Saturday, September 12, 2009

[brother ivy]

brother ivy from joe lieske on Vimeo.

and pictures too

if you're visiting this site for the first time then please check out the outlined and linked "if you don't want to read them all.." column to the right.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reprise #1: one month home

i'm not sure what to title this, but i've been back home for one month now. there might be a group of friends and readers on this blog that still may be interested in this fact. for you, my handful, i fulfill a promise to share what's been happening.

to be honest, the perspective and momentum is being challenged here. often. and not always by others. the trail of adventure and life on the road has changed from its narrow line of motion and has transitioned back to the box of mazes and levels of familiarity of people and home and still not having much money.

i sometimes sense the pressure strongest while trying to draw out the characteristics of the midwest. a few dozen people had surprised me while on the road when they randomly identified my ''midwest accent.'' it must be the oily pronunciation of aaahs, like in the word chicaahgo. for the most part, though, the midwest is conservative (whether they think it or not) and earnestly routinized and is a place where humor seems to be found in over-exaggerations, enthusiastic reactions, and corny jokes (of which i'm now guilty...corn, get it?).

some of the little kids here suddenly look six years older and, strangely, some of the older people look ten years younger. but people grow up wherever they are and through whatever they're doing, whatever that might be. whether we realize it or not, we're forming perspectives that will guide us and will maybe one day surprise us when we compare it to one different than ours. i've found much fascination in the stories of these others through way of these comparisons and it's happening here, too. our collective growths compound with past routine and creates the cycle. the cycle. the cycle.

i've found it useless to avoid the cycle as such. people grow up in whatever way they do and in the way we best know how. but i'm trying hard not to fall back into my old cycle and this is becoming a hard thing to do. here's how i mean this.

the hardest part in returning is the lack of a short answer for the three hundred, eighty-three days of past friends, faith, and adventure. my mind jars and scrambles for balance in the random appearances and interactions with the questions of old friends who continue to happen back into this new life. i mean, it's been a year; i'm obviously older than the past year. but i'm no longer the traveling, curious guest with stories and a backpack and temporal sense of time and place. here people ask what i've been up to and most every conversation seems to focus in on the most significant responsibilities i now carry or plan to achieve (which are not many at this point, sorry). every once in a while the questions are bypassed by reminders for a shave and a haircut or another crack at the geico caveman comparison. i still have my own razors, thanks. nonetheless.

i very much had (and still do have) a vision in returning for sharing the life and faith and community of the life away. i remember our house in fernie and then the boys place in portland. i wondered if rockford could use a house of twenty-something guys who were all trying to do the right thing together. i'd like to try to start something like that and, even though i'm technically in debt, i've seen more happen to me with the meager beginnings of four hundred dollars on day one that i'm not really inclined to be hasty against either reality. there have already been some small ways that this has already been taking place, albeit in a way i never thought would have connected.

one of my friends claire is involved in the lives of kids whom she lovingly calls ''her ghetto babies'' and they've grown so attached that she has decided to forgo a year long mission to africa in order to, in part, continue growing and ministering with these kids here in their projects. she asked eric and i to do music for their camp on thursday night and we did. the little girl's black voices squealed and chimed and the boys looked skeptically at the cajon drum box i was playing. but we sang and towards the end some of the guys took a quick lesson on the cajon and afterwards asked if i wanted to play basketball with them. i barely pulled off a dunk to satisfy their wonderings if ''whole wheat can boom.'' they shouted out the names of different nba players (they didn't know who luke longley was....hah) as they sat back and looped baggy jump shots towards the rusty backboard. we shot around and played until it was too dark for me to see the ball or, for that matter, to be able to tell them apart during their speedy dribbles and drives.

i'm not entirely sure what the rest of those boys' life is like- their cycle and perspective. i heard back from claire that the kids really liked us and i hardly feel like i did anything. josh, another friend who's been involved with the same kids, and i were talking before a classic reunion game of capture the flag (of which some people still cheat and it drives me nuts) on friday night and josh shared his surprise on how easy it is to get involved and be a positive role model with claire's ghetto kids. i'm not even sure how claire got involved with these kids and families, but the distance she has come with them is huge. josh's mom had given the devotional before the playing of music on thursday and i deeply respected her fraying of usual proper mannerisms so that she could reach the kid's rougher attentions. it wasn't hard to tell by their quiet, long stares and little steps of coming out of themselves that they have a desire for respect and relationship that probably even they don't quite understand. here are kids growing up in ways they best know how and who seem willing to find a perspective that might begin a different, better cycle in the way they feel about themselves and God and for the way they treat each other and live their lives.

now tonight is sunday. eric and i played some music at church this morning. yesterday i met a photographer who was shooting the wedding i was playing and he shares some ideas for rockford. i left the college group bonfire tonight and realized i've driven just over one thousand miles since being back. that's too much, man. what have i been doing with one thousand miles? and here i am back home for who knows how long or for what specific purpose, but i wonder what i've done with these days as well. even heavier i admit to myself that, for whatever reasons, it seems harder to live the right life of faith in action. but how worthless would it be to sit around and wonder what could be diminishing when i'm finding ways to be a part of things that are going right.

trust and acknowledge and solvitur ambulando.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 394: amen

there's an old brewhouse of brick and tall windows downtown by the river. operates from here and i was there tonight again with my friend shawn, the site's owner and curator. turns out the building itself is bigger than i ever imagined and is filled with awesome creative spaces and vintage signs and mechanisms and one dusty old piano. i'm hoping to go back within a day or two to do some major photography work.

speaking of which, some of my photography was featured by a seattle band. check out garage voice's site here.

and i might have found a happy balance for employment and purpose. looks like i'll be starting a new position at my old sporting goods store in town to become a bike and snowboard technician. coming back to this place hasn't been as bad as i had feared it could have been. not bad at all, actually.

thanks so much for being a big part of everything that's happened on vancouver island, vancouver, seattle, fernie, montana, maple ridge, portland, and the ten thousand miles of road in between these places.

this is the end of the daily text version of the vagabonded raconteur. for now, at least. i promise nothing is going to change in real life. who knows, there may even be some short-term adventuring on the horizon already. but as for day-to-day, well, i've got to haul in the reigns of blogging so that i can refocus and concentrate on a few other aspects of development.

there's a column down a bit on the right side of the page that highlights certain portions of all this. i'll clean it up and make it a little more complete for you to review if you feel at a loss tomorrow morning. i'm probably going to feel at a loss tomorrow at midnight when, for the first time in three hundred ninety-four nights, i will not post.

here are two of my favorites right off the bat:

day 365: one year

day 238: thanks

and i've been gifted a flickr pro account, so i'll definitely be using that more often. you can see that grow here.

finally here are my goals, for i have long forsaken the pressures of plans and twisting of time:

- continue learning, using, and networking music, photography, writing, and video.
- become a certified bicycle and snowboard technician.
- work.
- keep the perspective and momentum that has resulted through all this.
- be ready for anything to happen next.
- always, always, always continue to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understandings. acknowledge Him in everything and allow these paths to continue to be directed.

thank you family, thank you friends, and thank you God for the opportunity, adventure, and life that has now become ALL THIS.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 393: the appendixes

i could be on the road right now. today felt like a day in a fernie or portland coffee shop- the flow and the timing and momentum are alive in this place.

yesterday was filled with questions of plans and next steps. i never know how to answer these questions anymore and i'm happy to tell people that i'm waiting to see how things move from here. it's what i'm used to. faith and trust.

today things moved.

i stopped in at the sporting goods store that i used to work at and visited my friend and manager. i was also looking for employment, but we didn't get to discussing that for a while. a re-interview is scheduled for tomorrow.

on the way out i ran into the girl who i'd started shooting weddings with last year. apparently there's some this summer and we're going to get in touch.

i dropped a black garbage bag of clothes at plato's closet consignment shop in the spirit of simplification and the thrifty pursuit of some cash. starbucks is right across the parking lot and i headed over to kill some time and read. there i recognized a prolific rockford area video producer. after some discussion and common acquaintance acknowledgements we traded contact info and reminisced free juno email and classic dial up service. good vibe.

moments later the bearded guy behind me spoke up over his laptop to ask about my book (the one mentioned yesterday). we started talking about writing and travels and, in the end, exchanged info and he offered a gig to write a hitch hiking article for his online magazine of which i'd read before. when i finally pushed my chair against the table during final goodbyes he said he was glad to have met someone like me in rockford. man, you too. you too.

photography. video. writing potentials. boom, boom, boom.

to be honest i was a little worried that coming home would result in a fading of the pursuit of these honest interests to the necessity of practical means and jobs and routines. also until today i felt that time was ticking here. now, i'm not so sure.

more acknowledging and more steps are happening in this place.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 392: the appendixes

hey, if you're checking this blog out today for the first time there's a little bar of titled links down on the right a bit. it may help.

