Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 173

i spent the day advertising and talking to more people and meeting more business owners and scored an interview for monday.

there's another opportunity that has come up that might develop. more news soon.

sorry for the obscurity, but you know how it goes by now.

funny thing is that all i needed to acquire for a costume was the vest

and may i again suggest

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 172

the dying days of october taunt the strongest, fighting leaves with a smokey and surprisingly warm gust. there are swirling and dancing paper fires skipping and clicking across the pavement and i imagine that the shuffling leaves might be wondering where they're meant to be this winter as well.

more than twenty people showed up for the snowboarder's for Christ Bible study tonight. the discussion started by going around the room and having people listed the first, next thing they want to buy. then the commandment concerning coveting was brought up, then the subject of contentment, and through the transition of the night, a lot of people ended up sharing times where they've given things away to others, in faith and practicing contentment, even when it wasn't easy. once again, i wish i could remember the whole flow. i need a tiny tape recorder to bring everywhere. still, people here know what it is to live life.

scott and i had ridden bikes to the gathering while everyone else carpooled and, seeing that my situation is still unsettled and unclear, i pedaled to tim horton's after the study. out came the baggie of coins and i sorted out enough for a cup of coffee and sat down again to be still. silent. alone. listening.

tomorrow is friday- the last of the month and last day before move in. i'm not sure what's going to happen for me on that day.

still as we grabbed our lunches at the supermarket today, i imagined, for a few seconds, what it would be like to be living in rockford and to still be working at the sporting goods store. even in this current mix of uncertainty and provisions, i knew that i'd be wishing to live something like this if i happened to still be punching that green clock.

we're starting to put together our menu, of sorts, of cheap and healthy meal combos we've created during the past couple weeks. maybe that'll be put up here soon. they usually average 3-4 dollars. you might even find yourself wanting to try it out once or twice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 171

we drove up one of the nearby mountains this afternoon. the drive up was about twenty minutes on a rocky and rutted path and it felt good to maneuver a 4x4 again. the three of us had mountain bikes and, after parking one car at the bottom, we drove the other to the top for the hour long bike down.

i didn't know what to expect and, after seeing ten foot drops and jumps and forty-five degree trickling tire paths, i took it easy and made sure the bike didn't ride me down. the scenery was awesome and the town of fernie sat quietly below amidst the river and fading treetops. i'm going to try to get back to the lower part tomorrow to do some shooting.

still there are no obvious answers today for the elusive next step. calls are being made and people are in on the situations, so it'll be a close call. word of mouth is good, though.

i got tired of all the thinking and explaining and re-explaining of this already detailed and confusing permit situation so i headed off to tim horton's tonight for some coffee and chill and silence. to be still. alone.

finally, being wednesday night, we went out for the open mic and jammed for a few hours. my lungs are seriously tired from the harmonicas.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 170: part 2


i am laughing now, even though i lost the security of a full time job today and the value of a free, one thousand dollar ski pass that comes with it. it's no wonder why nobody knows about american-canadian work visa protocol. i'd guess that those who've tried either gave up and never spoke of the frustration again or just ran away into the country forever and started a new life chopping wood and making log cabins. into the wiiiild.

anyways, things did happen during part two of a difficult day.

there was double comfort and ease in talking to a good friend from back home. funny how older friends are always a little more there in the interpretation of whatever situation you're in now.

seconds after goodbye and the accumulated readiness to take whatever next steps in a deeper exercise of faith and trust, one of the my new friends in nearby montana, from the weekend, hit me up about the situation and made a suggestion. montana has a solid ski mountain resort and she knows cool people i could stay with. then we could come visit fernie on the weekends and such. just the thought of the simplicity of working in my own country is an incredible concept

secondly, my friend in washington talked about going to portland for the winter. portland.

both these developed right after the frustrating and blinding setback. in some respects, i'm in the same place i was this morning. on the other hand, i'm starting to wonder if faith is trusting farther than i can see. i still have a couple job interviews here for the next couple days. i definitely haven't made any decisions yet either way. i don't decide.

it should be known that, in all this, i still have the strong and remarkable feeling that the adventure is not yet over. and why should it even be? even after some bad news today concerning the inability to work on the hill due to the catch 22, i've come to accept that perhaps the plans for the future are not as inclusive as i first thought and, if approached in faith and trust, they might just be the dot on the horizon that leads to something never seen before. nate, the new new zealand guy who's staying as a temp in this house as well, shared the same sentiments when we went to the grocery store. he had come over to attend a Bible college that ended up falling apart before the semester started.

also, i've reached a point where, for the first time in probably forever, i'm actually looking forward to going to school to study and finish a degree. i'm not sure what or where it's going to be yet, but i don't need that understanding right now. this part of the big transition is complete. only a couple more to go.

Day 170: part 1

this might be the end.

i went back up to the hill today to get the last papers for employment. the h.r. lady adamantly and, rudely even, rifled responses with an occasional dry, "this helps nothing" grin. the hill and company demands that foreigners have their working visa ahead of time. that's cool for everyone except americans who need the paperwork in order to get their permit. whatta catch 22.

this comes as a huge disappointment. i have a permit to work the very part-time job as janitor, but that alone might barely pay rent and i wouldn't have a pass for the mountain. right now i wonder if this is a bigger test of faith. maybe i've gotten self righteous by thinking too highly of the circumstances and events that have brought me this far.

for the first time i'm at a real loss of what to do next. move in date is three days away. hopefully i'll know before then.

it's only two in the afternoon and today is far from over. i'll be back on tonight to add some more and wrap up today. i think something is happening as i type.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 169

i headed to church this morning for my first day of work as janitor of fernie fellowship baptist church. it's a good place and i'm glad to be plugged in and officially and legally employed in only one weeks time of first attending the church. i got my key and code today and went over the list of duties one last time with the now former janitor as she heads off tomorrow for an backpacking trip to india.

the rest of the day didn't go as planned and i didn't get as much accomplished as i wanted. it all came down to bad breaks. i was discouraged, a little, and let myself ponder the situations ahead, considering if this is actually the right decision and place to be. i needed a prod.

