked. It was a reminder that even in the restorative beauty of this place, the reality of what was happening in the world today could not be ignored.

These are hard times for everyone. My own sense of self and the ways in which I interact with the world have been disrupted and changed. My work, my studies, and community have all been thrown into chaos. And there is also this constant undercurrent of uneasiness and disquiet, even when doing simple things like making dinner or going for a walk. It often feels like nothing makes sense anymore and that I am just going through the motions of life, despite them feeling inconsequential in this moment in time. But, nature is a good anchor. It reminds me that I am of this world and that I can find myself again in these places. Life makes more sense here.

Grief, Love, and Remembrance

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A few days ago I found myself standing in front of the memorial for the victims of the racist, violent attack that happened last week on a MAX train in Portland. I stood there and cried, while other people did the same. Portland has always been my home, but standing there made me feel like I was somewhere else, in a place I didn’t know, even though I knew in my heart that it is very much this place, that led to this attack happening. This made it all the more painful. We have not done enough. I have not done enough. This incident has put a spotlight on the legacy of colonialism, racism, and white supremacy that is alive and well in our community and in our country. As long as hateful people can see their views reflected and held up in our society, these acts will continue. We must do more. I must do more. But, too many people claim to have the answers; claim to know the one righteous path forward. There is a general lack of humility and refusal to listen, that is pervasive is the current dialogue. Our community feels like it is both coming together and breaking apart all at once. But, I believe that there are no simple answers and I rarely trust those who claim to have them. Humans are more complicated than that. We live in both a causal condition, while also constantly striving towards free-will. Until we can recognize both the causality of our lives and our personal responsibility to act morally and ethically, we will continue to spin in circles of violence and extremism; of righteous self-indignation that leads to discord and the disintegration of compassion for others. We must start using love and empathy as verbs, not slogans. We must start listening, start seeking to understand that which makes us uncomfortable, and working to actively dismantle oppressive systems and ways of thinking that are woven into our culture. I am heartbroken that this happened and I grieve for the families who lost loved ones and those who were traumatized by this act of terror in our community. But, I will also continue to have hope knowing that most people are good people and that together we can work to make this world a better place for all.

 

Super Moon & Lunar Eclipse

This was my first ever attempt at taking photos of a Lunar Eclipse. Unfortunately, it was very hazy that night and I don’t have a very powerful zoom lens…but these two turned out ok. In 2033, when the next Super-moon/blood-moon/lunar eclipse happens, I will be ready! But, until then, here is what I got!

Lessons from the Camino (written in 2012):

Two years ago this month, I walked 180 miles of the Camino de Santiago. Below are a few of the lessons I took from that experience that I thought I would share again!

Lessons from the Camino:

Judging others and ourselves is the root of most unhappiness

I don’t like too much choice-simplicity makes me more happy than complexity

I don’t like excessive heat-unless doing nothing is involved 🙂

I love walking

I am happiest when I am working to make the world a better place by building something, not tearing something down

Wherever you go there you are (I think this is my mantra)

Even profound experiences don’t change us quickly, change comes slowly and is often unexpected

I love my body

Being ourselves leaves us open and vulnerable, but it’s the only way we can ever experience life authentically

I want to love someone who loves me back. I want to be with someone who is as excited about me as I am about them and is as invested in my happiness and dreams as I am in theirs. I will no longer accept less.

A smile can get you a very long way

Everything in life is a reflection of yourself

How we imagine something will be is rarely how it is

Don’t take to heart people who tell you that your experience is invalid or less than theirs just because you do it differently

The belief that you are right is more dangerous than whatever it is you may believe

It is never about the destination, always the journey, but sometimes having a destination helps you get going in the first place

I am attracted to and value kindness above most else

Unsolicited advice is rarely well received

Flexibility (the mental/emotional kind) makes for more enjoyable travels

I love this world and all the people in it, even when at times I feel like I don’t

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