i'm not sure why but i'm having trouble concentrating on writing from my house. i stopped by borders this afternoon to use a coupon on a book and grab a coffee and had written a post for tonight in my mind while driving to the barn for college group. now, though, i can't remember much. i really need a tiny tape recorder. i'm looking for one tomorrow after disappearing to read.

today was sweet and i'm now starting to have to pay attention to whom will become the focused audience of these posts. i want to keep it public and understandable for the world. that might get harder as 'home' places and people start to grow back into what had been all this, but this is a valuable and sweet continuation, so let it be.

but after sharing parts of this adventure's story and spiritual lessons in an adult sunday school class this morning and at our college group meeting tonight at the old barn i'm finding much contentment and peace in the wrapping up the lessons and provisions of every day that trails this post.

acknowledging and having paths directed is continuing here in this place.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 391: the appendixes

peel clothes from sweat adhesive. shower. apply denim and flannel. insert coffee. let sit for two hours minimum. ding.

this is the solution after a good ten hours of work and out-and-aboutness. look at that, busyness already. what is happening to me?

also, i have a confession.

i'm at a starbucks. i come forward to say this only because all other chains and northern illinois 'coffee places' (all three of them) are closed or are otherwise preparing for a night of flipping big macs or where waitresses are strapping on aprons and clearing throats for calling you 'honey' as they serve up country fried steak platters.

so i'm at a table and can't remember what motif this particular shop is arranged after. starbucked explains it all. but two families at the counter have just vaguely recognized each other as neighbors or past neighbors or friends of past neighbors. they don't seem too sure and this provides enough humor to externally bypass the awkwardness. besides, everyone in each family has a white cup in their hands. cool points go all around. they now part, each clan reciprocating that 'it was good seeing each again' even though fifteen seconds ago they were grinning under desperate glances. they're gone now.

another interesting conversation is floating over. two guys are determined to figure out life- tonight, if possible. the one with dark hair in an american eagle polo is doing the talking. he wants a motorcycle. doesn't care if it won't go over 55 mph. but he's also thinking about nursing school and more college. maybe in arizona. or going to disney land? he says he doesn't like the big city but would live in one so that he could drive away from it.

have you heard the stereotype for a midwesterner? i've been noticing basic over-reactions and an overall uptightness a little bit lately. nothing bad. sure you get every kind of person everywhere but i can see the truth to these sociological patterns of geography. am-i-talkingtoofast,too?

i found a sweet latin phrase online tonight.

solvitur ambulando. 'it is solved by walking' "suggests that some problems are [made clear] only as one goes forward in practical action."

ambulando on, man.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 390: the appendixes

here we are.

if you've been able to keep a track of the vagabond momentum then remember that today has been one week back in this place.

and i'm really not too convinced about the significance for marks of time like 'one year' or 'one week.' here or there. they happen and are observed but i'm not sure that anything exceptional has happened on these benchmark timetables.

this may as well be my third week back. then again, it feels like i may have never left. but i've found that i've stopped looking for the mountains and i don't try to plan a weekend around a hitch hike adventure to the beach. this means that i'm getting back into the midwest mindset. hm.

i've got to admit that i thought i was still keeping this up this blog because of the messages and inquiries about the future status of the vagabonded raconteur. and i am. but it's also kind of hard to stop. especially when everything that is 'home' is being seen in a new light.

i was thinking today how constantly having a camera whilst moving from place to place has the foundation and continual redefining of photographic perspective in a way i never could have otherwise understood. same for certain books and reading. music too.

but i'm working on revitalizing my flickr account. maybe check it out. work in progress.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 389: the appendixes

i'm trying to get in shape physically and photographically.

my flickr should be revitalized, cleaned up, and updated within a few days and i'm gonna keep going to the ymca. i'll keep you posted.

until then.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 388: the appendixes

i'm in the cafe at borders and there are two young business kids behind me. the girl, twenty-four maybe, works corporate sponsorship deals for mlb stadiums. the baby face, gel jet-black-bang boy is maybe early twenties in his suit and works with his uncle as a broker and, he's ready to add, investment and now insurance consultant. he says that he doesn't read books nor drink coffee. he likes water and baseball instead. they're talking about business and flying around the country and connecting flights and hotels and not getting much a chance for going out- an event that happens maybe once a month. they sound awfully important to each other.

this might be a perfect first date with no signs of nervousness. they are introducing themselves as if it were a blind date. there are no usual insecurities, however. no false starts and no stammers. these kids are conference-call toned with self affirmations of purpose and potential.

and after forty minutes they split, passing- it seems to me- like two yachts in the night.

i keep reading and am left without a clue for what has just happened behind my shoulders and under my ears.

and this is much later at wall blank headquarters. a chill environment to be certain.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 387: the appendixes

i miss outside. and not just the car-to-building-and-back walk or the here-to-there drive with the windows down. i miss sleeping and chilling and strumming and reading outside and riding bikes to get places (outside) where you might decide that the day is worth spending. outside.

but this is no lament. life's just different here.

i don't trust drivers on the road. and maybe i do like to use one sentence thoughts and answers. and in the light of this nuance of different geographical perspectives i'm still trying to retain goals instead of making plans. i'd rather earn friendships and responsibilities and daily means instead of immediately working for a busy paycheck. that's hard to explain sometimes.

i'm taking a step back, here, for a bigger perspective. an arial. in doing so i find some excitement and contentment on what is and could be happening around here. there's so much potential for peer development, art growth, musical cohesion, and revitalized community.

i haven't said much yet. maybe a sentence or two. but i'm paying attention to what's happening here and comparing it to what had been known as all this just four days ago.

maybe soon we should speak.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 386: the appendixes

there's all this land here in the midwest and it gives us space for our favorite things like growing corn and baseball and the building of many buildings and sandlots so that they will come. it also gives me the feeling of security for the holding of my junk and, although i'm sure there are pack rats and stuff collectors everywhere, i think that the absence of mountains and oceans do not help in reminding me that there's more to life than pockets and drawers and where there is to drive to and from. i've got my stuff on my mind and my mind on my stuff and there's too much of it. way too much.

and it hits me now that i'm back in my most established bedroom and am opening closets and shelves and boxes and finding that i have as much clothes as we combined seven travelers did during our five winter months in fernie. this is way too much.

it's disgusting, too, to fish through so many t shirts and sweaters and things that i've never worn. the combined 'high school sports' and 'missions trips' t-shirt piles already outweigh the amount of shirts i had on the road. over the past couple days i've noticed that i'm still wearing what i had with me over the past year from my backpack or rolling duffle. really, i want to keep it that way.

my goal is to eliminate eighty percent over the next couple weeks. let's have a garage sale.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 385: the appendixes

elton john's song 'rocket man' has been stuck in my head all day and i haven't yet determined what exactly i want to make of life back here.

i drove with this tune to church this morning excited about seeing so many long lost faces again. it turns out that i was the long lost face and some even claimed to have not recognized me at first. almost everyone offered hooking me up with a razor to which i politely affirmed that i already have one. i have a few, actually. dusty, and probably rusted by now too.

i'm definitely looking forward to start meeting with friends for dinners and coffee and lunches. let's do it soon, i'm currently unemployed!

most everything in the city seems physically normal except for maybe a new walgreens or some flashy corner market. but there's a new energy in seeing and relating with people. this morning was a blast. then there was an afternoon of badminton and chilling with friends and then a solo drive along a massive, midwest sunset. however it's impossible to forget about the sun's final resting spot at the edge of america.

i hadn't driven since my license expired in late february and now i was on the highway for the first time since and controlling my own momentum underfoot. i went through my old neighborhood and past the lawns of my old customers and past the high school and college. everything looks the same and still everything is different to me. the little camera in my mind is taking pictures all around town. fresh eyes.

by the way, i've got just over one month to get into shape for a pitching tryout with the mlb. i'm going hair and all- despite all heavily assumed standards.

here we are

devil's lake fall 2006?

devil's lake fall 2007?

and rock cut state park yesterday

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 384: the appendixes

maybe doing something for three hundred eight-three days is a hard thing to stop on the dime no matter what the day or occasion. especially when i feel that nothing has really ended. i also appreciate the messages asking about the future of the blog. i leave that up to you under two conditions: there must be something relevant to be said about the transition to familiar life here and there's gotta be someone who wants to read them.

i am home though. and tomorrow i'll go to my home church and see a bunch of people who i've missed and who maybe have missed me. i'm kind of excited and am hoping that it'll be worth recounting.

today after the montana friends had left for their chicago wedding i met up with two of my best friends here in rockford and we went on a bike ride through the state park. i miss biking and it reminded me of portland. now a few of us have cooked out and shawn's front porch reminds me of portland. the big dipper does too, although i've watched the stars many times recently from various shores and mountains and cities and rooftops.

