October 20, 2011

Turns Taken Along the Path

Well hello there my little neglected blog. Ah, yes...the path through ambiguous chaos. How true this still holds! The path has been chaotic and taken many turns. Some not the turns I would have preferred, but overall the journey has brought me joy and adventure.

Like all paths, you must make forward progress and leave things behind. We shed identities and associations often. We part ways with possessions, places, and even people. This is essential to our lives. We must avoid stagnation while still retaining our true selves - you know, that little special something that makes us unique. In light of this, I have moved on from this blog. I no longer feel the need to constantly update it, but I appreciate having the digital record of this time in my life. Revisiting past thoughts and experiences can be truly entertaining and occasionally enlightening. So, they will stand.

For those of you that followed my thoughts here, fear not! There are still places that you can go to hear me ramble on! I have a couple other projects currently. Please visit and share.

Thank you for sharing in this blog and allowing me to cast my thoughts out into the nothingness of the web with the slight hope that someone was reading. I hope that your own paths have taken you far.

Enjoy every chaotic and ambiguous turn.

November 1, 2010

Shorter Days

Ask anyone. I love fall. The days shorten and everything changes. I have never enjoyed the hot days of summer. Don't get me wrong, I like being outside and exploring on a warm summer day. The heat can be a little too much, though. So when things begin to change and we feel our surroundings prepare for the chill of winter...I get excited. I love the color in the trees and the way the late-afternoon fall sunlight trips through the branches. The smell of leaves is relaxing. Other fall smells come out and greet me warmly: freshly picked apples, pumpkin pie, spiced cider, and deep Cabernet. The chill in the air advises you to bundle up and prepare for the expected snows. Everything is following the cycle. It is changing. It is getting ready for a long rest under the deep blankets of white.

In these shortening days, I find myself experiencing an odd paradox. The days get shorter and quicker, yet crawl by at the same time. I find that my list of tasks seems to always exceed the time in the day. I occasionally make progress. As I busy myself with tasks, I am also looking forward and counting the days. Texas...Chicago...Beaver Creek...then...?

Perhaps a little update is in order.

The summer of 2010 was wonderful. Living in Glenwood Springs was beautiful. That valley is wonderful. Just being near the rivers was refreshing. I lived with some great people in a community home where we shared meals and time together. I worked on a Challenge Course and Zip Line in the beautiful Glenwood Canyon. I got to play all the time and work with great people. My office was outside, attached to a cable and sailing forty feet above the Colorado River. My days off were thoroughly enjoyed. I worked at a CSA farm with my roommates for a share of food. One day a week - working on the farm doing whatever needed done and sharing in an amazing community of people. The food was great. The people were even better. A new vocation - new location - new community - new experiences - new romance. That last part may have been the best part of the summer. I could go on at length about the sweet times shared with this girl - bike rides, evening walks, talks in the coffee shop, and reading in our park. Perhaps I will keep those details for my own reminiscing purposes. I will say that I have never felt better about life than during those times.

Yet, just as the seasons change, so did that. Not completely. Just little adjustments. The summer passed us by quickly while we were living in it. I needed to find new employment and my girl needed a change of scene. So, while she is in the big city, I am preparing for my next thing. I accepted a position at a Colorado ski resort, Beaver Creek, and start in December. It seemed fitting that I have this transition time during the fall. I am also preparing for the oncoming snows.

I have been spending this transition time with my parents in their sleepy little mountain town. Among my own projects, I have been doing work for them around the property and their businesses. Plenty of downtime to prepare and reflect on where I have been and where I am going. I will be taking some of that time to repair a truck that had an unfortunate run-in with an antelope. It will prove very useful in the deep mountain snowfall. Some of that time will also be spent continuing my Challenge Course training. Just a quick little trip down to Texas for a week of continued training and experience. Interspersed in the bigger projects, I write and read, sort through photography, and make plans for future adventures.

My reward will be a mid-November trip to see the girl and travel back home for Thanksgiving. The anticipation gives me energy for each day. We miss each other and are looking forward to this time. As I said, the shorter days are merely crawling along.The winter will offer opportunity and adventure. A chance to explore another part of this state. A chance to re-kindle a good friendship. A chance to further my experiences and skills, as well as gain a glimpse of the next part of my path.

I am grateful for so much. For the autumn season. For opportunities to harvest food from the land. For time to reflect and prepare. For family and friends. For apple butter and pumpkin pies made in our kitchen. For warm fires on chilly nights. For friends who need roommates. For exciting employment and chances to keep playing. For creativity and inspiration. For wine and a book. For friendships that change, but never fade.
For a girl and her love.

Trees shed their leaves and the land turns dormant. 
There is a chill in the air and sunlight is fleeting.
The snows are coming. I embrace the change. 

