Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 265

one hundred days away from the big three-sixty-five. i think it might happen here on vagabonded, too.

there's a little bit of catching up to do. the northern on main street was packed tonight- so much so that even our group of friends had to wait outside in the lineup. i talked to the bouncer and tried to use my position as a band member to get a bunch of them in but it only resulted in having to choose jared, paul's visiting brother, for immediate access because he was my video guy for the night. the rest were let in eventually and i'll be editing his footage from that night into a demo to distribute to the other venues around town and will hopefully post that up vid here soon as well.

i don't know how to write about music that well. or our band. but if you can imagine some sort of crunchy, alternative and even a little funked-dropped-7th kind of hot hot heat or cold war kids infusion, then we've gotten farther than i first thought possible. genre is hard to explain, but our band chemistry is sweet and playing for packed weekend crowds is a new and exciting addition to this life.

the night is late and already well past two am. friend from montana made the trip up for this weekend's show and we're all thoroughly tired but i'm so thankful for the group of friends here and the opportunities being presented to our little music project.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 264

i've got some sad news. tim leaves in a couple days. if you happen to remember over two hundred days ago, which by no means to i expect anyone to, tim and i met early during pre-camp but then he'd suddenly left camp a few weeks later to return home to new zealand to start college. 'uni' they call it.

the first days of settling in that camp environment were filled with the normal routines of getting adjusted in those north pacific woods and meeting people and answering the standard 'name and location' questions. you shake hands and try to learn other peoples names too, but mostly you go with the flow. tim kind of intimidated me at first, i think i remember, because he was at the middle of a full dinner table and the conversations and laugher were mostly guided and stoked by his inputs to the group. later, we would later meet in the same fashion as all the rest of the introductions and we started hanging out, both of us long, tall fellows with seemingly similar interests to explore. we had adventures. climbed a mountain. talked about books. people. travel. spirituality. life. man it is surreal to look back at the ancient posts because it feels like a lifetime ago.

when tim got wind of our crew's plans for fernie, he was stoked and hopped on a plane after finishing his semester. the southern hemisphere's summer is the northern's winter, making this season a near perfect fit for summer break. the surf and road trips of the past now paralleled and continued with snowboarding adventures and wanderings around this small town and its coffee shops or even down to the states. as the majority of winter nights lulled everyone else to bed, tim and i would inevitably be the last ones up at our flat with respective books or conversation about books or people or life. and hundreds of cups of tea. i've promised him to one day visit his country as well and can't wait to be able to recreate and build on all we've come to experience during all this.

i hadn't planned on writing a tim tribute until next week, but seeing that i don't know how time will go i've decided now was well worth the opportunity.

also, our band has a show tomorrow night. from the sounds of the buzz around town, it might turn out to be a big crowd. jeremy, a kiwi and bandmate, came over to the house tonight to start work on recording some acoustic cuts of guitar/accordion songs and to practice up on a couple songs.

10:30 pm at the northern on main street everybody.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 263

the mountain air was clouded with the smell of smoke tonight as i left the library. dozens of magazines had obama's face on their covers and i left the stacks of periodicals still unable to make a solid decision about anything political. as is occasional tradition, i stopped by the grocery store to pick up a couple apple fritters from the bakery. before leaving i noticed the magazine isle and picked up an obama commemorative edition of time. the pages are thick and dimpled and captioned photographs dominate each quick turn until a few white pages in the middle begin an article. ''in rockford illinois in the gymnasium of rock valley college" jumped off the pages. i didn't know he had even been to my school in 2006.

the magazine cost over eleven dollars so i put it back on the shelf, but i wish there were more time in the day to do things or to learn to think better or move better and to do something greater than just taking care of everyday life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 262

the wind was sharp and the air freezing this morning, but last night's snowfall was the first in about a month. these are the canadian rockies. how does that even happen?

our entire house emptied after breakfasts, except for one who had to work, and hitched to the slopes. the sun was out and signs everywhere warned that icy conditions still rested just below the fresh powder. we did some soft tree runs and a natural half pipe and a few times the powder would be thin over a certain patch of ice and i'd find myself sliding down a black on my back until i slowed enough to pop back up on the board and continue shredding the deep soft. hours later the blue bandana that hung over my jaw like a wild west bank robber had frozen solid like an icy goatee. we were getting worn out. one of the last runs began at a peak that overlooked the entire valley. the dividing highway and a pub near our house were the only two distinguishable landmarks highlighted by golden sunspots. the mountains on the other side of the valley hung like symmetrical, blue draperies.

thank you for all this, i whispered through the icy mask and i nudged forward and felt the pull and then the deep slide.

schwoosh. schwoosh. schwoosh.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 261

after a long and icy and cold month the snow has returned. tomorrow's riding will be prime.

this book finally came in the mail today and i sat in mug shots and felt the powdery fresh cover and smelled its flawless pulpy musk. part of the introduction about journalism and some explanations of the recent domination of non-fiction over fiction and i came across a line that paralleled with a recent thought about the beauty of america and the massive landscape it possesses.