but enough about places. the only place i am for now is home. and i'm starting to see that, not surprisingly, not much has changed but most of all i'm starting to feel that there's never going to be short-answer justice done for the questions on what has happened. but that's okay, i guess, because i figured that this would be the case a while ago.

but anyways, i'll be seeing more rockford people soon. tomorrow. and this week. and for the rest of you all over the world, well, keep a weathered eye on the horizon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 383

i'm at my kitchen table in the quiet hours that around here are usually always well before midnight. my laptop is sitting next to the well-traveled 'through painted deserts' (for those semi-forsaken but never forgotten nostalgic reasons of preconceived notion) and under both of these is an opened road map showing the coast-to-coast interstates of america. you know this map. it's the oft mentioned atlas purchased well over a year ago while i was holding dreams and desire for the pacific northwest.

we descended the illinois border a few minutes before five o'clock this morning. the hazy mist of fresh light and damp corn fields started giving way to familiar sights. "trippy.. trippy. man" were about the only words i whispered to myself as forgotten landmarks and signs started to label home. maybe the four hours of sleep during the previous twenty-two straight had something to do with a lack of words as well.

now i stared dumbfounded at the house- my house, beige and two stories and with a new car in the driveway that i didn't even recognize. but i knew my jeep. i shook her dew by the luggage racks and said hello. i went inside alone. my parents came downstairs. i kid and ask my mom if i can live here for a little while longer. everything inside looks normal and yet everything seems to deserve a glance of greeting. this is happening... i'm really back after all that happened... hey, look, a coherent dish and silverware collection (no more eclectic thrift store combos) and exceptionally soft carpet (no more gnarly winter carpet or squeaky wood floors). wow, i really like my house. hey, my guitar. breakfast. etc.

my mom cooks breakfast for all of us and we sit around the table introducing and eating and telling road trip stories.

here two worlds have connected between two years and points of two thousand miles. but in the veins my one being i find incredible satisfaction and BALANCE in this manner of return. to me- because these infamous (if you've read this blog every day) montana friends are here in my house- there is no end.

tonight two of those three original montana girls are staying over along with the two other friends who had caravaned to rockford. after breakfast they had driven to pick up another from the airport and to spend the afternoon checking out chicago. i went to my seventeen year old brother's regional pitching start. he dominated while being watched by scouts and colleges and reporters alike.

much later, after dinner and cake and hanging out with these relocated friends and rediscovered family, there is a jam session with all of us in the front room. my family acknowledges this return of music. is this really happening?

tomorrow they will head back to the big city and their wedding destination and then will hit the road west. tomorrow i will stay home and meet my local friends. but tonight, right now in this last minute midnight, i have with me some of the very friends of the memories and excitement and adventures that has become all this. they're here in the house i once left for a place where no one knew my name and i'm sitting in the kitchen where i'd once stood and held my arms out in frustration and excitement to try to explain that i was headed to vancouver island to do video work at a camp for the summer and that i felt there might be more to follow.

this doesn't feel like an end at all. to be honest,

i don't think there is ever going to be an end

to the kind of life

for what has become



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 382

a faint, pastel sunrise begins to glow after a couple hours of driving through the staggering murky peaks of glacier national park. soon horses and cows dot alternating green and yellow pastures that plane and roll endlessly in all directions under the creeping orange of daylight. small, crusty towns like browning, montana, punctuate these long stretches of highway with clusters of mobile homes and old pickup trucks and maybe a wooden saloon and the red neon lights of motel or two. this is the WILD WEST- the space, the sky, the sunrise, and the mountains.

by the time we get lunch in the badlands we have been on the road for nine hours. these sluggish tourist traps that hang amidst snarling cliffs will also soon fade harmlessly past our windows. we're cruising up to fargo, north dakota, and might need to get more gas and coffee. soon the air smells like mowed grass and blossoming trees and asphalt at minnesota's first rest stop and i find that i miss the salty air of that last night in seattle and even the mild portland breeze. a grey glaze of midwest clouds accompanies another time change. we're picking up someone else in minneapolis and four-strong (melody, her friend adam, and another yet-to-be-introduced friend are heading to chicago for a wedding) we will charge into another midnight and across another highway and county and community of star-sleeping america.

this is almost it. a long time ago i'd taken certain songs and books maybe too seriously and had badly wanted to go somewhere where no one knew my name. now here has been lived the long-dreamed opportunities for the life always wanted and which has since unfolded in a way i could have never ever, ever, ever imagined, given to me through acknowledgements of faith and risk and relationships and trusting and the taking and directing of these small steps. even right this second there's a passing white billboard with green print that simply says, 'be grateful.' don't worry, sign. i am.

and now as i count miles and subtract hours i also wonder

what is my responsibility in returning from all this?

i prepare to return to illinois with my palms nearly as empty as when i'd left three hundred and eighty-two days ago with no bank account and four hundred dollars cash in pocket. but my heart is full and excited and my head maybe just as inspired and, if nothing else, i feel more alive and content and spiritually aware and rationally relational because of this specific rubbing of time and people and places and through the continual seeking of wisdom and stature with both God and man. i don't think that life is ever going to be the same- but i don't care if it is or isn't or will or won't because, nonetheless, this life has remained life in its daily, unfolding manner and i hope that i've made the most of it. i think i have.

the plan then is this- to pray, to love, and to keep trying to do the right thing and hopefully inspire the next guy to do the same. help me?

thank you for both physically and vicariously staying with me and being a part of this adventure. i mean it. i never expected that a one-way flight to vancouver could turn into so much (i bet that the canadian border patrol wouldn't have ever guessed that either, but we're cool). even on the very first day (with a now infamous slurpee in hand) i could feel reason and purpose for starting to write and observe. now the momentum and people and places has continued to grow and build and connect and it's all coming back home.

what else is there to say.

thank you family. thank you new and old friends. thank you God.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 381

a shower and a decent breakfast are awesome. it's been a while since either and i was almost starting to get tired of smelling like a lumber yard and feeling like survivorman. but there's something to be said about the joy of being unrubbed. i'm clean and calm now in this montana coffee shop but i realize that i felt especially sharp and aware and happy while wearing dust. maybe this is the reason certain smart kids in junior and senior high school never shower. that and the grimy mustache might have been a big part of the reason they seemed so advanced. the metamorphosis is complete. try it.

here it is. the list. this isn't the last post but i've got other things planned for the next few days. over the past few weeks i've started trying to recall the names and events of the ways that God has provided over the past year. it's impossible to draw the line and thank everyone by name and i'll probably be adding more connections but this will at least give you an idea on how things have progressed thus far. thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

:the list:

shawn kelley, rockford illinois; tells me about qwanoes.

maywood missions committee pays transportation costs to vancouver island (and provided return fare which will be used soon).

mom and dad; rockford, illinois, let me go without either of our understanding my ''feeling for something more afterwards.''

dan and sherry bader, surrey, bc; give ride (and lunch) from airport to ferry

qwanoes roommates tyler, matt, brendan.

russ smith; nick and ryan rest of video crew.

shaun, paul, tim became new, good friends at camp.

dave clark and his car

wesley dong, the camp cook who would leave late night packages of food in the fridge marked 'for joe and friends.'

kirk anderson and family. epic breakfast. host shaun, paul, and i for the three days off midsummer vacation.

kent anderson. gives fernie tips. former professor to pastor shawn barden.

parker gohrick. a brother.

ken and gail gohrick. house. work. wisdom. second family.

sarah and chuck are our hookup during a weekend in portland.

eric able to bring me my snowboard gear from home on his way through washington to kaleo bible school.

shawn kelley's friend dillon picks me up after initial border rejection, offers place to stay.

kirk anderson. lunch in usa and stay at his house after getting through border.

shawn, danielle, dan, and sherry. night and dinner with them in surrey.

andrew and adam. load car and drive to fernie.

andrew's parent's frequent flyer miles that gave us two free nights at the best western.

fernie fellowship baptist church. pastor shawn barden.

marion offers janitor job during announcements and i get position and paperwork.

jeremy and jesse offer temporary stay until we move into our place.

veronica gives me one-way lift to cranbrook for s.i.n. number.

the first hitchhiking experience of what would become many scores a ride with alex on the way back to fernie.

jeremy, jesse, scott, and jez for sharing their house and helping us get adjusted in town.

housemates and friends tim, tyler, jon, shaun, adam, and paul for their stellar and unique personalities and community.

shauntelle puts fifty dollars in my palm a couple sundays later explaining that her blessing have become mine. so clutch.

randi gives me thirty dollars in grocery cards for my birthday.

tim gives book and twenty bones for bday.

bethany franck and family hosts our house for christmas eve and her father says that 'he would hope someone would do the same for his child if they were away from home for christmas.'

ian becomes friend and was always generous and kind to everyone.