October 11, 2010

A Pilgrimage

Yes, I realize that it is October 2010. The summer has come and past. Life happened again and time slipped past without anyone noticing. Quite sneaky! The summer was wonderful. I felt like a came to life. I was reawakened to opportunities and to my character. I have amazing experiences and plenty of people (perhaps one person more than most ;-) )to thank for that. However, that update on my summer and on my life will have to wait. Stay tuned for that.
But now, a story from my journal...

Mine Pilgrimage
Out the door I go. Clothes thrown on, pack loosely filled, and food hastily eaten. I do not know myself right now, but I know that I must get out. Find peace and contemplation. The trail is steep and rocky as I start. It feels as though I will climb forever. It feels as though I am barely catching my breath or even moving my legs. This is my penance, I think to myself. For what, I do not know. My goal is the Marion Mine. So, I press on and allow little time to pity myself or dismay over the trail. The path is challenging and rewarding as I go along. Rocky, steep switchbacks give way to smooth steps through Aspen groves. The trees seem to press in on me and the path. It is as if they embrace me. A warm, welcoming, and safe embrace. I continue on past forks and signs until the shambles of the mine are in view. I stop before them in quiet celebration of my successful pilgrimage. Goal attained -- destination reached.
As I look upon the ruins of the mine -the buildings falling; beams rotting- I think of the temporary nature of man and his creations. Our ways and our efforts will all crumble in the face of time. But the mountain, the trees, and the river will continue long past our time. I am entranced by the natural surroundings. I may have reached my goal, but I desire to explore more.
I venture past the mine in shambles and follow the sound of the river. Some light scampering over rocks and trees allows me to discover a retreat. A beautiful waterfall cascades down boulders. It is small, but the sound is big and peaceful. The small river winds down through the rocks, pools at the bottom, and then continues on through the trees in the valley. The space is secluded - surrounded by trees and large rocks. There is a hidden sanctuary feel to it. Yet, a seated perch on one boulder affords me a view of not only the secluded falls and river, but also the great mountain that towers above. The tall Aspen trees seem to reach up as high as they can - like hands stretching into the blue of the sky. But the rocky cliff prevails above.
As I sit in secluded peace and allow every part of the scene to settle within me, one part catches my eye. The tiniest of details of this very beautiful scene. I look below where my feet rest to the river passing through rocks. It is fall here and the warm yellow extends from the trees down to the ground where leaves find a final resting place. In one of the smallest of eddies among the rocks, a perfect yellow aspen leaf floats. As the current passes by, the leaf spins in place. Drops of water sit lightly on top and go along for the ride. There is beauty in its motion - slowing, stopping, spinning again. Half wanting to wash away in the busy current and half wanting to stay where it is and find a resting place.
I contemplate this image among the serenity of the trees and rushing of the falls, when a cold breeze blows through the scene. My muscles tighten at the chill and I realize that it is time to depart. This sanctuary has shared with me peace and some of its limitless time. Now, I must finish that pilgrimage. The return path. It is familiar and yet everything is new.

Until the next update-
Stay healthy, tell people that you love them, and live a better story....

April 7, 2010

Endure Till It Develops

So, my last post was all about how I didn't know and somehow thoroughly enjoyed that fact.

That post was also last year.

Here I am writing in the year 2010. In fact, I am a full four months into this year. The new year came and passed quickly, I will tell you that. Oh, I celebrated it with some close friends. We celebrated quite a bit... too much really! But, that happens.
Now, it has been just a week since my 24th birthday. Crazy stuff. It has also been two years since I graduated college and a full six years since I graduated high school. Time is odd and I am no where near where I once expected at that time. So it goes...

As for "I Don't Know", well... I know a little more.

I am still in Manitou Springs and still love my little apartment. It is honestly a little sanctuary from the world and cares outside. I often relish the solitude and peacefulness. Point of fact, the loneliness that I once felt overwhelmingly as I sat within these walls has melted away. Perhaps it has been the changes in my life.
First: Work! I have been working much more at the ice cream shop and I am currently at four days a week. This really helps make ends meet and relieves some of the stress concerning money. Also, I picked up a second job as a tour guide in a commercial cave. Yep, I often spend most of my days under ground! The cave is really amazing, but the commercialization of the cave is frustrating and often chaotic. However, I keep busy and paid.

Second: Interests!
I have really picked up some of my interests and hobbies again. Guitar playing was first and has been slowly progressing. No concerts yet. My photography was next and has picked up the most. I have been taking hundreds of photos and sorting through them like mad. I am pulling together collections and hope to get them into a gallery soon. In fact, you can see some of them at my
Art Photography site. Next was my continuous pursuit for wine, both enjoying and eventually making. I have been taking classes here in town to better enjoy and understand wine. I have been reading and studying and hope to take a sommelier certification course soon. Also, I have been making and maintaining connections with Colorado wine makers. Has been fun! And, most recently I have become hooked on climbing. I know, I should have caught on more while at college, but I tend to do things at my own pace. Funny thing is that it only took a couple trips to a new gym in C. Springs for me to realize how much I enjoy it. So, I have been buying gear, hitting the gym, and looking for people to go outdoor climbing. Sweet times~!