"americans are lucky enough to be living in a place which, in relative historical terms, is breathtakingly important, not just militarily and politically, but also culturally," says michael lewis. "the stories we tell about life in america have a universal appeal that stories from no other place have."

i sat in the coffee shop with the introduction and preface, a section i rarely read in most books, and was overcome with enough inspiration and excitement about all this and what i was finding in the pages that it made further reading impossible to accomplish.

and we've been having several band practices in preparation for a show this saturday night.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 260

paul's brother has flown up from new zealand to spend a month here. the house grows to eight strong and he shares some very similar interests in photography and video. its sweet to have someone like that around.

i happened across this tonight. my mind reels after reading this and i wonder how a young guy becomes a speech writer for someone almost twice his age and exponentially influential.

and flickr has been updated.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 259

one of my friends, a wonderful artist (two different links there) who i'm honored to know had tagged me in a facebook note that'd been going around. i find most things on facebook other than communication to be mostly silly but i kind of fell into the opportunity and creativity of the '25 random things' bulletin and filled out my own in response. go ahead and follow her artwork links before you decide if you're interested enough to read on. that'll be much more entertaining.

rules: once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. at the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. you have to tag the person who tagged you. if i tagged you, it's because i want to know more about you.

(to do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. i don't appreciate facebook spam and sometimes block friends if they push it too much. i'll still see them in person.

2. i left illinois in may thinking i was going to do video production for a summer and haven't been back home since. the adventure continues.

3. my little brother makes me proud of him.

4. sometimes i feel bad for a little while just after denying facebook groups even if they represent good causes.

5. for the first time in my life politics is starting to mean something to me.

6. i'd choose a chill night with friends or reading or jamming instead of some ruckus scene at a bar or pub. unless our band is the draw that night.

7. i play in a band.

8. also, not included above, is a chill gig as lounge pianist at a 4.5 star resort.

9. documentaries and non-fiction film and literature are two of my favorite intakes. and music. and food.

10. 'maybe i'll build me a cabin in the woods. sip whiskey tend the goods. read the books i never would.'

11. i didn't know that a new zealand native could be called a 'kiwi' until last may.

12. i'm a strange combination of a realist/romantic and sometimes wonder if such inspired endeavors will one day end up as a big dead end or be forced to be put down in order to have to survive by some sort of job or career. or maybe the complete opposite.

13. freedom, truth, inspiration, adventure, balance, peace, and faith.

14. my grandpa inspired me to play harmonica.

15. bob dylan

16. into the wild

17. some days i miss playing baseball and wonder about going back to school to try to play again. most days i'm glad to be free.

18. some people think i'm a jerk when they first meet me and sometimes for a little while afterwards.

19. i'm not sure i could ever go back to living without mountains or an ocean again.

20. i want to be a writer, but don't like the jargon and titles and ideologies of it all. same for musician. videographer. photographer. journalist. and janitor?

21. we use our personality charm to receive bigger ice cream scoops when buying the dollar fifty bowl across the street.

22. i don't want to be rich.

23. i don't want to be poor.

24. i tend to break some rules if they're not too serious.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 258

sixteen teams created cardboard dummy vehicles for the downhill event. teams came from as far as calgary for the annual competition and corrugated boats and toboggans and a helicopter were all large enough to carry most, if not all, of each four man team. they started at the top of a tame slope and had to maneuver about 250 yards down the hill and try to stop on a massive spray paint bulls eye in the snow. a few hundred people suddenly showed up along each side of the boundaries with cameras and cheers and our events volunteer crew ran the competition. a couple times an out-of-control team would go smashing through the two layers of blue plastic mesh fencing we'd put up towards the bottom of the hill and we'd have to go redrill holes in the ice and restore the fence.

the sky was bright and clear but freezing air clamped heavy little traps around our covered fingers and toes. a few times during the day we'd have some free time and i'd take a couple lifts up to the top of the mountain and make a few runs. carve a few turns. shred.

by the way, this could come in handy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 257

a few years ago while browsing the career and college section of borders bookstore i found this book. the literary documentary impressed me with its fresh perspective and thrill and the idea of traveling around and interviewing important people was more than inspiring for my fresh, high-school-completed mind. i put that green book back on the shelf that same pre-college summer and haven't thought about it since.

now tonight i've had some random thoughts that have just reminded me of that project.

