Truths

Posted on 3 May 2016

Death fluttered beside me.

After heavily wading through waves, I climbed up onto the rocks. Routine walking was encumbered by annoyance. Smiles couldn’t penetrate me; no, I deflected them by turning away and retreating into my sullenness. The little, supposedly cheery banalities echoed around the cliffs like bullets. I backed into a cave and barricaded the entrance. Death cast its shadow. It was only right to sit within it.

After her death, the days stretched out long and grey. I wanted to return to Ohio again and again and again. I had been there to see her, and I had been there to bury her. It felt wrong to be separated from this place. And from the people! We had held each other, reaching, grasping, someone to hold on to, someone who knows, who feels the reverberations of loss ricocheting off of bones. In another home, I worked, I sat on the bus, I sat at home. I faced beige walls. All was dull, dull, dull, void of meaning, void of force.

She carried all of the force. It was a warm force. It was all of the care in the world, bundled into a soul. It shone through her wry smile. I could only grasp it by holding onto others, her others, but we were physically separated now. Five young women, in a row on a couch. “My beautiful girls.” Five young women, five different states. A man sitting beside me. Jokes leveled in our direction. Us, thousands of miles apart.

Sitting in that cave, everything was too quiet. Death had visited and I couldn’t fight anymore. She was taken and I placed a carnation over the dirt, over her ashes. Now, what could I do?

From the cave of my office, my apartment, to the mountain. Get out, feel something, something that’s not blunted. Unrelated emotions were all muted, and as right as that felt, it was also wrong.

Trees on RainierAscending to ParadiseParadise, Mount RainierTrees Snow MountainMount Rainier Hiding

It snowed overnight. At the base of the mountain, I spied a dusting, but at the top of Rainier there was a new, smooth blanket. I strapped on snowshoes for the first time. I crunched forward with the help of these implements, following in tracks, breaking them down further. Trees stood darkly around, marching over the landscape until it became too harsh and only sharp rock faces remained. I sat down in the snow. It surrounded me: a harsh and beautiful thing. Grey clouds spun overheard, replaced by blue skies, which were then usurped by clouds again, sprinkling down fat flakes.

The mountain just is. Severe, striking. It can hold you gently, and it can murder you. It doesn’t live, but it’s like life in that. It’s reality. It’s what you live in. I look at it, and I try to see it honestly, see it sharply, fight the good fight – but still be warm, still hold a power through a scoff, a laugh, a smile. Like she did.

I felt comfortable in the snow. I felt an openness I hadn’t felt in weeks. I felt an acceptance of two truths: rightfully never ending sadness and a benevolent strength.

Last night, I dreamt I was wearing something of hers. It was a warm, encompassing coat.

Another Lens

Posted on 18 April 2016

I tried to focus on Mandalay Fort, across the moat by which I stood. I couldn’t. I pulled the camera strap off from around my neck and switched to manual focus. Back on. I still couldn’t focus. The lens made uncomfortable clicks and skipped, the image relayed to my eye by little mirrors jumped from one kind of blurry to another. And thus I learned my go-to lens was broken. Luckily I had two others. Both are great in particular situations, but not quite as broadly versatile as my damaged lens. Disappointed, I buried the broken lens in my pack, swapping out its seat on the camera for the prime lens. Now I had one distance at which to gaze at the world through my camera; I had to look differently, physically moving myself to see more.


While in Nyuang U, we decided to visit Salay and Mount Popa. In the hotel’s common area, we befriended a funny Japanese guy who agreed to share a ride with us the next morning. So, we found ourselves bumping along in the morning chill, temples moving past our windows, as our driver carried us along the highway. The scenery shifted: it became hillier, greener, and oil wells began appearing, pumping in rhythm, their solid blackness and extending pipes running over the earth.

Salay MuseumTemple in SalayBuddha and Temples, Salay

We visited a museum in Salay. And some temples, as you do. I shuffled around, forward and back, as I framed little Buddhas and expansive, temple-dotted fields through my lens. I peered closely and then I stepped away to take in the larger scene. Everything pieces together. We got back in the car and more flashed by: banyan trees, oxen hauling huge piles of hay, roadside stands, tan fields. The road became more crowded and buildings less and less sporadically lined the side as we approached our next destination.