Third: Future!
I will only be in the Manitou area till the end of May. That's right, I "know" a little about what I will be doing! I will be moving to Glenwood Springs, CO. A couple of my friends and I will be subletting a house in Glenwood for the summer and we will all be working out there. I have an awesome job. I am going to be a high-ropes course and zip-line guide for a Glenwood Canyon rafting company! The course is being newly built this spring and will feature zip-lines crossing the river - sweet! I will be trained the first week of June and then will work all summer-- 40 hrs a week/10hrs a day! Also, moving to Glenwood gets me closer to Colorado wine country and my hope is to find work and experience in the industry. I am going to make it happen!

So, life is pretty good despite all of the rough patches. I lost my last grandparent last October. I lost my dog last month. Also, my father's health has been iffy -- but he keeps working. Other than that, I just dealt with my own depression and insecurities.
But I did deal with them and continue to do so.

I keep moving and I endure the trials so that the rewards are that much sweeter.

Although, I prefer my rewards dry and full-bodied~!

December 16, 2009

I Don't Know...

Such a powerful phrase. When uttered, you experience a beautiful sense of freedom and an equally beautiful sense of vulnerability. I love that phrase, though most would think it weak or simple. What is so wrong with admitting that you just don't know something?!
"What will the weather be like next month?"
"How will our nation handle the burdening decisions regarding healthcare and the environment?"
"What happened to my keys?"
"What happens when we die?'
~I Don't Know.~

I love taking full confidence in the truth of the situation. If I actually have no idea about something, then I will tell you that. Why hide this freeing fact? Admitting that you don't know also opens doors and presents opportunities!
"Oh, you don't know much about running a multi-million dollar business? Well, let me teach you and then down the road you can run mine!" This is entirely plausible...

Yet as much as I adore this phrase, there is one question that it does not seem to satisfy...
~"What are you going to do with your life?"~
The reply of I Don't Know usually only gets blank stares and stammers of disbelief. Most times I care very little about how people respond to this, but I must admit that I occasionally react the same way. Internally, I struggle with the reality that I am not sure about where I am headed. I want to make peace with this fact and feel assured that things will work out. However, trite little sayings and motivational catch-phrases don't exactly sell the idea~!

Yet, I work and attempt to remain confident and positive.

But...this city seems determined to undermine that. I find that it is cold and cruel. No matter where I go or what I try to do... the negativity and absolute lack of compassion press upon me. My neighbors fight--I mean, full on screaming matches and rumored black eyes. I try to get out and find little spots to escape: coffee shops, wine bars, work, bars, art galleries... I inevitably find the true face of the city. It is ugly and it is mean. Even as I write this, a man sits at the table behind me yelling and cussing at someone on the phone. He ends the conversation, "Whatever mom!"
I can't seem to catch a break. I have lived here for about four months and the best that I can do is a part-time job scooping ice cream. I apply and interview for just about anything that I can.
Got a call today about a job that I interviewed for last week. I really felt confident. I mean, I nailed that interview! The message: "Unfortunately..." You get the picture. So, money is still tight. Most nights I sit at home watching a movie with the volume turned up enough to drown out the shouts from next door and the street. I hardly see what few friends I do have in the area. I understand that they are busy-I get that. Don't think me naive or playing the victim.

I really am not sure about where I am heading in life. I am also not sure how I feel about that. I do know that the status quo is not about to cut me any slack.

So, change the status quo...

November 4, 2009

Bluring At The Edges

I love photography.
Many of you know this. I will post some of my work someday, but it is nothing incredibly special. I have a decent camera. Not great, but in the right light it produces amazing images. A couple months ago I bought an adapter and a wide-angle lens to use with it. I got a great deal and thought that i would really get some quality shots. However, the lens does not work so well with my camera. It is great for macro (close-up) work, but there are adverse results with grander scenes. Essentially, the color shifts and the edges blur quite a bit. It ruins most pictures, but gives an odd perception of acceleration to others. Its as if you were speeding through the air towards the scene before you.
Everything starts to blur together at those speeds...

My October was very much like that. I was working two jobs and kept rather busy. I picked up more shifts at the ice cream shop when some of my co-workers left. The other job was with a costume, wig, and makeup shop for the busy Halloween season. Due to my technical aptitude, they used me significantly more than many of the other seasonal workers. So, for the last week of October I worked five days at the costume shop and four days at the ice cream shop.