and after watching all this cnn and all that political news and trying to forge some sort of an informed and solid political opinion, i had a wild idea. all this news and transition of power made me wonder about what george bush is up to. the news says he's back in texas. back home on his ranch. and unlike his predecessor, bush might have half a shot at going to live a somewhat unspotlighted post-career. i read today that he'd experienced one of the lowest approval ratings so i'd imagine he be left alone for a little while. even the t.v. talking heads said something to cause enough curiosity for me to research it a bit.

i want to vagabond around texas some day. and try to meet george bush. and have conversations. at least one conversation. i told you that this was crazy, but i never could have dreamt this current adventure and ties and experiences as they've happened and i'm not really about denying future ideas.

i'd imagine that somehow i'd find myself sitting with him on some sort of back porch overlooking some texan plains and i'd ask some questions. i'd have a notebook and maybe it would work out that he would be willing to talk with someone young who isn't there to grill or judge or exploit or bother. that's the extent of the plan so far.

just a wild idea. if you have connections then email me.

heres a couple pictures of nate from the trip to whitefish, montana. click for full size.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 256

melody's place is on the lower part of 'big mountain' ski field in whitefish. all the trees are covered in a light layer of white. frosted powder clings to every branch and fir and trunk. we'd gone snowshoeing the other day to take pictures and hike and even brushing a drooping bough creates a coconut shred-like dusting.

this small apartment is only a couple minutes drive to the lifts so today tim, nate, her, and i headed up with two free passes we'd received. we figured that two could go at a time and we'd swap gear in order so that two could ride and two could read and chill in the day lodge. then we'd switch back.

tim and i hopped on a lift. from the top the entire valley below was in an inversion and the heavy, soupy grey cloud covered everything but the surrounding distant peaks in a clear blue atmosphere. from the top of the highest lift we could easily see glacier national park and its solemn mountains jabbing well above the cloud line. the air was strangely warm today and after a few runs of shredding down the mountain, i brought the canon 40d up for some shots before a final and careful ride down. pictures to come either here or flickr. give me a few days at least.

tonight we headed home though. gravity silently pulled the car down the mountain and towards the highway. darkness is full upon us and the responsibility of music choice is in my hands. tim was driving and we turned a black, looping corner and i put on the new coldplay album because i know tim likes it. the town of whitefish lays sparkling below in straight lines of orange dots and i almost changed the song to 'chicago' by sufjan stevens for reasons that some of you may know, but viva la vida was well underway and i wondered to myself in the passenger seat if music and writing were two different languages of the same inspiration. the coldplay cd had special meaning to tim just like other songs, like sufjan's, have for me, but in that moment i was glad to decide that inspirations and favor in any quality experience could be set by music or just as easily matched and infused by certain written word.

so now, i'm back in fernie. i've caught up the past few days on this blog as well as i can remember at this moment, although i know that things like the stellar team dinners created each night and the many side adventures will go untold. but not forgotten.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 255

days like today are valuable. i couldn't be bothered to pack and haul all my snowboarding equipment on monday night and had no real plans for this wednesday so when our friends went to work and the other two guys went riding in whitefish, i stayed around their house to chill and read. i caught up on politics and it made me wish i'd been currently taking the same political science class i'd taken a few semesters ago. there was a senator from minnesota who made a speech on the cspan channel against funding international abortions. i wrote her name down in my pocket notebook because the eloquence and passion and truth of her words were bold and worthy, so maybe i'll write a letter to back her up. good words.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 254

i left my computer at 'home' in fernie for the midweek trip to montana. i don't think you've fully met the montana crew. their numbers in context and potential does vary, but here's what's been going on the past few days.

melody picked me up in eureka on monday night. ian, an australian friend and band mate in fernie, offered to drive me this one hour distance and she came up to fetch me and to meet up with the other two guys, tim and nate, who'd gone down the morning before. it should be said that the girls in the montana crew are fun and very generous people. melody was recently an actress in a performance of the play 'chicago' and works at a coffee shop and a sushi restaurant. she does yoga too and taught us some moves.

jenna and melanie share a basement suite across town. i had no idea that jenna was a professional specialist of some sort of hearing equipment but she showed us an ad in the paper for the office she works at. her picture was there with the subtitle specialist, impressing us all. melanie is a college student who just moved in with jenna and has been long time friends with melody. hopefully they're all cool with this little bio. i'm sure it'll be sweet. i need to start introducing more people.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 253

made it to montana tonight. a couple of the guys had left on sunday and i had to finish work today but i got to the border and friends here happily completed the other half of the circut and i'm on american soil.

nothing says welcome back than three dollar fifty bowling and third eye blind playing. green bills of all denominations remind me that canada and its monopoly money and the small town, ski life holds a completely different perspective to montanians in a monday night bowling alley.