i did get interviews set up with the lodge restaurant manager for playing live music in their restaurant in the winter. he's gonna call to set up a time on thursday for me to come over and play for him. this is in that same room from a couple nights ago with the digital baby grand and big windows.

still, with a such a low amount of free cash during this settling period i'm being very careful about spending on anything, but wanted to attend one of my friend's birthday dinners at a decent curry bowl restaurant with the rest of the guys. i couldn't buy any food there, i knew, but we had a good time anyways. as the rest ordered and received their food, the waitress happened to bring out a mistakenly made order. she was flustered and knew there was nothing she could do about it now, so she dropped it onto the table and mumbled that it wouldn't be put on the check. the guys slid the plate towards me and i was provided for, in timely and last second fashion, once again.

money can't buy faith. faith can't buy money.

i could live like this forever.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 168

today has been huge. huge. huge.

but first,

we woke up in montana and went to church in a surprisingly populated town- in montana. who knew. the church is only a couple years old but apparently has been growing rapidly and is now held in a sweet, former movie theater. it's sweet and their sermon titles and weekly activities are designed as movie posters that fill the display boxes outside. we sat in the balcony of freshlife church and their mannerisms of music and teaching and overall vibe reminded me of imago dei in portland. good place.

adam and i, along with the two guys in the house from church we're living with and a new zealander nate who's crashing here temporarily too, went out to lunch with the friends from last night. afterwards, we all hit up glacier national park and spent the afternoon waiding in the icy streams of glacier runoff and skipped rocks and climbed trees in the crisp and perfectly clear fall sun. we were hippies.

here's the huge part tho.

we left montana late after having dinner with the girls. all the preparations and future of these plans for the winter revolved around tonight's process of getting my work permit on the way back up. i was nervous, considering my success with past border experiences, but felt a strange sort of comfort/excitement in the fact that this border crossing was the same one that chris mccandless passed through after going north from wayne's farm on his way to alaska.

i showed them my papers and janitor job offer from the church but they suspected i needed one other document- one that is very hard to get. i sat in their lobby, spending the minutes praying and playing solitaire on the ipod, all the while feeling an incredible combination of peace and faith. there's nothing better then gratefully understanding that what's about to happen is meant to happen exactly the way it does.

bob marley still happened to be echoing choruses of ''everythings gonna be alright." the song had been stuck in my head for most of the drive back. after over an hour of talking on the phone with the immigration at a different border location and getting a clutch benefit of the doubt concerning an almost detrimental detail of my permit's 'religious organization conditions', i was granted (literally granted as they could have rejected me) a permit and happened to have the necessary cash in my wallet for the fee. i had just enough to pay the $150 canadian and hadn't had that much money in my wallet in months. before leaving, i asked the two night border guards if they'd heard of the movie 'into the wild.' "that was a horrible movie" snapped the female guard. i stifled any sort of opinion-based response and thanked them for everything and left the building with a bigger battle won.

we finally began driving again after almost two hours of waiting and i watched the murky outline of nearby mountains slide against the haze of stars and galaxies. once again, i stand amazed at this path and place in life that's been presented for me. i can't easily remember a time where i've been as happy as i am in this moment.

now, i'm very low on free cash and am going to the vintage clothes store in town tomorrow to sell some of my summer threads. i think that's a win-win situation because i'll be lightening my load and maintaining survival until work starts. i'm selling a kayak setup back home too if you're interested. and a jeep. and i'll soon have photographs available on

overall, i felt something huge tonight. again. faith and trust are more real to me than ever before. this path, this life, and this adventure as been blessed and guided in countless ways.

whatever it is You have me here for, i'm ready.

Day 168

saturday, october 25th, 2008

canada ends with foothills from the valley of mountains and opens to montana highways and open land. there are some mountains in the distances but i don't understand why people build their ranch style houses in the middle of this no where.

we've come down for one of our friend's friend's birthday party. it was a good time meeting some more new friends, here in montana, and jeremy and i ended up jamming and doing some music at the party.

tomorrow's the big day and final step to finalize my winter travel situation in fernie.

i recross the canadian border with my papers and purpose to get the work permit and temp sin number. hopefully the situation goes better than the first re-entrance.

here we go.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 167

i feel like i've been here months already. the calendar says one week.

after a long and intense game of friendly poker, three of us went out to the grocery store to buy our simple lunch. i've gotten used to the canadian coin replacing what used to be bills and, seeing that i don't have too much money to spare, i have a small, wrinkled bag of coin where i keep it all. like grandpa. i pull it out for purchases, such as 59¢ bagels and 35¢ bananas and todays can of tuna. the cashier lady noticed my bag of coins and offered to sort through it to get as much from it instead of breaking one of my few bills. i don't know how she knew, but she cheerfully counted six dollars worth of change and i stood there and realized that quarters and dollar coins never meant so much to me in my entire life. i'm not broke yet and i'm getting closer and closer to starting work for the season, but i've really come to enjoy and appreciate life in this manner. i passed up getting a can of chowder soup because it was over two dollars and sixty cents. someday.

however, i reasoned that if i had a significant amount of cash, meals would be met on a whim and opportunities for job searching and meeting people and living through word of mouth wouldn't ever happen. if i had bunches of money, i'd probably get bored and wonder what to do with it and would probably end up wasting in order to feel new and different again. i feel new and alive each time we go to the grocery store to make a cheap and simple meal with my bag of coins. these are fulfilling.

tonight, the hotel manager friend i mentioned yesterday took the guys in the house to the restaurant inside the resort he manages. we got a solid discount on stellar dining and with blessings like these that have been happening every few nights, the earlier cheap lunches are still as relevant as if they'd been costly and over the top. balance.

