Home. Ethan Frome. George Elliot. Home. I am from Denver. And though there are echoes of those deep blue skies anchored in my soul, Denver is not home.
It is too rushed to panic, too unplanned, both people and city. The drivers’ reckless abandon. 10 MPH over in the right lane, 15-20 in the left. No signal pranksters teasing the ties between lanes like flirting condomless teenagers. Except this kind of behavior doesn’t make babies, it takes babies.
More dangerous than experimentation with drugs, unprotected sex, others. Driving is fast, heavy, dangerous.
In Oregon and Washington, people drive calm. They wait. There is no yellow light lean in. Stop signs mean stop instead of just roll and look. There are warnings for chains when it snows a shadow of an inch. Silly, still. In Denver, I drove on thick snow and black ice on bald tires in an ’85 Impala the color of week old snow. Rear wheeled drive with an aching suspension system. A broken gas gauge and just sooo heavy.
Not in that car.
I don’t drive like that anymore. I take it as a point of pride to do anything as differently as possible. Different than what’s done at home. At home, in home.
Denver, my parents house. The fights screamed on and on. The eternal victim competition. The weight of guilt. Finger pointing. Denial. Refusal.
The family meals. Dysfunctional fucking family meals. Dysfucktional. The holidays are not the time to address our issues. So we don’t. We never do. Never did. And years pass. Our patterns solidified, each day consolidating our pain, with interest. It’s never the time.
“Too old to change.”
“Too old for therapy.”
“No, We’re okay.”
“I’m fucking telling you you’re not.”
The calls, my dad called me today. Their only problem with it all is that I stopped calling them. Unable to construct boundaries enacted by adults. Only wanting to pretend the relationship is fine. No listening. No Understanding.
No apologies. No admission.
I can’t walk into that old age wasteland anymore.
Too many fucked up accusations.
They miss you. Three days after you get back, they want you gone. Again.
I was born in 1985. I have seen Columbine. 9/11 was my 16th birthday. I have witnessed the radical and dramatic shift of technology. I have guided my elders in navigating the sea of newness.
This is something I am proud of.
I am proud of my acceptance of others. We are the most inclusive generation of voting age.
Trump is not our fault. The conditions that led to the creation of Trump and Bush And even Obama were put in place years and years ago.
People make such a fuss over the legacy of presidents and ignore the legacy of generations of people.
We purport to be of the people by the people for the people. Young People are still people.
And I am reminded by many that each generation is likewise blamed for the ills that were created by their elders
As Children are blamed by their parents. Generations of children are blamed by parents.
I pose that the Millennials are a generation comfortable with change.
So perhaps we can look forward to a much more comfortable future of generational understanding. Perhaps we, as a generation will not blame our children for our own anxiety in the face of coming change.
Gay marriage, Rights and protections for LGBTQ, Occupy, Strong Resistance to Tea Party, Black Lives Matter, Mental Health Awareness, Reflection, Artists, Writers, Makers, Business creators, Researchers,
The boomos had the cars. And they moved about like people never had before. Have you ever had a boomo berate you for not understanding the intricacies of oil and brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid and tire pressure while asking you to create an email or find their password. Or turn on the TV?
Understanding and empathy are good.
Compassion exists, love is not a weakness,
Proud to be a snowflake,
“Earth is the material world – without any recognition of G-dliness; water is the knowledge of G-d – divine energy without any containers. Thus snow, being half heaven and half earth provides the perfect intermediary between these two worlds.”
Early in the last year, I made a a silent yet stolid agreement with myself. I would write as much as possible.
I have always known that I wanted to write. The papers presented to the mr and ms. in partial fullfillment of the course to the stupid little sketches in 8th grade to brit lit. and all the shebers howard. To the jj johnson even though he was a dick. To the shhissel and Mr. Syr.
It was the Timne’s class that was the best. We read Frankenstein and the Romantic poets. She wrote that book when she was 18 with bysshe her bo and the byron lord.
I had so much respect for that monumental accomplishment.
Anyways, I could never commit to writing more than 10k on any given story.
Last year in february I took Christi Kruugs Wildfire Writing class at Clark college. It worked.
Since February last year, I have written 100k+ in freewrites and 65k on my first novel.
Mount Massive was to much of an undertaking and Goldpoint Lodge is located about 90 minutes from the trailhead while Quandary is a quaint little 20 minute jaunt out of breckenridge. So the plan changed, it is good to be flexible.