its late and i'm on a borrowed computer and don't quite feel the flow but i'm glad to spend the next few days here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 252

i happened to catch some cnn this afternoon. thousand and thousands stood on the national mall and a forest gump scene flashed in my mind for a moment when i saw the washington monument and its accompanying reflection. behind this, on the steps of the lincoln memorial, garth brooks comes out to sing 'american pie' and suddenly being an american in this package of historical inauguration has incredibly 'cool' pretenses. obama and biden and families sat in a glass box towards the front and i came to a sudden and heavy realization.

this new coming president is called cool. rockstars and one of my favorite authors have their own place in the programs and festivities of the next couple days. artists are inspired and suddenly a ton of younger people care about politics because its popular.

but i sat and watched and ate lunch with unsettled and clear-cut discomfort, as if i could not lean in any specific direction in the interpretation of all this. and that made my soul very uneasy because it seems that the election and politics do more by appealing to satisfy individuals' personal pride then they can do to promise any 'change' in particular that isn't already guaranteed.

'change' automatically means change, but that seems too obvious a matter to stop it from remaining an overused part of tag line. but its been working and no one knows what change will do. to me, 'ready for change' would seem to have to mean a whole lot more than having appeal and popularities tickled by songs and idols and an alternating face of a dark furrowed brow of serious leadership and a white quiet smile of safety. pride would seem to have to mean something more than finding it while garth brooks sings don mclean's classic. bono and springsteen are the american cool. and it appears that they're making us and the new man smile.

see, i haven't really gotten anywhere. uneasiness.

these are the observations of the day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 251

we went today. tim and i folded our tall selves into a two door cavalier and stephanie drove her car to cranbrook across an open highway underneath a grey winter sky. stephanie is a happy go lucky girl and an artist so one of our first stops in this town was a paint store. she arranged for the paint to be mixed and as she collected the four small quarts of color i leaned over the counter. ''could i get two 5 gallon paint sticks please?"

the home hardware employee looked at me confused. ''for these small things?''

"yea. for leverage?" i joked. she wasn't buying it and i looked over at tim. time for the pseudo-memory maneuver.

"actually, my dad's a painter and when i was a kid i'd go to the paint store with him. he'd buy his paint and sometimes i'd ask for a couple 5 gallon stirrers and my brother and i would play with them. i just wanted to relive the memory."

she smiled this time and rolled her eyes in mercy. the story worked and she must have thought tim was this brother i spoke of so she handed us what we'd requested. we had no solid plan for the stir sticks. it was more a matter of asking for the fun of it. tim later used them to spread cream cheese on bagels for lunch at the hot springs. not an easy feat.

there was a large secondhand store we visited that had both an upstairs and basement. usually these places are exciting but stale coats and dusty junk were scattered all over the building. i stood in a room of piles of old, overpriced furniture in sole appreciation of the power of fire. this place needs a big fire.

we were in wal mart to buy food for lunch. i hadn't been to a wal mart, or a mall for that matter, in a few months and being in one of the bellies of this blue corporate giant made me feel awkward. uncomfortable. unwise and cheap. tim even mentioned the same feeling. must be the effects of community and living in a small town. i don't think i want to buy from wal mart anymore.

the hot springs were our second to last stop. after an icy adventure down the trail to the river and rocks, we soaked and chilled before making one final stop on the way home.

the welcome at stephanie's grandparent's house would have easily outdone any movie's greatest portrayal of elderly hospitality and humor. her grandpa walked into the kitchen and, before even getting our names, exclaimed humorously, "and in those days giants walked the land." her grandma was kind and joyful and shooed us to the kitchen table. she was about to split their own two dinner portions to share with us until we insisted that we had already eaten and were heading home soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 250

i need to get moving. but not of forceful and fleeting motivation.

its just that recent desires are calling for swift motion.

but not from this town.

the urge pulls from nowhere in particular and pushes towards no outward direction.

this urge wants to                make                      space.


wind whipping windows. hand-hovering highway. glaring glass gashing gazes. black bottom bumper basement.

walking everywhere here is good, but its slow.

i woke up this morning and went straight outside. the sun was warm and full. the mountain and i acknowledged another again. its been a while. schedules might have made us both a little apathetic lately.

so tomorrow we head out. saturday. day trip. away. me, tim, and another friend who's due introduction. tomorrow, i'd imagine. i don't know her that well yet.

we leave with small plans.

a shortlist: hot springs. thrift store. music store.

there's a playlist prepared

a steady snare. a starchy strum. velum vocals. howling harmonica.

and with it all comes great momentum.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 249

yesterday. via today.

a steady flow of people wearing the likes of gortex shoes and columbia pants and puffy jackets and beanies passed the window and walked across the intersection. i watch from a front seat in the tea house. cars stop continuously at the white lines and it seems that every third or fourth driver is recognizing and beeping and waving to a pedestrian. its uncanny.