the resort's massive wood log lounge with a center stone fireplace also had a digital baby grand piano. my friend said i could play, he is the manager after all, and they all liked what they heard- enough for the manager to commit to getting permission for me to play during the winter in this big room of massive logs and tall windows at the base of the mountain right outside. between this and the piano at the church, i'm already starting to get back that big part of me that shrunk and almost disappeared over the busy summer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 166

i've never experienced an autumn quite like this. there's mountains all around and cool, clean air flows through the small streets and around the corners of brick buildings, carrying in its breeze a tame and established maturity. through the bustling of workers in their small snowboard stores and novelty shops along the downtown main and the buzz of the locals and their constant replaying of snowboard movie productions, i can tell that the valley is preparing for the coming influx of snow, winter residents, and visitors. i like this place. there's one of everything that deserves such. one mcdonalds. one best western. one tim hortons. simple stability.

i was feeling restless this afternoon so i went up for a cruise around town on a longboard to get some air and to carve the streets before the coming snows blanket everything. all this happened in a fashion that happened to last the exact length, from leaving the house to coming back through the door, of an eleven song playlist on the ipod.

one of the guys at this house, scott, is the hotel manager of one of the big resorts on the hill- one where visitors will pay a minimum of four hundred bones a night to crash during the snow season. after going to the snowboarder's for Christ Bible study, five of us went up to the quiet and massive log hotel and he unlocked the hot tub. in the shadow of the mountain and the quietness of stars and tall pines, we sat around and talked about books and faith and had a good chill.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 165

what do you do on a late afternoon when it's almost dinner time?

you put on the newest snowboard movie and eat stir fry in the living room.

there was an open mic tonight so jeremy, the guy who's having us at his house right now, took his mandolin and i grabbed my case of harmonicas. we met up with some of the local musician guys there and just went up to jam. soon as we did, most of the talking in the place stopped and people started walking towards the stage. guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica strummed and echoed and wailed and it was good. so good.

before this, we went to a the aquatic center to swim during the closing time special. with that and the long jam and an afternoon chillin at the library and going around for more work, this day has been good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 164

we headed to the grocery store for our interviews this morning. adam ended up getting a job in the bakery and, as we sat in the manager's office and i looked at all the pdt guns lined up in their chargers on the desk, i got an uneasiness about the familiarity of this environment and decided to not pursue work there. this decision turned out well because i soon found that, since i didn't yet have a sin number, they couldn't hire me as a cashier today. whew.

having access to a car today was an incredible blessing after walking and longboarding the town for the past two days. we hit up several businesses and there's some good potential with a small sporting goods store, a curry restaurant right next to our future house, and with a brick layer who needs a labor assistant in a couple weeks.

i turned in a resume at edge of the world where i happened to meet the owner greg. shining white teeth matched his hair and the circa sixty year old 'dude', dressed in a zip up hoodie, cuffed jeans, and skater shoes, gave me and adam a tour of his business. apparently that doesn't happen very often. this is the third store he's opened after the original in north carolina and the other, run by his son, in montana. in a southern drawl, he told the stories connected to the vintage snowboards on the wall and raconteured their means of acquisition. we stood on the balcony near the indoor skate park in the back of the store and i asked him about the guitars he had hanging along the walls. turns out g-money, that's what the locals call him, is the front man of an 'old school, punk rock band.' "you guys wanna see something? come here i'll show you." we followed him through his office to the stock room where guitars and amps and mics and cords and a drumset sat acutely arranged in the middle of bordering shelves of snowboard boots. 'this guy is the coolest old guy i've ever met', especially after he told us that the rest of the band members were in their early twenties. greg talked about the earlier days, some as recent as three years ago, before some of fernie's most popular bars and venues had been closed due to poor management. this limited his band's performances, he said, but when they play, ''we still draw a crowd.'' and why not? even i wanna see this guy play guitar and sing the songs he's written in a self-described ''ramones influence.''

we left that place even more happy with this sweet town and cool denizen and continued to look for opportunities to meet managers and hand out resumes. the fresh snow that had accumulated at the highest peaks over the night began to fade in the warm and glowing afternoon. yellow and orange trees contrasted with the horizon of towering mountains and the scattering of brick buildings visible from the second story of the library. turns out the library is really good here.

i ate a two dollar box of discounted cereal for lunch today. it's all good. work is on the way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 163

monday. the stores are open for business and adam and i headed to the grocery store at 8 a.m. to inquire about interviews. instead, we were rescheduled for tomorrow morning, leaving the rest of the day open to search for immediate work.

we skated and walked an incredible distance today. the distance was so great that we almost forded the shallowest part of a rushing stream in the rain to avoid having to circle around. we didn't wade.

after stopping by the supermarket for a cheap lunch, we walked over to the nearby best western, the one we'd stayed our first two nights in, and walked into the large lobby. we sat by the fireplace to wait out the rain. the girl at the desk looked at the both of us, smiling in recognition and in full knowledge that we'd checked out yesterday. she was the same aussie chick who'd urged me to make a phone call using the front desk phone so i didn't have to use the pay phone. we knew she was cool with us eating lunch and drying off by the fire. yesterday already seems so far away. these past three days have been huge- time becomes so much more aware when you get up early and walk and longboard everywhere.

earlier, i'd noticed a flyer on the grocery store wall announcing lost dogs. black lab. reward. then today, as i stood outside the bank, waiting for adam to make a transaction, money dog comes wandering up the sidewalk to me. he was soaked and dirty and i reached out for him, slowly, to catch his collar but he backed away. i took a step and he trotted away. we went after him but he disappeared near the railroad tracks.

i went to the church for janitor orientation. i'll start that in a week or so, officially, once the girl who does it now leaves for her trip to india.

i'd started frying up pierogies tonight when jeremy, our host/friend asked us to come with on a business dinner. he's an engineer for the local mines and was working on a business deal with an out-of-town client and wanted some company. we went to a sushi restaurant and, although the service was slow, we had some awesome awesome conversation. i wish i'd had a recorder for it. seriously. type won't do it justice.

adam and i stayed quiet during their opening chatter and the general exchange of mining business banter. i studied the menu. soon, the guy started asking us all about ourselves and the conversation led to christianity. once he found that we'd met jeremy at church, he asked if he could pose a personal question in exchange for a christian perspective on the situation. a rowdy table erupted nearby so we all leaned in a bit as he told us about a close friend and co-worker who'd borrowed a large sum of money, repaid it along with interest, and then had asked for a larger sum. he told us that he'd taken a loan from the bank to lend to his friend. then his friend took off.