We started very late into 14er season, I don’t know what I was waiting for, but it took all the way until August 9th.
Mt. Quandary is known as an easy 14er as 14ers go. The thing about a 14er though is that it is a monstrous effort.
The lack of oxygen, the unavoidable nearly straight up ascents. The knee pounding descent, the crazy weather. The intoxicating views and of course, in case it didn’t sink in, the continously increasing lack of oxygen, nearly three miles above sea level.
When I was on the Inca trail, Dead Woman’s pass was an ordeal, but the ascent from 3600 meters to 4200 meters was not quite as high. And there is a world of difference between 14k feet and 13k feet. Plus on the Inca trail, there were coca leaves, those made up for a lot of the lack of eenrgy I may have had otherwise.
What is the point?
As hard as it was, we endured. Near the top, we got to the point where we went 100 steps and then sat down for 30 breaths. This strategy worked well. When you break things into manageable tasks, they become much easier. One foot in front of the other 100 times and you are there, repeat, and you are there in no time.
A 14er is a metaphor for life. It is wild and wide open nature. The world is real out there. Rainstorms can start anytime, winds can blow in a storm and then blow it away, temperature shifts can switch faster than the fastest packer can change into the layers. It is deceptively sunny and then it all changes.
In life, you can meet difficulties at any time. The key is to be flexible, to allow yourself to dig deep and then put one foot in front of the other. 100 steps, then breather deep re-assess, rinse and repeat.
I know it is tuesday again. What can I say? My spirit animals are an owl and a spider. Both dark-liking things. And I know, I was disappointed a bit when I found out. I thought I saw a Mountain Gorilla in a yoga nidra recently and I have always considered myself monkey like. More an animals later, if I get to it. (disclaimer- the owl and spider are very powerful spirits etc. I read about them in depth and can definitely see why).
And now back to the photographic memories.
A Note on the Format. I am working on it. I am more of a writer than a design man and more of a talker than a writer, thus ramblestiltskin.
There are so many memories that I have not shared from my travels. Each of them feels like a lifetime and seems it would take a lifetime to catalog. This is my way of focusing the ADD brain into something constructive. A picture is worth a thousand words, but each of those thousand is different based on whose perspective is shared. Hence, The Photo and snippet style. It also breaks up the 1600+ words into bitable chunks. My copy is often overwhelming in volume. Mainly, this is because I do not edit. If I edited these, I would never post them. I will save that for any future guest posts or books, crosses fingers.
And if you have made it this far, I applaud your tenacity. As a voice/audience finding exercise comment below telling me your favorite memory. The memory with the most votes will get a full 1600+ post delving deeper. Maybe I will be on a limb, out to sea, up a creek etc. but I will post on any of them with the most votes no matter how silly or mundane. I will consider it a writing test of agility.
This is my first post of what will be known as “Remembory Mondays.” I was going through my old photos during a bout of nostalgia and a bit of a delayed Reverse Culture Shock Relapse, when I had a simple thought. A good way to process the experience resurgent travel urge would be to share some of the memories of my experiences.
As I started to compose a photoblog post on my adventure on the Inca Trail, I was distracted with memories from my two separate trips to Lake Titicaca and the islands I visited on both the Peruvian and Bolivian side. Then I was further distracted by some of the photos of daily life in Cusco and then after that Argentina and then a road trip I went on last year etc…
The point being that there are a ton of memories that emerge out of the ether of past experience. They are particularly plentiful with each bout of Adventuritis, an inflammation of the adventure gland located just inferior to the pineal gland, j/k.
With each emerging vista on the memorial plane, it is easier and easier to become lost in it all and do nothing. Instead of doing nothing, either by continuously going through my old photos or being unable to decide what to post, a simple writer decides as so often he does, by not deciding at all.
Remembory Monday, a weekly platform, perhaps evolving, always dynamic, like any good trip, never static. Like any good traveller always a fanatic, rarely pragmatic. Please also ignore the fact that it might be Tuesday wherever you are in the world. Monday, like the pirate code, is more of a guideline meaning sometime after noon on monday and before 6 am on Tuesday, give or take a few hours. Since peak creativity of this writer of yours is usually past sunset and well into moonshine and star-time, you can count on it being a late night post.
Five to Ten to Twenty or Thirty photos with a small Remembory’ed note just below (inferior to) the Photo.