the tea house partnership for weekend music in exchange for free coffee and that day's tips. pays groceries.

scott hooks me up with two days jackhammering work at the resort.

scott helps me get piano gig at 4.5 star resort via hotel owners.

montana girls melanie and melody and jenna are introduced at a birthday party in whitefish.

melanie lends me her keyboard and monitor for the winter.

the montana three show ultimate kindness and generosity every time we came down to visit or snowboard.

bob at the pawn shop sells me accordion for one hundred fifty bones. our band starts soon after because of accordion and mel's piano.

jeremy, ian, dion, and i get weekend gigs where we play shows for ski bums, locals, and friends. church janitor job provides key and access to practice space and gear.

jeni offers me clutch events volunteer job that gives me free ski pass. would have hardly been able to ride if not for this.

tyler lends me one of his extra snowboards for the winter after mine breaks.

keith from guild invites me to writer's workshop.

jerri at mug shots hooks up coffee and chocolate milk at the coffee shop and teaches a unique appreciation of the english accent.

bruce and snowboarders for christ let me sleep in sfc house the last night in town.

crystal gives ride from fernie to kelowna at end of march.

karen's kindness and hospitality will never be forgotten in kelowna.

tyler offers two week stay with him in maple ridge near vancouver.

stu, wendy, and jesse wilson.

stu is super cool.

wendy is super cool.

jesse is super cool ten year old.

video guy ryan from summer and i meet up in vancouver and offers stay at his place.

phil picks tyler and i up once on the island.

eric and his family take my winter gear back home and drop me at ferry in victoria bound for port angeles, washington. leaving canada.

glen and andrea pick up my hitchhiking self and take me as far as poulsbo, washington.

gail gohrick picks me up at a ferry.

ken gives me a few days of work and asks me to speak at youth group. good connections.

parker comes back and we head into seattle.

jeremy lets us crash at his place.

parker, andy, cole, robert, todd, and jason welcome me into their house and i sleep on the front porch couch in portland for the month.

parker hooks me up with bike for pdx transportation.

craig and son spencer give me a hitch from cannon beach to portland and turn out to be christians with much in common.

ken gives parker, me, and robert a couple day's work at his house in washington. and more awesome food.

ian, nate, melody, and jeremy pick me up in seattle for sasquatch music festival at the gorge.

melody and parents provide breakfast and much needed shower.

melody, adam, and amy become the ride to illinois on their way to a wedding in chicago. perfect timing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 380

the highway opens into short green alfalfa fields and rows of manicured grape vines and brown dusty rows of plowed soil and i start to realize that nothing is really happening now that we've left our camping spot in the dusty grass. this van-hyped road trip is just miles until suddenly the momentum of speed and moving and friends shifts in my mind to thinking that anything can happen and had happened and is happening right now. add some tunes to the understanding that anything else is possible and that you're in a car with friends and books and the road trip vibe is suddenly alive and well.

we are all also amazed and proud of ourselves that none of us smell bad for having not showered in several days. at least we think so. now, after much driving, i have a surprise.

i am back in fernie, bc, canada.

i never expected this, really, and it's kind of trippy to suddenly come back in a brand new season after having closed this chapter in my mind just about two months ago. but ian and nate and melody had left from here for the festival and this is where her car is so we're back to grab the vehicle and head down to montana. nate has also given me one of his recently cut dreads as a remembrance present. i'm going to use it as a bookmark.

fernie is just as beautiful in the late spring as it was in the late fall. i went to the organic market for coffee and to say hey to the owners. classic. and there's someone new living in our house, although i didn't care to go see the flat.

this geographic symmetry is awesome. i never thought i'd be back so soon, albeit for a couple hours. some of us are headed for montana tonight.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 379

over a year ago i had to write a twelve page, final research paper on bigfoot for a college english course. it almost killed me. think about writing four or five pages on proving or disproving sasquatch. now triple that amount. man, it was bad. but my classmates and i had joked about skipping class and flying to washington to find him ourselves and avoiding the drudgery of debunking the mystical creature. ironically, then, i'm now able to say i found sasquatch. in washington. he exists in the form of thousands of people (mostly hippies) camping next to a vineyard and attending a three day music festival at the edge of a massive gorge. the sasquatch music festival.

the third and main stage is backed against a massive valley where a blue river cuts through the gorge. euphoric beauty. the crowd faces the stage in a colosseum-style seating of escalating levels of grass berms elevated by rocky ledges. almost like switchbacks except they're parallel and grassy.

i got the set list from one of my favorite bands blitzen trapper. the fleet foxes were stellar. ben harper was the closing act and played with the passion of a man counting grains of sand whilst sucking an entire lemon. that's the only way i can describe the intenseness. there were so many other good bands and i'm kind of disappointed that i only went to the last day. such a good time.

i've got a surprise for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 378

turns out i didn't have internet for more than just one day. i can explain.

we left parker's house and headed for downtown seattle where melody, ian, nate, and jeremy were going to meet and pick me up on. remember that old dick's burger diner from a month ago? parker, robert, and i headed there, said our goodbyes, and they dropped me off so that they could get back to portland. i waited under the shade of the side of the building with my backpack and rolling bag and with a milkshake until ian's familiar maroon windstar cruised into the parking lot not even an hour later. fernie reunion.

ian's a good dude but this australian did not have my confidence in his driving abilities. at least not when we started off this afternoon. while on a one-way, he decides to pull a u-turn to get back to the flow of traffic, all the while cars are honking and he's getting angry exclaiming that 'there are no one ways' in his hometown in australia.'

the five of us wandered pike place market for a bit and saw a sign for mar's hill church. we went to the downtown campus and sat in the second half of the service (none of us had gone to church in the morning). the church looked like a trendy furniture store or maybe an urban outfitters but i met some cool people who answered my questions about mark driscoll's ministry. as brent and i talked we (once again for me) found similarity in the 'west coast is my mecca' trend. he was from iowa. but we talked about all this and about his journey and the over-clicheness it has become to 'go out to find yourself'. he jokingly asked if i'd found myself on my trip and i laughed, saying that i think i had a long time ago. i don't think i've ever left myself since. all that jazz. he told me about the ministry in seattle- to which some have apparently nicknamed free-attle, since churches in places like denver give homeless bus tickets to seattle. people really do want to seem to appear to be trying to be caring about loving other people and making a difference in the name of Jesus. that is huge in the pac north. no doubt.

still, our crew was a sight to see. ian, in hs faded jeans and crumpled flannel a, had gotten a special 'haircut' that turned out to be a buzz except for three patches at the front, middle, and down the back of his head. they're not connected and definitely not a mohawk because they're not even all going the same direction. he looks crazy. nate cut most of his 4 years of dreads off except for a clump of strands in the back. an ultimate mullet. i just wore a bandana as has become usual and an undershirt-free flannel shirt. i was elated, then, when a passerby on the sidewalk cursed us 'hippies'. yes, we are. but sadly we'd seen this guy in the church service a little bit earlier where we'd all left after a sermon about loving people even if they're different. nice. we were definitely different today. ian looked homeless and crazy and i'm surprised we got served at a nice, waterside restaurant who's happy hour menu was significantly cheap.

we head back to central washington tonight to camp in preparation for tomorrow's full day at the sasquatch music festival at the gorge.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 377

another sunny day and eight-plus hours of work. feels good to be so tired.

steak, hamburgers, hotdogs, bbq chicken. we sat around with this family of whom has really become a strong second or third to me. we were outside for hours, literally, eating and chilling and telling stories well after the big dipper had hung its ladle in a black sky and the frogs where chirping lullabies up and down the lakeshore.

the first edition of these few following lines were once used in a print. that would have been months ago by now but for some reason the words came back to me today. it was something about being cared for more than birds.

not coins or fear or what bothered me before
if i am faithful, i am more.

birds on wire never forgotten
and if my own heart were mine, if i were still rotten

i'd find no peace in what i've dreamed.
but because these birds fly and are always seen, i have life. i can be free.

p.s. i may not have internet tomorrow night. we'll see what happens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 376

it's a little strange sleeping inside again. there were only five times while in portland that i wasn't either sleeping outside on the front porch couch or beach side during the cannon beach trek. even weirder still is that i've returned for the third time in the past year to 'my room' with the gohricks in washington. i literally keep work shoes here for these moments. so convenient.

we worked over eight hours in the sun wheelbarrowing and pouring concrete, moving mulch, and doing landscaping. we've got one more full day tomorrow and me, parker, and robert are all thankful for the couple days' work provided.

i love how the geographic cycle has been repeated in rhythmic symmetry. i spent almost two months here before going to fernie back in the fall and was here last month before going to portland. now we're back to work and i can feel the tide ebbing out again.

there'll be some surprises over the next few days. paths. people. places.

get ready.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 375

hey thanks for checking out the blog if you're doing it for the first time after we may have met earlier tonight at the show. stay in touch.

i've got to admit that i've flaked on sharing anything real for the past couple days. you might have noticed that. now after today i'm not sure i'll be able to make much sense of some important things but i'm going to try right now.

i'd never expected to feel anything major when the time to leave portland would have come but now that i'm riding north on a dark highway 5 i find that i have something that feels like a small furry creature that's burrowing down at the base of my throat. actually it's not that bad. parker, friend robert, and i are heading to parker's parents to do a couple days' concrete work for his dad.

but portland had long ago been a place in my mind that had seemed attractive because of what i'd read and heard from other people's distant and exciting lives. after settling into town few weeks ago i was confused by the incoherency of identity that i thought i noticed with people. but now that i'm leaving i feel like i've come to understand this collection of 'non-portlanders' in a totally different and foreign and familiar way than i ever had ever imagined a community could function. now i'm suddenly surprised to be pushing out from within a place that had such strange and distant priority to me so long ago. i've really grown to love the guys at the clinton house and the group of friends and the coffee shops and books and church and especially my blue one-speed cruiser bike, adele, with whom i had to break up with this afternoon. i won't go into detail but i can't say that she saw it coming and i thought she seemed particularly blue in her new, dark corner of the basement. i'm reminded of all these things as the green highway signs count down the miles to seattle.