he openly stated that he couldn't forgive the man. he explained how much it had hurt his trust, his finances, and his emotions. now, he wanted a christian response.

jeremy opened, explaining the character and personal benefits of forgiveness and how bitterness and resentment can really hurt a person in the long run. he later admitted that he was a bit hesitant on going too spiritual too soon in the middle of a deal. adam kept the point going by explaining how Jesus commands us to forgive and, through it, helps us understand a simpler life of giving while helping to get rid of selfishness. my heart was pounding at this point and i prayed quick that i'd be able to say what i knew i felt about the situation. i finished with the big picture, mentioning a bit about the parallels of Jesus' sacrifice for us and how it enables us to understand and practice a forgiveness that isn't really even human because we understand and accept Jesus' forgiveness towards us.

the business man leaned back, looked me in the eye, and said ''thank you for that. really." he said it was what he needed to hear and i was happy and inspired by the way that our conversations had melded and transformed. and the waitress came back with our sushi.

there was much more talk and i decided to speak lesser than more considering i'm at least five years younger than anyone else at the table. the business man did ask me how we'd all met and our purpose for the winter. i told him we'd met at camp and that we'd be working the hill this winter and that we were all there for positive and communal living. spiritual edification of sorts. he nodded his head in understanding and said some more kind and heartfelt words.

i fully believe that that dinner was arranged for more than just business. after handling the triple digit check, he thanked us all again, shaking our hands and wishing us the best for this winter. the three of us walked away, blessed by the meal and stoked by the work of the holy spirit.

i counted my money today and set aside the amount due for move in. i have enough.
until after that goes away.
i need work now. bad.
tomorrow is the interview again at the store.
thankfully the days are full so we're wasting no time.

i love living by faith. i'm trying to sell off some of the things that i have that i don't need. they might be good, but they might be hinderances as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 162

this morning, as far behind as it now seems, started unsurely. we checked out of the best western before eleven a.m.
that stay in itself was a massive blessing made possible by a friend's parents' frequent flyer miles.

adam and i soon realized halfway through the parking lot that we were not going to get far with all our luggage. we spotted a stray shopping cart across the way (it was the only one that didn't require a deposit to unlock) and like the two bums that we really hadn't tried to become, we loaded our luggage into this cart and headed to church.

that's right. church. during earlier stays in vancouver with kirk from camp, i met his dad kent anderson, a professor at trinity western, and he'd told me that one of his former students was now the pastor of fernie fellowship baptist church. he also said that i could drop his name if it meant establishing connection. we were now headed to this church, pushing the cart and pulling rolling bags across the highway.

the pastor was out of town, unfortunately, but i immediately liked the vibe and 'being' of this church. unlike portland's imago dei, which was cool and inspiring in an equally spiritual and trendy way, this atmosphere didn't hold any pretenses of guest vs stranger cool point deficiencies and seeing that we were bringing all our belongings to church we were kindly greeted, accepted, and allowed to put our stuff with the coats. young guys led the music for the service and we ended up sitting in the crowd of younger people in the front right. the sermon by a guest speaker was solid and i knew i'd found a place i loved when one of the introduction men, probably one of the pastors, told stories about his recent hitchhiking adventures to different churches and places and shared the amazing ways that God had been hooking him up through relationships of his past. he hitches to meet people and pays them for gas instead of driving by himself. sweet.

the church needed a part time janitor. i talked to the lady who'd made the announcement after the service and ended up getting the job. this comes at a huge time because i still need to find some work.

we met a bunch of the people sitting around us and became familiarized and accepted. among these people was jeremy, who'd played guitar on stage for worship, and he invited us to stay at his house until we moved into ours. this is huge. after leaving the hotel earlier with no real place to stay, we were homeless no more. from there everything fell together. i talked to the guy who'd led worship and he said they needed someone to play piano. i'm going to practice with them on wednesday.

some of the other guys at this house are amazing musicians. jeremy, who plays mandolin and fiddle as well as guitar, sat around with me and another stellar guitarist ian and we played blues and jammed bluegrass for part of the afternoon and evening. we really bonded and we reckon we'll start pulling gigs soon in town. a group totaling eleven met up in jeremy's driveway and we walked through the neighborhood to the park and played eighteen holes of frisbee golf.

large gold leaves were thick on the ground and crisp air flowed down from the huge mountains that surround every horizon of this town. even from inside the church the peaks reached and split the skyline. as we rode longboards to the supermarket to create some sort of cheap menu to cook for dinner i noticed that the air keeps getting noticeably cooler. dusk is sudden and the cold dark is deep once the sun disappears behind the towering peaks.

i read a book once, through painted deserts, and experienced a mix of inspiration and jealously at the exciting path that unfolded for don miller. i wanted that. as i turned pages and fed imagination and perspective, i knew that i couldn't settle for the average life, but i had no way of positively pursuing any of this. i don't have any control.

still, day by day, plans and people and blessings and opportunities are being presented and humbly received and i'm starting to see that this story isn't like what i'd thought i'd read about before.

this story is real, it's happening this moment. life is now. be.

and the best part is that i fully believe that if any of it should not never have happened, it already wouldn't have.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 161

finally, some upswing.

it's been just over a whole twenty-four hours here and i already feel comfortable. the town is small, to be sure, and adam and i spent most of the afternoon walking around the busier sections talking to people and handing out resumes at various locations as we look for immediate labor work.

but first.

this morning, we headed up the mountain for the job fair. after filling my forms and feeling inadequately prepared with my country's conditions and methods (my work permit can't be fulfilled until this present stage has been) i applied and scored a second interview. the mountains are clearly visible now and, although the nearby slopes themselves are still a humid yellow, there's already snow on the tips of the higher rocky peaks.

