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…

Deep Creek Lake

I didn’t want to drive on the beltway outside of DC, which is how I ended up driving past Deep Creek Lake on my way to northern Virginia. I was using a GPS, which meant I didn’t actually have to know how to get there, I only had to listen to the directions calmly stated…

Down the River

“In these hours and days of dual solitude on the river we hope to discover something quite different, to renew our affection for ourselves and the human kind in general by a temporary, legal separation from the mass.” –Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire We hoped to be on the water by noon. When, by 2pm we…

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Compost

Working for the Three Rivers Arts Festival has given me perspective. I am on the Green Team as a “waste reclamation specialist,” or some sort of bullshit phrase like that which really means trash sorter. For the first 5 hours of my day, I sort through trash bags, picking the compostable materials from the trash items,…

A Letter to Edward Abbey

“Do not jump into your automobile next June and rush out to the canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages…most of what I write about in this book is already gone or going under fast. This is not a travel guide but an elegy.” -Edward…