''maybe it's a sign that portland is the place for you,'' parker says and we play bon iver on the cd player and shoot through alternating patches of yellow light and black darkness in the flow of red tail lights.

noah gundersen and a couple other bands were in town and played a gig at our house tonight. we've left right after the bands loaded their gear into their van.

i'll edit this tomorrow. i'm looking forward to processing things during labor work the next couple days.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 374

i'd written a whole different post at palio's this afternoon but got distracted while looking through old files. the following are old thoughts and i like them now more than ever because they've somehow found their way into what has become all this.

friday, april 18, 2008

[to be free]

bring to the shore the power of the ocean to forgive this mind of a selfish life
stand beneath the shadow of a mountain to be made small apart from my spiraling stride

bind these eyes with the silky stillness that only stars of midnight give
shine through the wild with the deepest silence that man himself barely lets live

show me the beauty thats been twisted up in a lie
let unravel her mystery, breathing warmth from the sky
lift up my vision higher than your blind ever see
give me the life, to be free, that few longer believe.

monday, january 14, 2008

[semester 2]

we have options. we have convenience. we have time. we have life.

we have dreams. we have reasons. we have plans. we have plans.

we are unified. we are distinguished. we are separate. we are whole.

we are searching. we are finding. we are surprised. we are surprised.

in the rush of our fleeting youth and amidst the creation and exinction of relationships and the little parts of ourselves we try to hold together, i want more



i will learn of and seek this during these days that now lead to warm weather.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 373

i've got some sweet news- there's a new photo on by the time you read this it will probably have been yesterday's debut but it'll still be up.

here's the print. it's a simple shot and would be almost meaningless if not for the momentum and presence it represents. there's even a few words about it on the wall blank blog. i'm definitely stoked and humbled to be a part of this collaboration with

so maybe check things out a bit?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 372

there's a pretty big flat roof warehouse right next to the house so last night we had the idea to pull our blankets and sleeping bags and get on over. we slept there, discreetly, under the stars while downtown portland sparkled across the river. euphoric, man.

i saw the north west neighborhood of portland today and ended up at a cool tea place that had a balcony. good times.

on the way to chill solo at powell's bookstore i noticed about three or four different people aimlessly walking and talking at the air. each person paused after making eye contact but would just as quick pull their glazed stares away and continue their stroll and bizarre monologue. funny how you can't wonder why so many people talk to themselves without inevitably catching yourself in stride and asking the air 'why so many people walk and talk to themselves.' whoops.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 371

hey, hopefully everything is caught up and clear for the past couple days. today will be short in order to give some catch-up time if you want it. friday and saturday were pretty sweet days.

we went to church this morning and i went to two services in a row at imago dei in hopes of running into the people who'd given me a hitch yesterday. i saw spencer at the second service and he introduced me to his mom. good to see the people again.

this weekend has been the first real taste of summer thus far. after my solo beach adventures yesterday, parker, housemate robert, and i went to parker's cousin's apartment to grill out and swim in the private apartment complex pool. today was hot and we got full and tan and this sunday turned out to be sweet in many regards. man, it's been so good to become friends with the dudes at this house and the people of the greater community.

but go read yesterday and friday if you haven't already. they're way cooler, even though today was fun and worthwhile.

"i, the brine
you, the sea
us, the ocean;
swallow me."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 370

part ll

sleeping on the front porch at the boys' house in portland has long gotten me used to the five-thirty sunrise. i sleep a while longer among the leaves and branches before packing up from my spot on the beach at eight forty-five after only a few hours of sleep.

after making sure the coast is clear (pun), i pop out of the bush with my pack, grab some coffee at a shop, and head for the rocks. i read ecclesiastes as people walk in pairs, play with their dogs, and ride horses? along the morning water.

an hour later greg at the mariner's market rings up my priced-to-sell bbq chicken wraps and answers my questions about going north to sea side beach. he's my age, i'd guess, and is friendly as he tells me about the bus that runs on the hour from cannon beach. seventy-five cents is a worthy fare for this service. as i wait at the information center with my cheap breakfast i watch as a shiny, blue truck of four old men pull up. one man is driving and the other talks to the driver. two more men sit back on the flat tailgate and hop off at various stops around the small town to install american flags in beams and holders. this seems to be their only job and apparently it takes all four of them for this duty. elsewhere four generations of women walk the sidewalk. shoulder-to-shoulder and in white sweaters they march their blockade and talk about trinkets and shops and about not forgetting the importance of all buying 'cannon beach' hoodies together.

the bus comes fast around the corner and thankfully i get up in time to meet its short stop. i'm the only one boarding apparently (although i'll later see two other people at this same bus stop at sea side- they must have missed this swift opportunity). a skinny older man with a greasy pony tail and thin grey mustache drives the bus and tells me his pacific northwest hitch hiking tales as he drinks from a can of orange soda. he started work this morning at five am and also tells me that he thinks that i'm brave for traveling these parts alone. i ask him what that means. 'cannon and up north in astoria are pretty mellow and safe, but you gotta watch yourself in sea side. the carnies can make it dangerous. watch out for them.' i'm not really interested in asking for the exact physical definition of a 'carnie' because after this statement he begins another anti-climactic hitch hiking story and adds that 'these parts are pretty safe' and then begins to give me a description and the ins-and-outs of sea side. soon he drops me off next to a mcdonalds on the main street.

i don't like sea side. it's a gritty carnival strip of boutiques and shops and a tall line of mid-standard hotels like the shilo inn that block the ocean view from anywhere else besides the sand. there are bumper cars and candy stores and hundreds and hundreds of people streaming down broadway towards the beach. the sun is hot and i only have jeans and a tshirt. i walk away from the crowds along the massive shoreline and stop a ways out at a log to read the book of james. i also walk along the dunes to look for a decent sleeping/hiding place for tonight. there are none here and after four hours of reading and wandering and wading in the water i'm ready to head back to cannon. i catch another seventy-five cent bus.

here's where it starts to get cool.

i'm back at the sleepy monk coffee roasters to read and evaluate the next step. i chat with the baristas who remember me from yesterday and some of the customers join our conversation about places and traveling and youth as they move in and out of the line. the shop clears out and one of the baristas comes to my table and asks if anyone at the shop has told me about the 'special' hiding spot on cannon beach. she says it's a well kept secret and shares with me this place that sounds much better than my bush camp.

i'm not sure what to do at this point. i could go back to portland or i could stay another night. i'm easy. i start to write 'portland?' on a piece of cardboard in preparation for opting to at least attempt a hitch tonight when a light haired man and his son re-enter the coffee shop.

here's where it starts to get cooler.