pastor shawn and i are meeting here. he comes in the door and rests his leather courier bag on the table and we start talking about life and this transition and trip. i have questions about faith and, after a random conversation around the house the night before, i asked for more information about pharaoh and judas because we'd been wondering about the balance of free will and the hardening of hearts after shaun had been watching the passion of the christ. an hour or so later, i was blown away by an opportunity discussed to work for the church in the future and i'm really excited.

to think that, in may and before, i had no idea that fernie existed or that its people and scenery and community would suddenly be revealed as all this. through certain encounters, both random and somewhat planned, i've felt a new skin these past few days. something entirely different and yet not surprising has manifested in these bones as a sort of long anticipated growth and redemption.

i'd planned on beginning a photography project today. yesterday i noticed an impressive number of senior citizens wandering past the window in their slow shuffles. some wore classic knit sweaters or paper boy hats and i was about to head out after lunch with a couple lenses and the camera to try to do some portraits. ask some stories. save some faces. they have style. but before heading out i started some phone calls to friends and family back home. suddenly the afternoon was gone. well spent.

and finally. the best job in the world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 248

today was incredible in so many ways. it's going to take me a few days to process all this. hopefully tomorrow i'll be settled and ready to share. see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 247

i'd fallen asleep in the late hours of the early morning seconds after managing to drop a book to the floor and blindly overlap two flannel blankets to cover my long frame. the hard headrest of the couch suddenly lost its edge. darkness.

an hour before, at around three am, a friend andrew had come over to the house after some online chat to share some books. we traded non fiction, prose, and classics and all the while i reveled in having a soon-upcoming four days off of work. i started reading allen ginsberg's poems.

earlier still at ten p.m., i'd retired to my room for a rare pre-midnight bedtime after leaving work that night due to dizziness and nausea. pseudo sleep swung restlessly in the webs of fuzzy consciousness and my body lay hot and dormant in bed until suddenly, like the changing of a red light to green, my mind cleared and my body stretched. i was suddenly wide awake at midnight.

now today, this new morning and sometime around nine am, i awoke under the red flannel on the couch to the spinning of a tingly sensation that still rested at gut level. two lonely clouds puffed quickly across a blue sky and i lay and looked through the window and wondered if the clear skies meant brutally cold winds or if perhaps the sun was warming the entire valley. i reached for the phone and called in sick to work while the stale troll continued a nasty poking and slippery dance at the top of the inside of my stomach.

work understood my condition and i walked into the kitchen where the other boys were already starting their breakfasts. toast and nutella doesn't cut it on a morning like this and, seeing the upturned spine of poems on top of the pile of books by the couch, i grabbed up their pages and did what any sensible and sick soul would do on a morning of new books and illness..

i went to the organic market for chicken soup. the bright skies proved warm and a simple hoodie was adequate for the short walk. cars made glishing noises across the wet highway and the humid mountain air expanded thick and full in my lungs. this is january and the snow is having a mini meltdown in the canadian rockies. the people at the coffee shop greet me by name and i take my usual corner window seat. they gave me a deal on soup and coffee. for the next three hours i would sit here, reading the entire ginsberg poetry book and beginning a different bob dylan biography. allen ginsberg is the important name to remember here. remember allen ginsberg and his random arrival at three a.m. this same morning.

determined to avoid a motionless and boring sick day, i hopped on the bike and found great pleasure in the memories of the smell of air such as this. if this air were spring in the midwest, our baseball team would have pulled on our dirtiest cleans and run outside for the year's first day of long toss in the dampness of the nearest field or parking lot. i was riding to the tea house now though. i pulled out bob dylan again and sat at the only open table in the shop. i soon gave up this table of four to a group that came in once i saw a solitary open chair in the same window berth where i'd sat with my keyboard during last month's weekend gigs here. i relocated.

two other people were in single chairs here too. a man with a silver goatee leaned over some papers held by a woman with dark hair. they were talking and critiquing poetry and then suddenly i heard the word ginsberg. allen ginsberg's ''howl'' sat on my lap in this moment and i leaned in when the lady mentioned that she was very interested in reading ginsberg. i handed her the small book and we introduced another. he was a local writer helping her with poetry.

we talked and he told about meeting hunter s. thompson and jon krakauer. 'into the wild' and 'gonzo', a thompson documentary i'd started watching two nights before, came up as well and i was buried in information of local writers' groups and conferences and the places for the best creative writing programs at universities in the states. this man writes novels and for various fernie publications and holds his own writing workshop at the old elevator restaurant on tuesday nights. i was invited to bring some poetry or short stories tonight. i brought both. hours later, we sat around a table in the library room of the upscale restaurant. a third generation pilot began the night by reading pieces of her developing novel. the others managed goblets of merlot and i sipped the best free water i could afford. it came my turn and i read the simple and earliest beginning of a short story that i had.

it was admired and approved by the writer and other novice novelist and i was greatly encouraged for an old poem written towards the end of senior year. i'd brought some of my oldest material to this meeting. i figured it a logical place to start in this mentorship process.