And so it begins…
The View from the high trail on Isla Del Sol. We kept trying to get a picture that showed off the mountains in the background. It was really hard to do that view justice with a person in the frame. Real experience note, the water wasn’t clean, the ceramic filter and bucket didn’t work as well for me as it did for others. Had the travelers sickness all week aka diarrhea. The key is, that is now what I remember!
The actual view of the mountains without people is way better, I spent 7 days in December of 2012 on Isla Del Sol on the Bolivian side of the Lake. It was incredible and all of the views from mountain to meadow to water to wood and temple to tableau were epic. I had the chance to experience Incan Rituals and exist in serenity in one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. Thank you Javier for telling me I had to go there.
My friend Enrico’s boot could not withstand the rigors of the Inca Trail. The worst part is it came apart after lunch on the third day at Phuyupatamarca “City Above the Clouds.” The Good news, we only had half a day and the morning left. The bad news, 2,000 plus stair descent to the last camp near Winaywana. The boots made it through though and we all got to the sun gate the next morning where we were both winded and in awe at the picturesque tableau unfolding under the first rays of the sun. That Picture will be for another monday.
Day one of the Inca Trail, something like hour 4. It rained almost the entire first day. It got to the point where we could not even stop to see the first set of ruins, because it was so bad. The Poncho I had did not fit well at all. Hint- Make sure your poncho fits over your backpack. I was okay though, with waterproof shoes, a waterproof back cover and my showers pass jacket I used for pedi-cabbing in the rain it was all right. It cleared up for the most part for the next few days. I admit it would have put a damper on my enjoyment of the trail.
Yoga on the Inca Trail. Showing one of the Germans in our group Eagle Pose. Thanks to Enrico for catching this little gem. Yoga on the trail helped easy the rigors of the hills and valleys. Also pack light, I packed way too much on this trip. I had gotten heavily into Yoga earlier that summer, after I had a muscle spasm that saw me unable to do any physical activity for three weeks, I received a Chiropractic adjustment and then was shown some stretches. All of the stretches were yoga poses, so I found a groupon and jumped in headfirst. After practicing three-four times a week for 3 months. I went back to the Chiropractor for a follow up and they said I was stronger than I was before the injury. It was a game changer. I continue to practice 2-5 days/week. I have now tried many styles, Bikram was how I started but I have moved onto more meditative types since then.
The Flamingo lake ruins about an hour outside of Puno, after my first trip to the Lake. That isn’t the real name, but that is how the trip organizer sold it to us. Yeah lake full of flamingos and ruins on the hill. When we got there, it turned out that the Flamingos are only there in the morning, but it was still interesting to see the ruins. We did see a little cuy though. Guinea pig is a delicacy in Peru. After we got back the car wasn’t there, so this was my first experience of Panic in Peru. But we figured out by calling the organizer, it just ended up being another one of those experiences in the difference in time. Most arrangements in Peru run a few hours later than they schedule.
While in Bolivia I had the experience of realizing I was almost out of money. This unfortunate scenario led to the discovery of bartending in exchange for my stay at the Adventure Brew Hostal, just a few blocks from the bus station in La Paz. The work was pretty simple, the beer was the best I had in South America , though the tap was overly foamy, it was a welcome change from the Cusquena and Pilsen I usually had in Cusco. Hands down best part, other than the people of course, was the Drunk food Sandwiches. While Pouring the two kinds of overly foamy beers, I got to know the other bartenders and a few of the patrons. Three of them could not stop talking about these amazing sandwiches, I think they were called Inguitos or Honguitos. Check out the picture of the sandwich next to me. My face looks like I am regretting biting into it, but that is just my habitual wide mouth teeth bite that avoids getting the mess all over my face, chin, beard, mustache or whatever. Sooooooo goood!
The moon over Amantani on Lake Titicaca. This is where my group stayed on the boat trip on the lake. You cannot imagine how peaceful it was. It was even quieter than isla del sol. This kind of peace is so rejuvenating, I found myself refreshed on only about 6 hours of sleep. And that was after the all night bus ride from Cusco to Puno and then all day on the boat. And the moon was so bright it lit the path when we walked back from the high point on the island. Cold, Quiet, and beautiful.
I meant to use this method to keep the post short, but alas as soon as I start typing the levee breaks.
Comment below to hear more about your favorite memory, I will choose one photo to expand upon for a post of it’s own in the coming weeks. And If you liked any of these memories, check my Peru, Bolivia and Argentina categories for more posts of this nature.