the second interview flowed from the beginning and i was able to make personal connection with the interviewer after i followed up on a tiny bit she told me about herself in introduction. the rest was fun, positive, and after answering that i would be an eagle if i could choose to be any animal, we ended up talking about these birds and hiking and i walked away a few moments later with a job on the ski hill for the winter. this means a pass, gear discounts, and cheaper food. the best part in all this is that they were made fully aware of and willingly agreed to create the necessary documents to now gain a legal work permit- just as i had told the first canadian guard when i'd been rejected on suspicion of illegal employment. i wish i could send him a postcard, but that's probably not a good idea. all in all, the five of us that needed winter work got it today.

we've already begun living life on the cheap side. lunch- two bagels, two bananas, and a drink- were picked individually from the supermarket for only $3.15. dinner was just over $4.00. adam and i sat on the concrete bank along the street and munched as cars drove by and people walked the sidewalks. i started to realize that it makes sense that orphans in africa could be sponsored for so cheap of a north american price. this is happiness to me and inspiration for simpler living. we applied in the store too. while walking the town tonight, i found a ten dollar bill in the grass. i was glad. happy. i remembered those kind of 'wallet tracts' you'd see on big city sidewalks and realized that i'd have been really put off if this bill had some sort of message attached to its sly attraction. why do we do that? i'd be angry if i needed money to survive as bad as i do and i had found fake cash with a gospel message.

i'm not making money yet from a job, but things are coming together so well. even in this one day, we've met so many chill people and with the solid crew that we have, i really am excited about the impact we're going to have in this town this winter.

right after the job with the lodge was confirmed this morning, i happened to open a Bible to this verse. i still need to recross the border to get the permit, but the hardest part of finding a willing employer is accomplished.

psalm 20:4-6

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.

6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 160

for the first time in days, i was up before the sun. soon after 7:15 am and goodbyes, i was picked up and jumped into the packed back row of a two door car and the three of us headed east. i miss mornings. low fog traveled in a suspended stream and the clouds held gold lining over the tops of awakening pine trees and rolling mountains. the two lane highway, winding along crashing streams and yellow leaves, held no regard for further signs of civilization. we were into the wild, in the mountains, in a small car that carried huge excitement and anticipation for the next corner and bend.

perhaps the most exciting part in all this, i considered quietly during lunch, is that the outcome will happen exactly as it should. i've come this far. everything has unfolded as so. there's comfort and confidence in being able to take and accept the next step in full realization and submission to a plan bigger than my own.

this town is small and still. quiet. even at barely 10:30 p.m., i walked outside and could see no one. stores close early. the mountain looms, barely traceable, in the dark, thick sky.

tomorrow starts a really important next two weeks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 159

today, shawn and i went to chill at a coffee shop for part of the afternoon. is up and running.

last night, i gave a worn harmonica to two year old sam. after he found out that you blow and draw instead of just making vocal sounds in front of it, he began to make some good, melodic strides. he'll be a pro some day.

tomorrow is the big day. an early departure leaves east with two other of the crew after they stop by to pick me up.

here we go

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 158

after some early disappointment and adaptation of plans, i've finally met up with shawn and danielle during their trip to the west coast. strangely, as i began to notice before when eric had came through washington, the months that i know have passed since we last met seem insignificant and somehow overall trivial in regards to the health of friendships. relationships have maintained a way of picking up where they where left even though so much has changed and been changed since leaving in may.

in my honest opinion, that ability is one of the most important parts of life.

there's one more thing i want to write here. i just got up from bed with a fresh perspective. here it is.

with all the early border issues and also the occurrence of one of the fernie crew memeber's car burning the day before he was set to leave, i've taken a fresh and humble perspective to the conditions and circumstances that have gotten me where i am right now. a year or two ago i was with a friend when we went to wisconsin to visit some of his friends. the wisconsin crew comprised a bunch of younger twentyish guys living in a house in which one of the guys, a amiable musician type, mostly supported the home and in which he'd opened his doors to friends and guys whom were either having hard times in life or were looking for a solid community. i loved it there. after cooking out and kind of sitting around, bo, that was the guy's name, suggested that we all take a walk. we did. a dozen or so people emptied the house and headed into the middle of the night and into the quiet neighborhood streets. as clusters, we walked and talked and everyone ended up looking to bo during unsure moments of which streets to turn or to continue. as he led, bo managed to float around to each group and get involved in their discussion. i don't remember what we were talking about more than the informal spiritual context but i remember him catching up with us and talking genuinely with me even though i was a friend of a friend who'd been invited to come up for this cookout.

i left the wisconsin house and group of musicians and house-cleaners (that was their business, organized by bo) in admiration, having had my eyes opened to a way of living that i never heard of or imagined before.

now, two days before a huge venture across canada, i find myself remembering that night that hadn't crossed my mind since the short time following that weekend. i was talking to adam, the australian who's in our fernie crew, about our collective excitement and anticipation towards a winter where seven solid, cool christian guys are going to get to live together in community. edification. growth. tolerance. i believe that this is the materialization of that bit of something once admired.

i also find myself faced with a unique situation of work permits and the rules of americanness. i'm so close to a good thing and something that may, in a way, been long in the making. these things just don't happen.

yet as i tried to pull ideas and string together ways of earning a winter survival, it's been an incredible and inspiring experience to stop looking forward- to stop thinking about things that can't be effected in this moment- and just be here. be. be. be.

had it not been for these fernie plans, especially as far as they have come, there would have been no definite need for me to stay in the northwest after camp had ended. there would have been no reason to have met and experienced new friendships and knowledge and growth through friends in washington. there would have been no reason to be here right now, in vancouver, to be able to meet friends from home on the exact intersecting week of such long distance and rather heavy situations and plans.

i have no idea what happens starting friday. if i don't acquire work by november first, i'll leave canada. there's a friend i want to visit in vermont. i have no way to realistically support myself long-term past that point. i've already written about money. this situation's outcome will not be eagerly faced, especially especially especially if the door is suddenly closed. yet in stopping tonight in retrospect of the past few days difficulties, i've seen such a strong and deep blessing and experience already received that might have gone slightly less than acknowledged of influence and importance and, more than likely, totally missed had it not been for where i've been led to stand today. in this moment. tonight.

