Learning to Ski in the Backcountry

I wasn’t nervous when I purchased the skis. I wasn’t nervous when I set them behind the door of my apartment next to the cardboard box with the heavy ski boots and bindings. I wasn’t nervous when I took them to REI to be mounted and the man behind the counter asked me how long…

Autumn Resonance

It started with a scent. A scent of rustled leaves beginning again as oblation, an offering to the succession of life and death. It blew through the open window and disturbed the steady breath of frosty mornings. Is this the disturbance wild geese feel? A row of cells divide and suddenly they are off, pummeling…

Finding Space

  “All of life drums and beats, at once, sustaining a rhythm audible only to the spirit. I can drum my heartbeat back into the Earth, beating, hearts beating, my hands on the Earth—like a ruffed grouse on a log, beating, hearts beating—like a bittern in the marsh, beating, hearts beating. My hands on the…

Arches National Park, 3 of 3: The Fiery Furnace

“But wait, you say, there is no right and wrong in nature; right and wrong is a human concept. Precisely: we are moral creatures, then, in an amoral world. The universe that suckled us is a monster that does not care if we live or die—does not care if it itself grinds to a halt….

Arches National Park, 2 of 3

“I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with a nonhuman world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock.” —Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire After waiting all these years, I’ll admit I was prepared for disappointment. I’ll admit I was prepared for teeming crowds of people pouring…

Arches National Park, 1 of 3

“Living is moving; time is a live creek bearing changing lights.” –Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek The car moved beneath our bodies; my body was rigid with anticipation. We passed the traffic outside of Boulder, slid through a rainstorm in Vail, and just as the sun was setting, we passed into Utah. The scenery…

First Floor Living, Farmer’s Markets, and Neighbors

Sitting at my desk in this apartment is strange. I’m on the first floor, what you might call a walk in, and I feel so exposed. I’m used to being 3 stories up, 3 stories up where no one can see if you’re naked in your room, or singing into your hairbrush, or simply sitting…

Moving to the Mountains

“It had been like dying, that sliding down the mountain pass. It had been like the death of someone, irrational, that sliding down the mountain pass into the region of dread. It was like slipping into fever, or falling down that hole in sleep from which you wake yourself whimpering. We had crossed the mountains…