Bottom line, my life became a blur. Things moved past at an alarming pace, but there was nothing I could do about it. I remember being tired and stressed at times. Yet, I also remember having fun with co-workers and the mad rush of business. I suppose that month of my life was a sort of spectacle of chaos and pushing myself to utter exhaustion. It was what I had to do. I am still making ends meet and that, my friends, is success.

Yet, that odd blur of a month has made me realize that I must constantly realign myself with my goals and be sure to take those small steps. Life will get moving fast enough if you let it.
Yes, my October was fast and busy. Perhaps I do enjoy that environment and it did make me feel as if I was moving forward. Yet, as a reach this point of slow down...I realize that I may have pushed myself harder than most and provided some service, but I did not further myself in my goals.
Perhaps I just need to take time and refine those aims.

Take a breath. Slow down. Let the image become clear.

September 15, 2009

Changing Seasons -- Changing Setting

So much has happened since my last post in which I pondered the Dark Road ahead of me. At that time I had ideas, but I really had no clear idea of where I was going. Well, August was quite eventful. Essentially, my life went from the dark back country highway to the express way. Things sped up to a near blur of people and places and then my exit came up quite fast...
Manitou Springs.

Yes, I have moved out of my parent's house and I now have a small studio apartment in Manitou Springs, CO. How did this choice come to pass, you ask? Well, here goes the story:
As the end of August approached, my younger brother was quite busy getting ready for college --> my Alma Matter! I spent some time helping him out, but I couldn't get over one thought that crept into my mind. Soon, I would be living at home alone. Just me and my parents and jobs are scarce where they live. I got nervous and so checking for positions in areas that I liked and weren't too far away became a daily activity. One day I stumbled upon an opening with the Manitou School district. They needed a computer tech to help out in the labs and some classrooms. I was qualified. I was interested. I got excited and applied. However, the school year was quickly approaching, so I would need a place in Manitou soon if I was going to be available for this position. I spent a weekend apartment hunting and found a great place. I gave a verbal agreement and awaited a call for an interview.
Then...well, you know the saying "don't count your chicks before they have hatched"? Yeah...
I did not get a call.
I had a small panic attack because nothing seemed to be working out. Perhaps I had made a wrong turn? I began to think this again and again...
When I voiced my concerns to the leasing agent of the place that I liked, she understood--but could not hold the place for much longer. I had just about resigned myself to failure and making a big U-turn in my life when...the leasing agent mentioned that she had a smaller place available for cheaper rent and it would be easier to move into! Suddenly, things lined up and I was reassured that despite my near speeding out of control, things were right and I should keep following this path.

So...living in Manitou:
It has been good so far. I got back a part-time job that I had before in my favorite ice cream shop and still know people there. It is hard work and not great pay, but it is something while I continue my job hunt. Manitou is great fun. Very quirky people and some fun ones live and work in the area. I am slowly getting to know people and have found a great bar that will become my "spot". Kinfolks is a outdoorsy kind of bar were people mingle, kids run around bar stools, and dogs of all breeds are welcome. The micro-brews are diverse and the live music is both frequent and good! My kind of place.
Yet, I need income first to meet my bills before I become a regular at any place. So, I am looking for another quick, part-time gig to help with the bills and I am searching for a little higher paying tech support position in the area. I have experience here, I enjoy it, and I am pretty sure that I could get great money doing it! So, that is life now. A little crazy with all the changes in scenery and a little uneasy with the lack of financial security, but always exciting!

Oh, I have also refined another goal for life!
I have been taking simple tasting courses in Manitou and talking with a local wine store owner and level II Sommelier about this. (PS- Swirl Wine Emporium is great!) She pointed me in the direction and gave me a little info about the certification process for sommeliers. It is really amazing! If you are at all interested, check out the details of the Master Sommelier certification. It is an amazing and rather difficult process, but I think that this could be my in for the business. The first level simply requires some extensive studying and then a slightly expensive two-day course and a final multiple choice test. I can do that in my spare time and work towards this while working either a "real" job or a series of part-time gigs. Of course, attaining level II is quite a bit more difficult. Level III requires 5 years experience and approval from the academy. Now, level IV is nearly impossible. Level IV is the Diploma Level and Master Sommelier level. This can only be achieved by invitation from the academy! In fact, to date there are only 171 professionals world-wide who have achieved this honorable specification!!
So...I apparently have lofty goals!

This will be a fun focus for my time and will open doors for me even at the First or Second level. Until then, I forge ahead and enjoy plenty of downtime when I am not working or job hunting. Thank goodness I am a movie freak and have assembled quite a collection (at least 150 films!).

So the path continues to be unsure, but I have just reached a small rest stop, passed a group of road signs, and met some people who know something about the way.

Press onward my friends and we will all get where we are going.