Road to Mount PopaMount Popa

Mount Popa juts out from the surrounding landscape, unmissable, unmistakable. If spirits live anywhere, yes, it would be here. We joined a few other foreigners, but mostly Myanmar people, as we shuffled barefooted up the 777 steps to the top of Taung Kalat. We sidestepped into rooms off the stairs, where people worship the resident nats, placing cash, fruit, flowers, and cigarettes by their sides. Monkeys darted around, lured by cones of nuts that people would hand off to them. At the top, the expansive country spread out below and around us: greenery dotted by villages, Bagan in the distance. Closer at hand, Buddhas and nats watched my cautious movements, avoiding the worst of the nutty mess on the ground with my bare feet, golden mirrors reflecting every which way, gongs sporadically gonging, flashes in the corners of my eyes as people bowed to the ground, the fabric of their clothes rustling. I could look closer and closer and the details wouldn’t end. I could expand the scene as much as possible and it wouldn’t cease to amaze. Neither version could I fully grasp in understanding; I could just look.

Myanmar OwlsBurmese ScriptBuddha with Fruit, Mount PopaA Nat of Mount PopaMonkey, Mount Popa

The soles of my feet ached from pounding the 777 step descent. The sun struck my skin and sweat formed in greeting. We three foreigners and our driver sat back in the car as we made the couple hour journey back to Nyaung U, politely honking as we passed other vehicles. Every now and then, we’d hit stretches of highway dotted by people, mostly women, standing or sitting on the side. I realized they were begging, hoping. Thus far, from Mandalay from Nyaung U, I hadn’t seen the really desperate poverty I knew the country contained. We stopped at a gas station that stood in contrast to the potholed road and the impoverished people alongside it: the interior glistened with a large bathroom, the cleanest I had seen.

Fruit and Flowers, Mount PopaA Nat with Cash, Mount PopaFood Stands, Mount PopaMount Popa's Monkeys

From afar or close up, I noticed discrepancies, contradictions, items of beauty and of mystery and of trauma. For now, I could just observe, take note, try to slightly unpack, learning all the more I yet needed to know to understand. These people, whose military had stripped the country’s people of wealth, of voice, surrounded me, almost all smiles. I’m trying different angles, different depths, in increments building what I can comprehend.

Endless, Expanding Returns

Posted on 1 April 2016

Some places tug.

This can be a problem: there’s a line strung between places known and unknown, and you can only set yourself at one point on this line. I stumble, here. I visit places for the first time and it only entices me to learn more. This year, in less than three months after returning from Myanmar, I’ve already read three books on the country. I visit a place again, and only get sucked in deeper. I studied abroad in Saint Petersburg, and years later returned to Russia by way of Irkutsk. This year, I’ve also read three books on Russia and keep scheming up adventures for far-flung corners. And then there’s Finland: I’ve been seven times and am looking forward to my eighth this July.

The more you see and learn, the more you realize there is to see and learn. Knowledge and understanding are infinite, and thus unattainable in completeness – and that just makes me want to gulp down more.

But there’s another variation of it, too. For me, Russia is untangling a massive knot. For me, Finland is reveling with dear friends in a kind of comfortable, beautiful belonging. And then, there’s a non-mental pull that I’ve learned can also come.

Winthrop Autumn TreesRoad to Mountains

Last Halloween, I visited the Methow Valley. Ben and I arrived in a cold rain. We hustled our belongings, bikes and all, into the hostel. And then the rain cleared and we cycled out and then the sun set and mountains shone with snow all around and the brush stood against the blue sky and I loved it. If I was learning, it was all emotional. There was no one around, except us on our bikes.

I suppose these tugs fall on a spectrum from intellectual to emotional. The Methow Valley falls toward the latter at this moment. Add this to the problem, then! Another place to return to, and another reason for it! It has oft been on my mind. At least Methow Valley is relatively nearby.

Ben Bike ValleyMethow Morning

So, I’m going back later this month.

Sun and Shadow

Posted on 24 March 2016

Alright, I’ll try to walk you through this dusty, lovely, sandy terrain. Even at this morning hour, the sun is high and sharp. I alternate between squinting and widening my eyes. There is a temple to take in every way you turn.

Bagan Temple Dog

We got up and had the standard Myanmar hostel breakfast: egg (fried or scrambled), toast with butter and jam, fruit (banana or papaya or an orange), tea, and coffee (the instant kind, some with milk and sugar added – Birdy brand was my favorite). Then, the smiley receptionist, his teeth spread so wide I couldn’t help but like him, showed us to our electric motorbike. I gripped Ben tightly from behind and we wobbled our way out onto the road, picking up speed. The town quickly turned to grass and shrubs stretching out. And the temples popped up.

Pick a path. It’s deep sand and you carefully negotiate your way through. You feel the dust sticking to your sunscreen, but you smile. These temples, some remodeled, many elegantly crumbling, sit by an overwhelming choice of ways. You want to see them all, but it’s impossible. The best thing to do is try to remember your route, going back to the temples you bypass, but you’ll get turned around anyway. But it doesn’t matter, because you’ll still see.