'hey, we'll give you a ride. we live in vancouver (the northern suburb of portland, not canada).' craig and his son spencer have been surfing today and we hop into their grey nissan xtera. we swing by the pizza shop which, as they tell me, is their weekend surf trip tradition. they buy me a slice and we chill outside and get to know each other. he's a principal at a school for the blind. i tell him a little about my travels and education. all throughout there's a good vibe. a subtle denominator.

as we ride he answers my questions about blind students and tells me facts about student life and the hardships of post-education. most of it is sad stuff- like the seventy percent unemployment rate for the blind. i can tell he really cares about his students and, for that matter, people in general. i mention working at a camp in one of my answers and he mentions youth group. when i mention imago dei church in portland the two of them jump in their front seats. they go there.

so i find myself in a car with two christian people who'd offered me, a stranger, an eighty-plus mile ride from cannon beach to portland. the whole way back is awesome conversation about churches and education and the blind and his family and my travels. flawless. when we get into portland i tell them that i can catch the buses the rest of the way to the south east neighborhood. they maintain that they'll take me all the way- to the doorstep of the house even. i jump out and thank them again and tell them that they've been a clutch part of all this. i finish shaking their hands and craig says to thank his son who'd, when they were outside the coffee shop, had told his dad that he thought they should take me with them. craig had agreed and they came back in to get me right before i'd walked out the other door with my cardboard sign.

this was, hands down, the perfect ending to this little retreat. it makes me smile again to remember and type out this fast little summary. i'm not really going to put too much down about ecclesiastes and james but if you want you can try reading them together sometime. you might not have an ocean to go with it but i find that they're a nice mix nonetheless.

thank you, again, God for all this.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 369

part l

i've done it. i'm at the coast.

sand. birds. wind. sun. rock. cannon beach.

i've exchanged spring air for the may brine and my lungs are full.

andy calls this 'the edge of america.' he's right.

the ocean.

three of us came out for the day. two went back and now i'm here, pack and pad and pen, for a day or two and alone. i'm sitting on a log with my legal pad this very moment. i just told a man from canada that i don't have weed after he'd sat down and made small talk before popping the question. do i look like someone who carries that? actually don't answer that. but i don't and never have.

my first goal is to find a place to sleep. i started talking to shop workers and they've directed me to mike at the surf shop. apparently he's friends with some cops and knows what's up. mike tells me of a safe place away from patrol that's a far walk and i thank him and leave the shop. a man at a coffee shop across the street gives me a few burlap coffee bean sacks on request (for tonight's pillow and also for danielle's business) and tells me that cops patrol the beach with a spotlight from a truck. "maybe twice a night. just don't pop up when you see the lights flashing," he warns before adding a 'good luck.'

you know that patch of tall beach foliage that always seems to border the last steps of the boardwalk and just before the sandy short grass grows? i found a tunnel in it and it leads back. deep. after clearing enough of a patch for my tarp and sleeping bag i pop back out for more writing and the sunset.

goal number two is debrief. not speak. read. listen and write. be quiet. smell the brine. watch birds and people. i make notes on this yellow pad for you. i'm here to reflect and collect the past year. will be home soon. i have much to tell and i'm trying to get it all in order.

the sun is starting to dip behind haystack rock. i walk the sand and take about a hundred sunset pictures. the golden sun and smashing waves and giant rock and flocking birds are a straight scene from 'into the wild.'

i retreat to the hidden patch just after sunset at nine fifteen p.m. and settle down but hear people coming. teenage girls giggle about discovering a tunnel and i quietly joke that i can barely outsmart a thirteen year old girl as i throw leaves over the pack and scurry deeper. i hope no one actually finds me cause this is my only bedding for the night. the waves' roar cover the sound of snapping twigs. no one ever comes in all the way.

full darkness after ten. cold comes creeping up from sand and through the bush. i have my sleeping bag on tarp with a burlap coffee sack as a pillow. i watch mice scurry acrosss the overhanging branches of this hidden catherdral and i weight out the biggest threats to the night: people, dogs, mice, snakes, and moths, but soon decide that the moths are fine. i find much inner peace and contentment as the tarp contours with the dirt and i warm in my sleeping bag and settle into a blue and salty night sleep.

tomorrow i'll wake on the ocean.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 368

today took five minutes.

i'm heading for the beach tomorrow. expect delayed but relevant posts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 367

* while at the coffee shop this rainy afternoon i wondered about the strange balance of the worthlessness and vitality of thoughts. i wrote a short story about them but can't put the whole thing up right now. maybe i'll chop a few bits up and put them down instead because some of the characters might be real people and the i might not be me. inspired maybe by ecclesiastes*

... we live on thoughts. does a life's significance revolves around the thousand inner echoings which, at the end of the day, might whittle down to only a handful of permanence? they come out, in word, into the outer chamber. who hears them? what would it even matter. it wouldn't matter hardly one bit if i told you my thoughts and you told me yours because, really, we're too busy hoping on our own.

.. give me a deal. a start. a bonus. cool points. anything. give me a place to use these free inbreeds in exchange for much return. 'i don't want to be rich,' one such intention stoically states, 'but i would accept pompous wealth only under terms that this very thought, wrought previously in a humbled and meager lifestyle, were to achieve their greatest possible potential and only then gain their reward. yes, then i would accept wealth- but only in order to benefit all those around me." and the thought grows heavier and fatter on the brain.

so it goes. i have thoughts on freedom, but usually these ones are too busy prying the hinges and orifices of mind. they need out. these are the so-called laymen for a greater reality and they need self realization before it's too late. others, like the career thought, is triumphantly scorned. it is dispensability celebrated under a pile of loftier and lighter ideas through hopes of handout or easier way. it holds the same demeanor of wealth's, conveniently hiding an ugly sneer of cowardice until, perchance, realization does precedes initiation, for whenever action might strike the horizon and these morbid thoughts begin to grow excited together- chanting, waiting, hoping. they're suddenly collected for redemption. they're ready to happen. they're ready to feel the self actualization of their unique importance. they are about to get what they think they deserve.

so i ran away from them.

i ran away to try and find for myself what i do or don't deserve because i thought i knew that it was out there. i thought these thoughts were my gift but they were not. i deserve nothing and will get it and now the thoughts of young experience and mere memories tell me that i deserve nothing and that it dangerously can become all that i never worked to get.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 366

today involved a ton of bike riding and reading on a sunny day. parker and i went for another ride during the magic hour right before sunset to do some filming and photography around downtown.

afterwards we met some friends at mississippi pizza for some live music. don miller sat a couple people to my left and as he scooted out of the booth he turned back to tell my friend sarah to call him later this week. he was once a massive inspiration to me.

sorry i don't have much to say today. yesterday was the big post.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 365

[part l]
undoubtably the greatest of these days have been the narrowest ones- the wildest and most invigorating moments of circumstances uncovered when freedom of choice and vision were no longer valid and when risk and faith and desire consequently began to grow together. these were the days of hitch hiking and unconnected paths and new people and places. these were the eves of night-staring and the sleepless weighing of thoughts and yearnings and praying. it was never easy, yet these paths and people continued to connect in countless ways.

"trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings. in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." proverbs 3:5-6.

i've found that to 'not try too hard' is a very hard thing to do. and by not trying too hard for the strenuous and confining coming-of-age checklist i have found a massive zeal for a life away from what had always seemed normal, required, and sometimes boring.

that sentence could be summed up by this thought, spurred by personal reaction in many vastly contrasting scenarios: complacency is heaviest where comfort is softest. freedom is more than an ill-labeled consumer's asset. money has very little do to with happiness.

had i not left, i might not have ever had a bountiful thanks for past privileges like my jeep (which i love and miss and am also trying sell, make an offer). a cell phone. a job. a family. home. food. thinking back, my biggest 'problems' then would have involved petty materialistic pursuits and the overanalyzing of relationships which could have been better invested and developed on more human and spiritual terms.

however, i am head-over-heals ready to tell of the fruits and ultimate, God-given privileges experienced and received and vicariously shared throughout the past year. i mentioned that i had started side project a week or so ago and i'm continuing to add names and deeds of the hundreds of people who, usually unknowingly, have had a profound impact on my life and this journey. that list will appear in the final post, whenever that is, and you'll probably be involved in some way. thank you for that.

[part ll]
what am i going to do now? i have no idea. if i was even to begin to be honest with this inevitable question, i would at least approach it with the understanding that i've found a strange security in insecurity- a paradoxical relationship that would have never before seemed possible. however, if i were also to be honest, i would look back on these writings and posts with slight embarrassment knowing that not much significance has been produced because, although there is a year's mass and ten thousand miles, i've hardly once written connected and forward sentences on anything greater than my own observations and feelings. just now at palio's coffee shop i read a line in the introduction of judson jerome's book the poet's handbook and have highlighted the following sentences: anything goes. poetry legitimates narcissism in this age of narcissus. one can become absorbed in one's own image and be indifferent to whether or not there is an audience besides oneself. who needs a handbook to learn how to do that?

and yesterday i'd mentioned the conclusion that a person can become anything he wants in their own eyes if not held responsible. this is dangerous.

regardless, i've also come to realize that hardly anybody will really, truly be interested in hearing the story. some will ask about my one or two favorite parts. or the scariest. or the most dangerous, etc. people fall in love with summaries. those questions are natural and perfectly fine. my biggest regret, i'll tell you right now, was getting a haircut and beard trim in february because, if i hadn't, i would have gone an entire year without a razor. that would have been a feat in of itself. only nine more new months to go for that one i guess.

