This blog is the place I made to put my things. Or rather, it is the place I made to put the things I can’t stash in my car, squirrel away in a friend’s garage, or sell for another tank of gas and a few groceries. Most of my “things” consist of experiences, thoughts, and a few images from the rare times when the urge to capture the singularity of a moment overcame my aversion to cameras. The rest is in plastic tubs from Home Depot, antique crates from jumble sales, and packed into what nooks and crannies Helen the stalwart Honda can afford. This spartan existence is a work of choice rather than chance, though on the days when the task of reconfiguring my life to suit my gypsy spirit wears me down, I forget. That’s when I know that it’s time to pause.
Wandering is my forté, and pondering an outright compulsion, but the pause is a harder nut to crack. Pausing takes time and holds me up in the mornings, but I am an early riser anyway and know that if I don’t ask myself certain questions, I risk wandering right into the wrong life. I’ve fallen down that rabbit hole before, and can ill afford the time it takes to get out. So I sit my weary bones down, close my eyes, and engage in the simplest, hardest, most clichéd exercise ever to be co-opted by the New Age movement- I breathe.
Somewhere between the gradual taper of racing thoughts and the tantalizing edge of peace, stowing away on the next Mars Rover mission stops sounding like a good idea. The clouds part (or at least thin), and with two questions, I find my way home. The first one is big picture: How can I best be of service while being true to myself? The second question is gut check time: Am I willing to continue to trade certainty, security, and a predictable future for the freedom to determine how each precious moment of my life is spent, even if it means that home is a Honda Accord and the money stretches tighter than a botched facelift? The resounding answer years ago, yesterday, and today, is “Yes”.
Today’s “Yes” means that rather than continuing to bang away at a keyboard trying to spin words into gold, I’ve decided to hit the road with a busload of wide-eyed undergrads for an expedition in the Pacific Northwest (http://www.getonthebus.org/). “Experiential educator” is a mantle I’ve worn before, for other programs in other locales, but this time feels different. The Pacific Northwest is a spiritual home for me, and this program is the same one that saved me years ago after my return from the Peace Corps, when little about life made sense. Living in nature and learning by doing brought me back from the hardest year of my life, and the farthest from myself I’ve ever wandered.
As events unfold, things will happen. Feels will be felt, thoughts will be thunk, and mistakes will inevitably be made. This is my attempt to document it all, be it burst of insight or cautionary tale, from the flickering realms between wander, ponder, and pause.