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.