Navel gazing and wanderlust in harsh climates

I don’t understand this soul-searching, ‘find yourself’ thing that your generation does. When I was your age, I had to find a career path and a job quickly, to make money and to support my family. That was the choice. I just had to do it.

I can still hear with perfect clarity the inflection and words of Ben, my friend and co-worker, a retiree who ran field drops (also known as Backup) of water and supplies for the groups of kids and staff¬† at my wilderness therapy job in the high desert hinterlands of northeastern Utah. Before his time in this position, something he did more for the social contact than any kind of necessary supplemental income, Ben had lived another life a world away, as a successful businessman in foreign cities and distant lands. Prior to that, he had been in the military, doing much the same. At one point in the midst of all that, he lost both his wife and his daughter in a tragic car accident. He never seemed bitter or marred by the experience, merely reflective and always just a little sad, though possibly gentler, with a steely reserve and an undeniable, unflappable ethic. He always treated me with a fatherly kindness, tempered by gentle ribbing and sarcasm applied at the moments when I took myself too seriously or allowed the actions of others to puncture my all too transparently thin skin. All of this was balanced by a decent amount of “now, listen here” tough love.

Continue reading “Navel gazing and wanderlust in harsh climates”

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Sweet mountain home

If this blog was a Gigapet (remember those? I never had one, to be fair, so I only slightly remember them) it would be whining in my pocket, begging for virtual food. Come to think of it, did Gigapets even do that? I don’t remember them very well. At any rate, I’ll try to feed ‘er more often. On that note, I am looking to set a few necessary and achievable goals, namely with writing, and updating this blog falls in there somewhere. I know probably absolutely no one reads this, but it’s an exercise in allowing others to read my writing. Or at least toy with the idea that more than just a lean number of folks possibly maybe might be (again, not very likely, since I am currently unwilling to bring it out of the virtual closet). One of the goals I have is to start a writing group or book club, since I’m finding my desire for intellectual stimulation sorely unfulfilled hereabouts much of the time.¬†Hmmm… I’ve never been a part of one, so I don’t even really know what that entails, apart from choosing and then reading a book and then coming together to talk about it/eat/drink wine with friends at the end of the month. But mostly eating and drinking wine, right? Also, friends – enough of them – who want to show up and who want to be involved. Hrm, that part can be challenging around here. Actually, those are probably the main barriers.

I didn’t come here to talk about goals at the moment though. Or eating and drinking. (Wait, scratch that last one. Yes I did) Or pets, virtual or real. That can wait for another time. Let’s take a break from the heavy for a moment, mmm? Continue reading “Sweet mountain home”