now tonight in this moment i'm on the same place of the blue corduroy couch in the house. two new books, lent from the writer, have joined the pile on the floor and i'm still blown away by the incredible pace and events of the past twenty four hours.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 246

the audio story of the hobbit took me a long way today. seriously. books on tape are the new way to go to work.

after listening to the entire thing and then replaying the last chapter another half dozen times, i found myself feeling a bit like bilbo. that sounds ridiculous, i know, and i almost didn't type that but the last chapter tells how the hobbit sits content in his hole and begins writing the memoir of his adventure and of the different friends he's made. but instead of dwarves and elves and wizard, i've made handfuls of kiwi and aussie and canadian and swedish friends. foreign but special. and here's where i stop making life analogies to lord of the rings.

this town is scattered with placards and posters explaining the legend of fernie. it's interesting enough to share.

and i'm boardless again. the one that had been recently provided turned out to be a long lost possession of my friend's landlord's friend. and they want it back. that coin is back in the air.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 245

sleep is always the last alternative. i've been tired for most of today but now that i can be still and chill, nothing inside me wants to go to bed anymore.

i was in this same phase last night when i happened across this BOOK online. i don't make many compulsive buys but after reading the cover and part of the summary i hopped on amazon. a copy is on its way.

today at work i listened to the audio book of this. now i've just uploaded 'the hobbit' for tomorrow.

tim talks about his stint working on an oil rig last year and last night curiosity got the better of me. i looked up oil rigs in the u.s. and an entry position like a 'radio operator' pays sixty grand and the job description says to 'bring a lot of books.' this interests me at the moment. i could bring a ton of text and non fiction books and study music and logic and psychology and everything and get paid. in all honesty the likeliness of that happening is slim to none. still the idea appeals to me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 244

on the way to the hitching point this morning i passed an old man. he had a blue puffy coat and a long grey beard and at first i wondered if he was homeless but there are really no homeless people in this town. sidewalk acknowledgements aren't really common back home but as this man said 'good morning' i realized that, overall, people in canada and most definitely in this town are the friendliest i've seen. even at tim horton's tonight the people behind the counter strike up conversations. same for the organic market. coffee shops. hitchhikers. pretty much everyone and everywhere.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 243

we've been talking about how the options for things to do in a ski town like this are low on any given night. bad weather and early darkness are two natural enemies. thankfully we have a good and large group of friends to at least hang out with but even watching movies and playing games are about as creative as we've been able to get lately. the rest of the town heads to the pubs and bars and then show up to work the next morning with a pulsing head or stumbling step. i don't see much of a point to do any of that, but there are no bowling alleys or hardly any coffee shops open past six or seven.

still the small town vibe is good. i can't imagine anywhere else where a town full of international travelers and seasonal snowbirds and mountain locals can grow so close and comfortable with each other in an already fast-passing season. there are really only three and a half months left here for most of us and we feel more and more at home each day with the people we know and are still meeting.

getting used to snowy mountain life does make me begin to imagine beaches or warm nights of travels and summers past. i've been thinking about the salty new england shore lately and have had an increasing desire to see atlantic waves dash cold water against thawing rocks. lighthouses and brick buildings. maybe in spring this will happen.

regardless of the future, its been very good to share all this with a solid group of ragamuffin travelers and like-minded people looking for more in life and relationship and spirituality.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 242

the warm rain of the past day has devastated the fresh snow. in the lower parts of town, the streets are flooded like small canals and i hear from friends who work on the ski field that there are huge puddles on the runs and no riders.

i left the house earlier to go downtown to read and chill. there was a keen battle inside as i got into the garage. most of me wanted to ride the bike as usual. i told myself that i always ride the bike and it makes the trip goes faster. even with the rain i could avoid the bigger puddles and be sweet and not get my feet soaked like if i walked. still, strangely, i ended up walking.

on the downtown sidewalk i ran into a friend dave. he's from new zealand and works as a snowboard instructor on the hill and is one of the people in our ever growing group of friends. he had an off day too and he joined the trip to the coffee shop.

yesterday i'd said how a good day would include a solid conversation with a new person and as i left today i had no idea that it was about to happen again. the regular shops were busy in town cause no one was skiing. the tea house was full. we walked over to mug shots and found a table amongst a dull roar of chatter. we sat down with coffee and once again, for the thousandth time, i wished i had a little tape recorder in my pocket. i might just get one one of these days.

dave asked why i'd come to fernie and we started talking about the various little steps and troubles and then the way things were provided and developed. you know that same story by now but it was exciting to recount the faith of the adventure of it all. this paragraph is quite cheap to be honest and i'm sorry but i've still not managed to find a way to sum the big picture of all this into these situations.