thank to the many people who are praying for this week, trip, situation, winter, and adventure. it's going to get even more real quite soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 157

i made it. complications were solved and i've entered the country to visit friends in the vancouver area for the week. i'm staying with kirk tonight which works well as we had previously been planning on hanging out tomorrow. we went to the store to gather elements for a post-summer version of the epic breakfast for tomorrow morning. the kiwis aren't here this time, but epic breakfast two is around the corner in remembrance of its earlier mid-summer glory.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 156

here we go.

the greyhound from seattle to vancouver was filled entirely and i ended up sharing the back row of three seats with a younger couple. we snickered quietly after hearing the bus driver's intense introduction and threats to pull the bus over and disembark any passengers who's cell phones or music or laugher disturbed any point of the ride. the two said that they'd had the same driver for an earlier ride to seattle and that he had indeed pulled the bus over several times because of voices or a cell phones. naturally, i immediately filled the entire memory of my cell phone's voice notes with the remainder of the intercom's broadcast. he also said that he'd turn the air conditioning on and i'm trying to be positive by saying that i think i felt it, but these thoughts were soon distracted by the guy who frequented the bathroom, located direct right next to us, making numerous and echoing oral deposits and returning about every seven minutes. sounds about right.

here's where the real fun started, however. this is wild stuff now.

at the border, the bus emptied and we all stood with our luggage in the customs line. i was sent for further questioning after the initial check and once i saw a mexican at the counter talking about not being illegal, a german guy who barely spoke english, and two arab looking guys in the same 'special line' with me, i knew i was in for an adventure. to say the least. i was last and they questioned me about my plans.

then he took my phone, reading the texts and asking me who recent calls were from and who people like 'eric' and 'ashley' were in my phonebook. "dude, i'm not a criminal," i'm thinking. "and these calls are from may." i haven't used my phone much since. he then emptied my wallet on the desk. then had me do my pockets. then wanted the pockets inside-out. then shoes and shirt pocket emptied. he had me take my ticket stub outside to the bus driver who signed it, granting me a return trip 'if need be'. i told the bus driver to go on without me.. i had a feeling.

"come with me. bring your bags"

i brought them to a table where border guard guy and another started emptying them. all. they opened my computer, looked through some files, and then stumbled upon my case of harmonicas, asking why there were so many and if i was a professional player. they continued to search. i continued to sit and watch my stuff move across the silver shine of the public operating table. there was a moment when i silently rejoiced, however. "there's the other granola bar. they found the granola bar." i'd been wondering about its disappearance.

this was definitely a down moment in the whole vagabond experience, but i wasn't finding myself freaking out or denying the reality and value of what was going on. it is what it is, i figured, and leaned forward to answer questions about every receipt and phone number scrap that had accumulated in my backpack's life. they found the printed resumes, the ones prepared for the winter and the canada employment search, and he began reading them out loud. i should have given him one. he is a canadian employer after all.

this went on and they finished. i think they were surprised they hadn't found drugs in the luggage of a snowboard-carrying, bearded guy. i repacked and met them back in the other room. they weren't letting me into canada. that was final. they figured i would disappear in the country forever if i got in now. no explanation on my part was worthy or even worth it at this point.

after all this, i finally got through to the guy. the strict and mighty intenseness was dropped and he answered a couple of my honest questions about the big picture that had been lost long ago in swarms of tiny, detailed questions. maybe he finally started to see things. to late. the papers had already been signed and i had 'voluntarily withdrawn my request to enter canada', therefore avoiding any stricter and permanent banishment. he told me to put a rain coat on and pointed me to the american side of the no man's land between border stations. i made some calls and thankfully shawn, whom i would not be visiting tonight after all, was able to talk to a friend of his from college who lived nearby. after walking a mile down the side of the road in the rain with my luggage, i waited in a burger king and celebrated canadian thanksgiving over a burger and oreo shake.

i'm at dillon's place now. he's the friend and is a co-host on morning news radio. tomorrow will be a big day. i'm calling fernie to see what can be done about immediate proof of hiring and then will make some big decisions.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 155

i'm grateful, tonight and, again, overall.

tomorrow is thanksgiving. in canada. does anybody in the united states even know about this? i didn't really until just this year. all this time i was missing out on a potential back-to-back-to-back combo of major holidays months.

after an awesome stay at parker's house in washington, it's time to move on. maybe it's natural to imagine, during younger years, about meeting another self. i think that this is closer that i'd ever thought i'd come. obviously, we aren't dead-on twins or exact identical personalities, but overall, many similarities are there and i'm thankful to him and his family for temporarily allowing me into their family. the past month and a half have been incredibly blessed and bettered through it all.

i've booked a ride, now. i'm kind of looking forward to riding in a charter bus again. big windows. tall ride. seattle to vancouver.

here continues the journey. the adventure. the transition.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 154

i had no cash today, so i went to the safeway where i was told i could get cash back with a debit card purchase. the store was busy and the lines were full with saturday evening grocery getters. i joined them in the checkout lines feeling foolish that i had nothing in my hands. the people around me started to notice, i think. my plan was to buy a pack of gum- seeing that if i had used a different bank's atm at this point, they would charge me an equivalent fee, so why not get gum out of the situation. however, the gum was still at the front of the line. way up there.. the lady in front of me turned around, looking me up and down and, seeing me grocery-less, kindly questioned if i wanted to budge her in line. appreciating the awkwardness of this whole moment, i thanked her and slide past her cart towards the front.

i needed the cash back for a show tonight in centralia. noah gundersen. he's a local musician whom i've come to discover and admire and he was playing at a coffee shop/venue built in an old warehouse. the environment was sweet and the cover was a cheap five bones, so parker, two other friends, and i went. the last weekend before the big move.