i remember debriefing in malaysia towards the end of summer 2007's australia missions trip and talking with some of my team members about how many of their friends back home will hardly be as interested in everything that had happened in as much that they'll ask a couple questions and maybe, for a couple weeks, be slightly more inclined to casually notice any queues (way too many vowels in that word) and traces of a changed life. and then life will keep changing. for everyone. keep your best couple stories handy but don't hand over a book version of some daily blog or anything. who would want to read that? but now if, after an inevitable return marked for sometime soon, you were to look hard into my eyes and say ''tell me'' (just like that, actually) then i will gladly chill with you (probably at a coffee shop) and unravel the bits and pieces of how my soul and life have been shook and transformed and could tell you much more than what this blog has ever eluded to because, undeniably, there is so much more.

i feel incredibly blessed by and through this experience. i had never imagined this kind of life and adventure was even possible- even when i had finger-traced highway routes from illinois to portland over one year ago or when i'd visited that house of twenty-something (did i just say twenty-something? is that me now?) musician guys in wisconsin. that was long before i knew of vancouver island. or fernie. or, for that matter, before even considering that canada could actually be a sweet place that supported more than deserted tundra and igloos and polar bears. wait, there aren't polar bears in canada? joke. but still.

so what now? should i keep blogging every day for the rest of the adventure? the obvious answer is yes. i think an official habit is formed after something like twenty-seven repetitions and by now i literally, subconsciously and automatically, create daily outlines in my mind for that night's post, even if i can't remember anything when it's crunch time (i also have learned to not trust the 'faulty camera in my mind' and to immediately write down or photograph or record any thought, scene, or tune that calls for remembrance). and there's the pocket notebook of unexpended and unfulfilled ideas and inspirations collected along the way. i don't think i could stop if i tried. it's cool though. a year is a pretty solid number by any means. it's been many moons. if anything, however, i hope that there's been at least one post that you might have read that would have sparked something inside to seek some sort of change and to reevaluate life for a better outcome. i'm so stoked to have this story to tell for the rest of my life and yet, honestly, could accept death today and be completely content with these twenty-one years. that's not to say there isn't a massive life-to-do list open that's ever growing but, overall, i'm pretty content right now. i sleep outside on the front porch couch in portland and stare at the glowing clouds in the midnight blue and try to resonate ever day of peace and gratitude in some sort of prayer of thanks.

this might sound silly but today really does means something to me. i turned twenty-one back in november and that day was automatically supposed to feel cool whether it actually did or it didn't. today is just as important to me because it never had to be and because it could have never been. this day is the first in a lifetime mark for all this. that's what i've been calling it- all this. all this. i see the night starting to surround those floating white blobs. i'm going to go play guitar. thank you God for all this.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 364

although today is day three hundred sixty four, this sunday day does mark the one year anniversary when it comes to aligning the days of the week. incredible, man. who would have thought all this was possible way back on day one.

but here's the second half of the reason i put up that 'so west coast' babble yesterday.

since settling in portland i've been continually finding that most of the people in this young adult crew from imago dei are not portlanders. they've moved here for school or for fun or in pursuit of the kind of community mentioned in a six year old, popular christian book. the hipster culture is alive here as well through these fixie-ridiing, v-neck shirting, yamaka beanie skinnies who play pinball and vinyl records. the art and music scenes as a whole is saturated with creative, eclectic, and interesting people. this part i like.

the neighbors' friend wandered to our front porch yesterday afternoon where i sat with a guitar. she asked if i could play any bonnie riatt and, since i can, she sat down and sang angel of montgomery and i wondered if, in her visiting mind, she considered me one of the boys in the house that are indefinitely known as portlanders. today i wonder if we're all pretty much fake when it comes to fitting the scene here. but everyone probably is. you really can be appear to be anything you want and that is a very dangerous thing because the amount of people who are able and knowledgeable to keep you accountable seems to grow smaller and smaller as life and relationships continue to expand.

but now that i'm over the whole hipster culture [and i should mention that the realms of all other middle class and outdoor adventurers and educators etc are alive here too. i'm just experiencing the aforementioned closest]- and consequently because of the vibes that i once carried after reading one six year old, popular christian book- i'm starting to find a flow in this mix of people and music and art and coffee and bookstores even if chrome messenger bags and stubby cyclist caps are inevitable stitches in the fabric.

in the park yesterday a friend told me how they felt that their life before leaving colorado for portland had seemed like a frustrating intake of knowledge and religious mindset. the whole 'religion vs spirituality' quest is sadly starting to become a more and more difficult clique to appropriate even though its no less valid or important. i can understand, then, through my own perspective and of this friend's story, how portland as a location and community has become less of a distant mental place and more of an epicenter for hipster generation pilgrims who's mecca has prodded the pursuit for outflow of genuine life and for seeking the aspects of spirituality and this community.

sorry to have all these fragments but the last parts of today turned out to be pretty sweet. we went to a massive goodwill this afternoon and i got two baseball gloves and a major league baseball for under ten dollars. what a steal. housemate andy and i rode our bikes like seven year old kids to the nearest field to play catch.

then much later after heading solo to powell's bookstore and staying until eleven p.m. closing time, i hopped back on my bike and zipped through the empty downtown streets. these wanderings eventually brought me to a connecting route to the bike path. under this overpass i found a massive collection of hippies with percussion instruments. one guy told me that they come every sunday night. my back pocket notebook is filled with a double backed page of notes and observations that i'll probably use to reword and remember the midnight beats under that bridge.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 363

i'm so west coast right now. sooo west coast. this is supposed to mean that i'm cool.

actually i'm joking. but i'm also a tiny bit serious because all jokes have slivers of truth. here's why this inane narcissism has gained humorous relevance.

i am 'so west coast' right now because i'm at a coffee shop. in portland. with an apple laptop. and coffee. i have a beanie on. and a checkered wrangler shirt. there's a beard and months of uncut hair across my face. my shoes have a hempish appearance. and i rode a bike here.

i am also 'so west coast' right now because, while at this coffee shop, there are at least six text edit files cluttering my screen. here entails the epitome of being 'so west coast' because these files contain the deepest thoughts of lists and goals possibly imaginable by a human's own powers of self awareness. self expression and self awareness is so west coast. have i mentioned that i'm soo west coast right now.

okay, we're both probably sick of trying to make that seem funny. its just that the silly details of these observations had hit me a few seconds ago so i opened a seventh text edit file to jot down the parallels. somebody out there is probably mad right now. i'm sorry. there is an oncoming conclusion for these statements.

early this morning the neighbor across the street was blasting the country station from the open doors his white subcompact. blurry vision made the car look like a stretching, giant insect that was about to fly away. please do. i have no grudges, however, because it's my choice to sleep on the front porch couch each night. i've noticed a few more bums passing on the lower sidewalk during the darkness too. the rattle of their overloaded and tarp-covered shopping cars hardly competes with the punctuating roar of the train, but i still like sleeping out here. a lot. i always wake up refreshed. and today as the eastern sun shot down on my face i had no choice but to acknowledge daylight and, consequently, reeba mcintire and tim mcgraw. did i mention it's hard to oversleep when you sleep outside? and this, being the flawless day it is, was opportune for hopping on a bike to head to palio's coffee shop because, for whatever reasons, i've been totally unable to concentrate or accomplish much around the house. the morning's indescribable unmotivation had, until now, been almost suffocating.

but i came here to work on something that you'll probably remember- i briefly mentioned them a hundred or so days ago. i wanted to take advantage of this morning's unusual combination of angst and freedom by working on the second editions of those 'i am' and 'i would' lists. forget about new years. spring is my time to outline and determine goals. the perspective on the day has changed full swing since coming here and i'm feeling at peace again.

the man who i assume is the owner of the shop just walked by with a tray of fortune cookies. 'wanna find out if you're gonna live or die today?' he offers. 'probably a good thing to know,' i concede. apparently i'll be sweet for a little while longer because '[you] will welcome many people with your smile.' hey okay.

so now that i've got my life mission in my hand and you and i have since forgotten about the ridiculous pretentiousness of the first couple paragraphs, i'm going to give you my list. maybe try it sit down somewhere chill or comfortable and list the events and actions and changes you would appropriate and strive for if you were to have a little more free and content life. goals. i've found that outputting honest philosophies are much more flexible quests because i'm horrible at definitively answering 'future plans' or 'next step' questions.

the rest of the day was filled with worthwhile and fulfilling activities. i feel like i've gone too many words so far and i haven't even posted the list yet. i won't hold it against you to stop here. i've even taken a few of the sections out, as usual, as not to go all bildungsroman on you. and this is just the first draft.