he agreed that everything happens for a reason. ''i think running into you happened for a reason too,'' he said and he told me about how he'd been falling out of perspective of faith and relying on God and that our conversation and the story was stoking his faith. i told him that this was doing the same for me and i remembered the strange choice not to ride a bike and not get here faster and not miss him on that street corner.

there's a language i want to speak but can't at the moment and i'm left with plain verbs and nouns and standard past-tense sentences but i wish i could make more of this. for both our sakes.

so often groups are assembled under the name of a goal. i picture that kind of formation like the laying of a long base of a triangle and calling it something good like a ''bible study'' or ''small group." like any triangle, there's a tip at the top that might one day be reached and achieved ▲. that's all well and good and i've been a part of those before, but today dave and i decided to make a new kind of small group deal. except i picture it as being small and nameless and with only the loose goals of discussing faith and sharing how we've been seeing God work. fellowship and encouragement. like the tiny, bottom tip of an upside down triangle, we really have nothing at the top to reach but there's an infinite amount of room for expansion and growth. that excites me.▼

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 241

i just got home from work with a copy of 'the economist' that had been left behind. i've always wanted to subscribe to this magazine and have it on my subscription list for whenever i have a little more of a permanent address and room for the beginning of the library. the collection of several decades of national geographic magazines from my grandpa is going to make a great addition to this and be a continual reminder of him too. now i'm at the little organic market with coffee and chillness. there's an article about skiers opting for vermont instead going to the rockies where ''snow levels are down'' and another deep one about the psychology of music, but its not as near as cool as what had happened today. all it takes is at least one deep conversation with a new person, a day's work, and being able to come home to friends and have just enough food for dinner to make a good day.

these are days and moments where i could explode under the combustion of inspiration. this usually happens in the anticipated, quiet moments towards the end of a day where there are earlier events and conversations and people that i want to write about but can't quite settle my mind to collect the thoughts without the uneasiness of creative loss. but still.

a random conversation popped up today with the girl i was working with. she asked me if i was a 'christian' and said that she had some christian friends but that she had no religious ties herself. it took a while to narrow a broad and vague title that nearly 80% of americans subscribe until we reached defining elements like the greatest commandment, but we made it. throughout the afternoon she'd pop around the corner of another room with questions about life or the Bible and i'd look up from scrubbing the sink to answer that i'd never smoked pot or that there are no rules about interracial marriage in christianity or responses to things like gay marriage and right and wrong and love. she'd asked about the virgin birth and it soon paralleled the the commandments and how no mortal human can have these answers or create a path to save another.

after a while i asked her something that had been on my mind after a similar question she'd asked me. she'd had defining questions about religions and spirituality and christianity and now i wanted to honestly know what she thought was the hardest part about being non-religious. we'd gotten comfortable at this point and she said i could ask her anything. i asked and she paused and looked at me and said she'd think about it. a few minutes later she came back from the other room. the moment was both strangely beautiful and interesting and she said that the hardest part about not being a christian was not being sure about knowing a "God'' who would be there for her at any time and who wouldn't judge her for who and where she was at.

i told her that that's a big part of what christian spirituality is all about. that and Jesus' sacrifice. christ crucified.

now by the time i can find both time with my computer and quiet and inspiration, i wish that my memory was better or that i had more skill at wordsmithship. still, i'm thankful for this life and the people here and everywhere that i know and the places and cultures and adventures of all this.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 240

the dark sky is filled with the biggest and thickest snowflakes i've ever seen. the street lights have giant halos and everything is muffled and seems to move in slow motion, lulling people to an early night. the skies have been black for a while and its not even six oclock.

i'm coming from the grocery store and about to clean the church this night but i'm glad to be out of the house. this shouldn't sound bad but i'm getting tired of roommates. i guess connections to community are evident when i start saying that some people seem loud or lazy or don't do much to help. sometimes the kitchen floor will be covered in dried noodles and dust and crumbs and parts of frozen vegetables and some are happy to say that 'they don't care about messes.'

there's much left to happen this winter and we're only starting the new year. interestingly, i've had two friends in the area who are making a drive to chicago and the another to colorado in may. something might work out. lately the pacific highway one has been on my mind too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 239

[click to enlarge]

so high that the town itself is hidden in the valley, there's a ledge and an entire sloping field of powder. i'm 5900 feet up at this point of the mountain looking into the cedar bowl. the lifts have only been open for a few minutes and i'm one of the first ones up here and i stand in quiet admiration of the mountain below and the motionless valley and the one black bird in the air. the trees are white pillars of solid snow and i lean forward. i go.

there's a relationship that develops between the psych of adrenaline and the underlying understanding that you're sliding on a board across snow and ice and powder. momentum isn't a bad thing and it certainly does more than gives speed. it keeps you up. near waist-deep powder flies and parts underneath the board, yet a temporary slip or an overextended weight shift doesn't always mean a huge bail into the white ocean. perfect balance isn't as important as staying loose and moving with the board- moving as one. a magic carpet ride.