tomorrow is my last full day in washington. i'm heading up to vancouver for a few days on monday and then making the big trek to fernie a couple days later. arrangements and correspondences have been going well regarding work, but the last two weeks of october will determine, for certain, the final destiny of the winter in fernie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 153

good news. but first,

i was working outside today on the hill and doing as much as i can in these last few days before taking off. i leave washington on monday for vancouver where i'll meet up and stay with friends from back home for a couple days.

while outside today, i took a short break to sit on a big rock i'd dug up to rest and take perspective. lazy wakes lapped against the shore a short ways down the hill. even before leaving in may, i had such a strong and inexplainable presence that i wouldn't be coming straight back. there were no details, plans, or even ideas. just a feeling.

the silence and peace of the still water mirrored the fading tree line on the other side. this whole experience, especially the post-summer developments, have been an incredible realization of the opinions and evaluations and hopes of life i'd been forming over the past three years. i'd left home for the beginning of this trip one day after the end of baseball and finals and, had i done so, i would have returned two weeks into a new semester. all this running. chasing.

time had been telling me where to go, what to do, and how long i had to do it. time to graduate high school. time to pick a college. time to pick a degree, then a career, then a job. then you're stuck.

where is the transition in this? where is the understanding of meaning and reason and purpose and appreciating the elements of a life worth living?

i sat on this little boulder with thoughts like these zipping along like thoughts tend to do. they're fast, but traceable. one thing led to this, the next to that, and now i'm here. goals were so much easier to identify for the future. motivation is stronger and more real than ever before because, for once, it's coming through personal terms. i looked up from the dirt and met eyes with a huge bald eagle as he cruised at eye level only fifteen feet in front of me before continuing his flight and disappearing in the trees to the right.

so, the good news. i called a guy in fernie today who might be able to give me some work for the winter. he was surprisingly chill and helpful and we ended up yarning about work situations in fernie and winters and international stuff. i guessed from his accent that he was from new zealand- i've had good practice at this drawl identifying from the summer. one of the nice things about our house, i'm starting to see, is that it's located near the very center of a town which is only about a mile wide, so that's gonna be awesome knowing that most employment will be within a miles walk. rocky mountain ski-town. he said to call him again once i get into town and we can meet to see what can be worked out. if nothing else, he's given me a couple insights on the goings on of job finding there. everything, step by step, is going well.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 152


get here, get there, get somewhere else.

yesterday. today. tomorrow.

i've been able to learn and to


in each moment, taking them up for what they're worth and collecting the understanding of the little parts of everything, better than anytime else before enjoying this realization and understanding of the word 'leaving'



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 151

i have focus. right now. that's good, cause i haven't the past few days when i've gotten on here. it gets hard to write something interesting every day, but like it.

i have some cool news to share. and will.
but first, a raconteur. sort of.

the rain has stopped. finally. i went outside into the cool, crisp autumn air today to do some landscaping work and was sent back by the familiar scent of sweaty, leather work gloves.

days in australia, last summer, started with the same feel of this clear afternoon. cool. the outback air was always on the verge of direct sunlight at five thirty a.m. and, as i rolled out of my tent and into the hazy chill, i most often continued without a hoodie. minutes into a mostly silent walk down the airstrip, the edgy mist was warmed by a rising orange haze. the horizon glowed, then grew- endless and quiet and wild. hours later, around five p.m., we would be finished working and would be trudging back in the dusty glow of a shrinking sun. the gloves, damp and dusty, would come off. the baby kangaroo, quantas, who'd spent his day sleeping in a suspended canvas bag, hopped around the kitchen and came to lick the salt from the palms of these hands, sweaty and stained by the smell of leather work gloves.

it's a good association.

today, as i began to plan re-entrance into canada, there's been an exciting and relieving occurrence to be able to join the very date, weekend, and overall schedule of this trek with the arrival and intercepting of friends from back home, illinois, who happen to be in this area of the country on the very weekend i pass through the area. remember, this already happened once when eric drove up and was able to meet me with supplies and extra gear.

seriously. these things cannot be planned for and, in a way, are little encouragements that i'm doing the right thing. i'm blown away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 150

that's a solid number. the day.

there's been some events i've been able to become a part of over the past month, even as a relative stranger pertaining to this church and community. during youth group meetings and a dairy queen gathering, the candidate, who really in all honesty had nothing to prove to me in these circumstances, impressed me with answers to questions of my peers while also challenging and inspiring my own walk. in a church that i was informed to be 'conservative' and 'mild' (i gathered this much after the itchy perfume and slow, rhythmic sway of the music and folk inside.

the guy gave insights about truth and the transitionary method that's required to help shift a congregation's expectations from receiving a pleasing amount of Biblical preaching and theology to a realization that their exact seat in church and overall approval of a sermons' appeal to senses isn't as important as living a life in a total manner of pursuing the way of Jesus.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 149

i've finally received all parcels from a wedding. the capture deck and external hard drive and chords are cluttering this bed, but i'm glad to have this to work on in such a consecutive day of rain.

one step at a time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 148

consistent rain in the northwest is no surprise, but it has definitely put a halt on the solid flow of work i had available outside. the hill's just too steep and wet now to be able to work on, let alone stand on.

i wish i had an awesome story to tell of a new street corner or sunset, but i don't. not from today.

on days like today, i remember phrases still fasted in my memory from high school composition- also ones that i've probably quoted earlier before.

the day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
it rains, and the wind is never weary;
the vine still clings to the moldering wall,
but at every gust the dead leaves fall,
and the day is dark and dreary.

my life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
it rains, and the wind is never weary;
my thoughts still cling to the moldering past,
but the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
and the days are dark and dreary.

be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
thy fate is the common fate of all,
into each life some rain must fall,
some days must be dark and dreary."

henry wadsworth longfellow

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 147

rain today. i got schooled in wii bowling by parker's aunt who's visiting. usually i can hold my own in this game, but she was something else.

tonight we started watching a documentary called 'young at heart' that shows the life of eight-plus year old people who sing songs. they even go on tour. people go to their shows. weird. the funniest thing in all this is that most of the songs they sing and perform are modern day pop hits. unfortunately, they lost a couple before a big tour. i never thought about it, but i guess that would be a problem for a traveling group of senior performers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 146

i don't anticipate much happening today. just wanted to put that out there right away. rain has got the outside covered so i'm in here eating pizza, reading, and waiting for a package to get here- i'll be editing a wedding video via the postal service.