Bagan FarmingBagan CowBagan Temple in the Grass

We slowly rode and walked our way around, peering through the screens of locked temples or removing our sandals and stepping in to peer at the Buddha, or the place where he sat previously, now cracked and dirty. Our feet quickly became caked in a coating of grime as we removed our sandals again and again; we stepped carefully to avoid thorns and rat droppings. We disappeared momentarily from each other, blocked by mazes between temples great and small. As we approached one temple, two children ran up to us and offered to show us to the top. We followed them up a steep and uneven staircase that was more like a semi-vertical passage at the edge of the wall. I was surprised to come out on the flat roof of the temple, looking down at the golden land stretching out ahead.

There are more popular areas and temples, it’s true. Here the sand tends not to be so deep and there are vendors stationed outside the larger attractions. Women stand by the temples and introduce themselves as you approach, tailing you and interjecting to explain paintings on the walls, trying to earn a few hundred kyat. It’s a little overwhelming in these areas, but the temples are dark, cool, and calming inside. Inside every one, look for hidden passages to the top. Sometimes they exist. You peer into the brown-grey and see where the wall opens away.

Flowers and a Temple, BaganBagan Temples from AboveBirds and Temples, Bagan

We rode through Old Bagan; the road became more crowded. We stopped at a roadside stand for lunch and sifted our way through the condiments laid out on the table before us. “Myanmar food!” the restaurateur kept yelling out to passerby. After eating our curries and momentarily basking, we hopped back on the e-bike and began winding our way off the tarmac and down the sandy paths. Eventually we found a temple with no other tourists containing inner stairs that rose up to the flat roof. There we sat, fields and temples and trees and faraway hills expanding outward, away from our center.

You can visit these temples for days and still not cover the entire territory, see every monument. Some are whitewashed and majestic, with stairs ascending their outer walls, steep, several levels up. Some have been reinforced with metal strips. Others have locked entrances, are small, away from the more grandiose temples who command more traffic. And then there are the crumbling ones, red-brown bricks on the ground and moss growing in cracks. Many of these temples are old, old, old, dating back to the 11th century. They all hold their charm, even a command, over the landscape and over time.

Plain of BaganBuddha to Buddha, BaganSmoke and a Temple, Bagan

Sunset was approaching and we took off to find a temple roof to watch the spectacle from. After tromping through a field that a path petered into, e-bike in tow, and getting suggestions from a friendly vendor, we crawled up the stair passage to the roof of an old, slightly crumbly temple. We looked west at the red-orange sun, which slowly settled itself lower and lower, momentarily resting atop the hills before sinking out of sight. Camera shutters rustled around us; we participated in the chorus. Though the roof was somewhat crowded, a steady and fleeting sense of calm and awe settled over us, broken by a goofy vendor who declared, “shopping time!,” gesturing at the paintings he laid out on the stone. Everyone laughed.

Glowing Temples, BaganBagan SunsetRed Sunset, Bagan

Darkness is quickly falling now, and the streetlights are intermittent. The cool is settling in as well, after the heat of the day dissipates and abandons the plains. Speeding along the tarmac, clutching your e-bike, your dusty hair tangling itself in the wind, you could laugh again. Headlights and dark temple walls flash past. Everything mingles.

We dropped our e-bike back at our guesthouse and set off on food to one of Nyaung U’s streets crowded with restaurants. We settled on a Myanmar food place in the shadow of one of the temples. Lights were strung up overhead. Dust stirred in the street, illuminated by passing bikes and excited by footsteps. I tucked into my noodles, which were quite delicious – though I hadn’t met a dish of noodles in Myanmar that I didn’t like. Tourists and locals strolled past. Differences of time and place sat alongside each other, light smiles playing back and forth. Everything was, clashless.

Scratch at the Surface

Posted on 11 March 2016

About a month ago, I was sitting in a theater, surrounded mostly by fellow U.S.-Americans, all of us concentrating on the people sitting on stage: namely, Maria Alyokhina and Ksenia Zhivago of Pussy Riot, promoter Alexander Cheparukhin, and translator Mariana Markova. I had bought my tickets for this event something like half a year prior, and “the girls” and their witty, sharp, and compassionate answers did not disappoint.

Pussy Riot Poster

Pussy Riot: the name alone suggests a spectacle to native English speakers in its crassness. I’m sure some people came out of that curiosity, and others out of a genuine interest (and concern) for them. Others for sure came out of a Russia connection: studies, a friend, family. The level of enthusiasm and respect for Pussy Riot’s message was palpable, which I appreciated.

But, but, but. My senses were jarred quickly, when, after showing a shortened version of the documentary film, Act and Punishment, a question was posed to the girls. “Why is it that only young people are protesting?” I flinched; in the film itself there was not a dearth of older people. I know where this question comes from – but it contradicted what we had just seen.