'i would' part ll herein rebirthed may 9th, 2009, over one year after conception.

i would practice more kindness
i would be more generous

i would play music professionally
i would write professionally
i would photograph professionally

i would make my first documentary
i would work hard for some savings
i would start my library
i would start my music room

i would stay sharp
i would keep learning
i would keep teaching myself

i would write a book
i would start a band
i would be involved in ministry
i would work with youth
i would tell my story

i would ask people what they want most in life
i would maybe help them find what that was

i would go running
i would stay healthy
i would take vitamins
i would write one good song per month

i would keep lowering my expectations for the typical life of searching for ultimate comfort and self gratification
i would keep setting standards and goals

i would continually try to redefine my spirituality and refuse the way it had so often manipulated the perspective of my appearance to people rather than the influence it has on life itself through Jesus Christ

i would continue walking barefoot whenever possible
i would ride a bike more
i would not suddenly rely on a cell phone
i would continue meeting people, investing in people, learning from people. loving people.

i would keep these philosophies for life
i would let them grow and expand
i would keep doing this list every spring

i would keep pursuing: faith, love, adventure, inspiration, peace, balance, freedom.
i would keep being free.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 362

this sentence is the proof that i didn't head to the ocean. i'm sorry. it's really become hard for me to plan but it's still a huge possibility. anyways, happy birthday mom.

i did go for an early morning bike ride. after waking outside i showered and hopped on a bike for the grueling uphill trek. after some time at a friend's coffee shop i headed to powell's to spend a good amount of time reading and chilling and watching people cross the burnside sidewalk through the cafe windows. today was the first clear and sunny day here in a few days.

there was a student art show tonight that one of the housemate's school was involved in so we all rode our bikes there for some standing around and musing and light discussion on each piece's impression and technique. actually i think we made most of our art knowledge up on the spot for fun. but i was fun indeed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 361

the long setting sun warms the west-facing parts of the neighborhood. everything seems to be square because of this and only the one side catches the light and falls highlighted into place between the vivid blue of sky and between the breezy greens of trees and bushes and lawns. we're on the roof chilling and every once in a while a car or bike will pass and wave. a few even say hello and we shout back before they're gone again. i can see parts of the stout portland skyline over and behind the treetops. this is a skyline that is unbiased and indifferent to your acceptance or rejection of your distant judgements. less than impressive towers may be a good thing and i think this is taken as such by so many of the mellow people that live here.

parker and i went to see laura gibson and damien jurado play tonight at the doug fir. i'm sure that means nothing to most people but that's okay. i'm telling you this in order to tell you that these things are good things. the lower lounge is dimly lit between walls of solid logs. the floor tiles towards the back are lit from underneath and the area in front up by the stage is an open concrete floor where we sit. good vibe.

so here's the deal. i might be heading out tomorrow for the coast. i might not. i'll have to see how the weather is, etc, but if there are no posts for a couple days then you know why this is happening. they will be filled in when i get back. if it happens like i said it might. and if it happens like i says it might then happy birthday mom when you read this post on friday the 8th.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 360

portland state university was, in my mind, much like any other school i think i've seen. there was the mix of west coast hipsters and hippies and then everyone else you'd expect to see except for the bunch of school-prided athletes since there aren't many standard sports here due to being a commuter school. there's a good chance, though, that a forty year old student will be in some random class with you even though they've long given up hope on making the tennis team. but there's a bowling alley and a stylish graphics and video computer lab and one of those likable beat up pianos in the commons. portland state university.

my friend sarah humored my curiosity and gave me a tour of the campus. that's how i came to learn these things and for whatever reason i had to get that place out of my system. i guess i've long given up on trying too hard to figure out everything at once. no forced reactions. hopefully that's been noticeable through these daily updates. by the way we're only five days away. i'm kind of counting down at this point.

but the timing and development of faith and trust thus far has pulled together many perspectives and long term hopes into a concentrated sense of standards and desires and has also, most importantly, reduced the stress by intentionally limiting things like the 'ten years from now' questions. all this helps stoke discernment for the places that may or may not be attractive in my mind. regardless i'll be returning to illinois in less than a month (there, i said it) and i'm excited to see old friends and family and to see the landscape of changed familiarity.

most of all i'm eager to practice using these new eyes. i'm eager to speak with this new soul. i'm eager to hear from my friends' about their lives and adventures and semesters and relationships. i've got a cluster of joy and hope and love and experience and friendship and new awarenesses inside to share as well.

so as psu students are buckling down for the last couple weeks i'm excluded and have no college finals to study for. but i'm trying harder to pay attention to things. i'm keeping an eye out for possible connections and in some conclusive way maybe the next couple weeks will be a kind of final review to go with the season.

tonight was a sweet combination to these thoughts and desires. i'd mentioned that the imago dei church had replaced all non-sunday activities with a wednesday night prayer meeting. a few of us went and the place was packed and i'm glad i could be part of it.

hey and by the way thanks again for reading this silly blog for so long.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 359

mount tabor is an extinct volcano cylinder in this south east section of portland. it had come to mind when i awoke outside this morning and parker and roommate mark both agreed to go for a ride there. we packed some books and rode as far up as we could until we walked our bikes along the hiking path. it reminded me of clawing through the snow on polar peak [pictures] except today we were sweating and had bikes.

we had brought some books and i picked a stone table in the center of a cathedral of towering trees for a reading spot. after an hour or so we cruised down and did whatever else we were meant around town.

later parker returned home from work only minutes after leaving. they didn't need him tonight. the timing was bad, however, because he's been concerned about paying rent. i remembered conversations with tim on our fernie front porch about how we felt that we'd want to be generous with our money if we were ever to become rich. i'm not sure why that little thought swung up and around but it did when i noticed him making popcorn so parker and i walked to the twenty-four hour hot cake house to chill and get some food. moments and opportunities like these are the greatest times to practice helping others and it was a good vibe to be able to sit and talk about spirituality and people and to also observe the interesting patrons who also enjoy late night breakfast. i only tell this in order to encourage you to look for a way to help someone out or encourage someone with what you have on your right now.

by the way i started working on putting together a new header image. somethings a little wrong with the one up there right now but don't worry. a new one is on the way.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 358

sleeping outside makes a few hours of sleep feel like at least ten. the chunky columns and thick overhang protects from any midnight rain and i've gotten used to the howling of the train's pass. the skies grow lighter and lighter and i know that i've almost been up all night but by the time parker comes outside and slaps the flares of my couch head (similar to bed head) i find that it's almost ten thirty in the morning.

i had just posted up yesterday's late night strands when andy got home. he's a blonde kid with black frame glasses from arizona and has a degree in recording engineering. in last week's introductions his resemblance oddly reminded me of the character davey from the ancient claymation series davey and goliath except andy's hair is shorter. but he came and sat down and mentioned that we'd both been here for one and two weeks so far. i would have never really known who 'belongs' in portland and who'd just moved in. if anyone else comes to the house i'm sure i'll 'belong' to portland in their mind.

and we were sharing our observations on this city and the people and we both had confusing conclusions about meeting and interacting. maybe it's relatable to the weird tinge of yesterday morning. maybe not. but this is the first place that i've found thus far where laid back people aren't very outgoing in conversation but who become immediate friends nonetheless. and yet nobody really seems too concerned with context or depth unless it seems to warrent personal explanations for self expression and knowledge for art, music, or bicycle technology. it's interesting and almost attractive in a magnetic sense. grassroots. i've always wanted to use that word in an explanation.

but everyplace else i've been before here had involved a solid flow of people who were both curious about the comings and goings of life and developed the steps relationships as the means for becoming adjusted with the rest. maybe in portland everyone- and i'm not even sure who 'everyone' would be defined as since most 'everyone' i know so far has moved here fairly recently- is used to the dozens of people who'd flocked after reading blue like jazz. maybe not.

it's not a bad thing. definitely not. i do like it here. i just wanted to understand why i liked it despite the strange sub contexts. and i feel that this place in time and variety are good places to be. there's so much balance.

and because of this desire to understand all this i put on my rain coat and borrowed a messenger bag and rode my bike a couple blocks through the rain to palio's. the skies are white and the rain is steady and slow. nobody seems to mind getting a little wet. i'm inside now and my jeans are nearly dry already and i guess maybe i'm one of those people as well.

here's something you need to know. i'm looking to take a break from this blog in order to seek perspective on some things. in order to accomplish this i'm making plans to find a way to cannon beach later this week. the rain has been constant, though, and there are only a couple days that are supposed to be decent and good weather would be ideal for camping and reading on the ocean. thursday and friday are looking to be nicer and i'm planning on taking just my pack, sleeping bag, tent, Bible, and this book. i have a stash of beans and rice and ramen and avocados for the couple days and have some legal pads from the weekend's dumpster dive missions for notes etc.

i just read a line in the book bird by bird that says ''for a life oriented to leisure is in the end a life oriented to death- the greatest leisure of all" and i'm glad to have found this thought in one sentence. i've been trying to understand this idea in long paragraphs and late night postings. but leisure, along with wealth and technology, seems to be the philosophy of the western world's consumerism. that's why i randomly tried to explain life without a cell phone and car etc. that's why i'm trying to stay aware to the connections and developments of everything that has been going on.