i do have some things to share. they were written last night after posting and, seeing that i don't think it will be interesting to discuss the smell and feel of tangible books as opposed to reading online books and eating costco pizza, i'm taking an excerpt from a late night email and posting it for some thought provoke-tion. or entertainment. or so that i don't look lame for not posting later tonight when i can't think of anything to say after one hundred forty-five days.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- -

there was something about judges on a late night comedy show just now and i can't help but consider the awesomeness of being a judge. the law. even better, imagine staring down with a mallet as a television judge. the people's court. screaming people, all emotional about the nit picking details of their self absorbed, sad little lives, cry and yell their stories to you and then wait in silence for the gavel, your gavel, to come down. 'get a life.' 'go to jail.' 'just go home.' i would say to them. i would like that job, for a little while at least.

the second matter of business inspired from this night of t.v. has evoked some simple and fulfilling entertainment. conan o'brien introduced an average audience member who had finally made it into the audience on his fourth try only to have colin, as we discover his name to be, walk onstage and cross his leg in position on the infamous guest seat next to the desk of o'brien himself. conan is slightly sketched out and continues to talk about this invasion and lack of security throughout the rest of the show, but the overall spontaneouity of this performance inspires a common soul like myself. not that i'm planning on pulling this stunt myself, but still. good work, colin.

just now, on conan, a guest comedian just stated the fact that ''everything is amazing right now but nobody is happy'' in conversation concerning the economy and in humoring the possibility of returning to a simpler world of donkeys and selling pots door to door. he is still burning on people who complain about cell phones taking more than a couple seconds to get a signal from outer space and back and also shares the anger of a man on a flight where the free internet was lost halfway through the flight. ''stop complaining. you're sitting in a chair in the sky! you're flying!" there was more. i liked his thinking.

(the next section was just a raconteur of the death cab concert from a month ago that was still a part of the aforementioned email. the post from actual concert day lacked solid wording, so this makes up for that day)

death cab for cutie. concert. after wandering the festival in downtown seattle for the day and seeing indie film showings and an awkward afternoon show by paramore, the majority of the crowd crammed into a randomly placed stadium downtown for the nine p.m. concert. we stood towards the center of the floor space as far forward as we could before hitting the fence that separated us mere commoners from the higher-paying, v.i.p. concert goers who received the privilege of standing at least one hundred feet closer to the feet of ben gibbard and crew. parker and i made guesses at opening song choices and then stood there in amazement as both guesses were played consecutively. 'new year' and 'why you'd want to live here' are the two songs, if you're curious. i guessed the latter. the rest of their show was amazing and grooving. not groovy. i don't really like that word. its just that their music has a good and consistent groove to it in general, both live or in the buds of an ipod, so i really came to appreciate this unique sound as they skillfully maintained such a simple yet inviting sound to their music. it was just short of a tame dance party during parts of the concert and i couldn't help but notice little clouds of smoke make brief appearances above the crowd. the hippies brought the goods in an outdoor concert such as this. welcome to the west coast, i guess. anyways, the overall musicianship of the band as they switched instruments half way through songs and the like was inspiring to me and i would be lying if i said i went the whole show without feeling a bit of remorse with my sad location- lost amidst the shoulders of an ambitiousless, tripping society. i need to be on a stage like that. someday. someday."

i do like to email and have developed some cool contacts for conversational colloquial connection.

hit it up

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 145

the rain did come today. i was semi inspired after reading a craigslist film posting by someone in l.a. who needed a composer for a horror film and sat at the piano and created my own little score for the fun of it.

parker and i went to college group tonight which happened to involve a meet and question session with a candidate pastor of their church. we sat in dairy queen and discussed church and spirituality. i had planned to recollect parts of the conversations, but i don't have the focus right now. even as a newer member to their group, i really felt accepted and got free dairy queen from the associate pastor who was with us as well.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 144

the humid, rich breath of evergreen forests hung in the overcast, autumn glow all day today. the pacific northwest. sometimes i would pause working and, standing on the little path i've leveled midway up the hill, look at the still lake water. the buzz of silence, perhaps more a silky stillness, is momentarily punctuated by the wisps of wings of a crow overhead or the splashing, crashing dash of a duck from flight to the still surface of water. i've seen several bald eagles as well as they quietly drop down from the treetops and glide above the glassy backyard lake.

i found three snakes today and also, surprisingly, a nest of turtle eggs. i know they are the eggs of turtles because the first 'round soft white rock' broke against a shovel stroke. i had to keep moving the rest of the sand in the area, but i've relocated the rest of the eggs to a different part of the yard where the sun can still keep them warm. hopefully they're cool with that.

now i'm inside- tired, full, and clean. i bought a really good photography book online, undoubtably the best i've ever found in my lifetime's broad bookstore experience, after finding it in a bookstore in portland. until that gets here, i have a solid short stack of material i'm rotating through throughout a morning and evening. it's supposed to rain tomorrow. if it's enough to keep me from making some constructive progress in the yard, then i will definitely enjoy reading all day.

i've also been contacting people and have turned in resumes in fernie. i have a hookup at a restaurant there and am really needing a pre-established job for a smooth border cross, so hopefully this process continues to go well. a friend in new zealand, tim if you remember him from very early posts, called the other night to talk and catch up. he's coming back to north america to join our crew for the winter and confirmed his confidence and prayers to the fulfillment of these final winter arrangements. many others have as well, which is huge and greatly appreciated.

now, i'm going to shamelessly drop a couple plugs. one's for some of my photography from the summer's adventures (innocent enough), along with some extras i wanted to have up. you'll see, as they're labeled accordingly. the second is for the website that some of these, along with many more, will soon be available for purchase as posters. you can see how this might be sheepishly presented, unless you're very interested in art, photography, or supporting a young traveler.