later, at 6361 feet up, the bottom of the valley is lost before an endless army of frozen trees. heel side, toe side. carve left, carve right. swoosh.

after over six straight hours of riding, my back quad muscle was sore from bearing the majority of weight on this powder day. there's one run that's three miles long and i made it my last of the day before hitching home. this place is awesome.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 238

last week i heard my friend paul mention how people never really care to hear very much of another's story or trip or adventure after returning home. most of the essence was declared in the flow of some of his usual dry humor but i think that its a very true statement. no one wants to hear everything and usually one or two or maybe three interesting facts is enough to satisfy and dilute an average friend's interest.

since i agree with that overall tendency of human nature and have found it as true in my life in perspective of both sides of the story, i want to thank you for reading this blog. thanks for writing responses to posts. thanks for remembering me.

some read here every morning and i think that's incredible in the sense that it helps both humble and stoke my own perspectives and reactions to this journey. don miller writes in the first pages of 'through painted deserts' how it took him a while to understand that his trip was a story about leaving and i feel that the same idea is applicable here. even as i packed on that saturday afternoon long ago in preparation for sunday morning's early flight i had the strongest, unexplainable conviction that i wouldn't be back right away. now i read on another blog days ago how the traveler wasn't missing people in their mind as much as they missed being with the people in the same time and space. although most of us haven't seen the other in about eight months, i've been hoping to frequent this place with words and sometimes pictures to at least vicariously share some time and space together.

however i can't even imagine continuing the same kind of life that had been left back home in may. it seems entirely impossible at this point and i think that's a very good thing. i do want to finish school- and badly now at that- but for the first time in my life i want to pursue education under my own desire to learn and not in a mass rush and hardly-inspected manner of confused growth and forced development. just playing piano here in the 4.5 star resort makes me feel more and more alive each time. writing a few words here and there on this blog has kept me observant of the big picture and ways that God's been working and i want to keep this perspective forever.

thanks for meeting me here. one day i trust we'll meet again in the same time and physical space and i might tell you one or two interesting facts about the past year in total but you're curiosity will soon fade because you've been here every step of the way. thanks for that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 237

i need to start taking pictures again. i've been kind of busy though and am cautious about taking my camera out into the cold.

this crisp morning held a million pictures in my mind and i wished there was a way to produce images from visualizations and imagination. the mountains looked morbid in the minus thirty air and every tree was frosted and frozen. beyond their highest border, the extending white peaks held a piercing contrast against the blue sky. my jacket is no longer warm and malleable as it had been seconds before leaving the house and now crinkles like new paper. every inhale is slowed by a temporary, inward freeze and every exhale is caught and frozen beneath the beard to create a crispy feel across my chin. cars sputter and smoke along the highway and i imagine my own cone-shaped condensation freezing instantly after conception and falling to shatter against the snow packed street. this is real cold.

now just a few minutes ago, a friend who works next door at the curry bowl restaurant has knocked on the front door. even though its after midnight, he's just gotten off work and is delivering some left over and extra curry dinners. stellar.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 236

the convenience store across the street sells a 'one' scoop ice cream bowl for a dollar fifty. when its all said and done, the actual amount received is more than i've ever seen a baskin robbins or any ice cream place in the states dish out for anything less than four dollars. ice cream is still appealing in the wintaer.

just like swimming. all the pools and hot tubs are open and steaming at the decks of the resorts on the hill. more powder fell today and the hill was swarming with the last batch of holiday weekenders. a few feet off the slopes, kids ran across the pool deck and did cannonballs into the warmed water.

i've gotten a free board from a friend. it's old school, and by that i mean its fin and tail curve sizes and edges are slightly less than par, but for now i'm happy to have something. i'll ride on monday once the weekend snow has all fallen and the families and albertans have gone back home.

also we've gotten a new roommate. jon is a ski instructor from sweden and also happens to be a near carbon copy of a friend from back home. everything down to height and appearance and personalities are very similar. if it weren't for the accent they could pass as the same person.

abrupt ending.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 235

the snow started early this morning. big, soft clumps floated thick in the air and landed across an exposed eye now and then without the protection of longer hair. not until seven this evening did its froth cease.

i walked through this figurative snowglobe early today and followed a dozen or so already fading footprints. they led over the sidewalks in front of the convenience store across the street and past the doors of the organic market coffee shop. they made no diversions near the fly fishing store and then sushi restaurant. after a gas station awning and past the travel lodge, they narrow into one, darkened path and continue over the bridge. then, next to the snow pile and under the yellow glow of a streetlight, all these paths and footprints collect and stop in a small, worn patch. the hitching point.