“It’s because the people who are over 50 sit around and watch TV!” joked Maria, before adding that she was totally kidding, and that in fact, many of the most prominent activists, people they greatly admire, are from older generations.

But in response to the TV joke, I heard someone whisper behind me, “oh yeah, our media is like that here!” I suppressed an eye roll. I am far from a fan of mainstream U.S. media, but the degree of censorship, intimidation, and government influence over Russian media absolutely does not compare.

I am not what I would consider to be a Russian expert, but, fact is, relative to the average U.S.-American – well, I am. I speak the language conversationally, I studied abroad there, have done volunteering there, have Russian friends I speak to on a routine basis… I have a decent view of what is going on. But still, I don’t know it all. So the confidence that accompanied these, in my view, erroneous comments startled me.

It’s complicated, really. There’s this fact: using what you know as a point of reference can often lead you astray. But there’s this other fact: other people, other places, aren’t completely different, either. There’s a tightrope strung between assuming similar contexts and denying commonality, humanity.

I know this from traveling, from spinning around in confusion until I managed to make sense – or at least more sense – of what surrounded me, of what was certainly not like from where I came, but was not totally different either. You have to scratch at the surface, peel back the layers. Things aren’t what they seem but they’re not alien, either.

During a switch-up onstage, I rushed up and delivered a hello to Maria from a mutual friend and answered her enthusiastic question about said friend’s whereabouts before I had to dart back to my seat. Connections matter if you want to understand. Cultivation is key; circles must broaden.

The wit, ferocity, and strength of the girls and the other activists they talked about was flooring, all the more because of the context in which it sits. Almost two years in a labor camp prison. When they speak out, we should listen, and also make an effort to understand what really, really is facing them.

And, intertwined in all of this, is a fact that exists both here and there. What is simplest most often has flaws. What is easiest to grasp most often is devoid of crucial nuance.

Scratch, burrow – that’s how we’ll slowly embrace the right of it all.

Drifting

Posted on 15 February 2016

The sun had yet to rise when our taxi driver dropped us off at the jetty. We scrambled down the stairs of cutout dirt, and made our way onto the ferry. Being the silly, adventurous, and curious people that we are, we bundled up and sat on the deck as the sun rose. After the ferry glided off, we were somewhat warmed by the coffee and tea that was passed out, accompanied by white toast.

Lifesaver OnboardTemples on the AyeyarwadyBuddha on the Ayeyarwady

I suppose it wouldn’t be Myanmar if temples and Buddhas didn’t pass by our sight. Boats made their way past us too, and as we drifted by each other, we waved quite genuinely. Everything moved by slowly enough to have a good look; from Mandalay to Bagan by ferry takes the whole day.

One of our stewards passed out veggie fried rice for lunch, which I was pleased with. I tested my very poor Burmese on him and learned a few words in return. We remained on deck, never getting quite cold enough to retreat inside. I read Harry Potter yet again. When I wasn’t reading, I was observing the waters and the shores, reciprocating waves with the other boatloads, large and small. The shores were dusty and the river cut along the banks. The only bad occurrence was one of my feet got sunburned. I also noticed a patch of floating water bottles which was so dense it almost seemed deliberate. But mostly I sat at peace and everything that we drifted past was new to my eyes.

Logs and TemplesBridge over the AyeyarwadyWalking the Ayeyarwady BanksBottles on the AyeyarwadyBoat on the Ayeyarwady

As evening fell we reached Nyaung U. Coming ashore we were greeted by taxi offers and hopeful book and pants sellers. We started negotiating with a tout, who upon realizing we didn’t exactly need anything luxurious, offered us a trishaw ride. Sure! Then we saw the trishaw: a side car attached to a rickety bicycle. Our driver stacked us and our luggage on and with an assist pushing the bike to a start, we were laboriously off. Again, everything new passed by my sight slowly, except when I had to keep my eyes on the road as we hopped off in order to surmount a hill. All in all, the ride was quite jolly in its desperation, and we gave the driver more kyats than bargained for. He seemed relieved we took our slow ride in stride, but I wouldn’t pass on this drifting and the chance to simply look.

Irrigation on the AyeyarwadyArriving at Nyaung U

Take it Away, Mandalay

Posted on 7 February 2016

Stepping out of the airport, onto the grey pavement, into the yellow sun, following our shared taxi driver—what else is there like this? Every time I blinked, my eyes were swallowing something new. As we rushed over the highway toward Mandalay, I looked around in every direction.

The buildings grew taller and taller, and vehicles became traffic, which became more chaotic. I loved it. At once I could connect sights with familiar places and drink in everything as all new. After dumping our bags in our hotel room, I was raring to explore the city that evening on foot.

Mandalay FortressMandalay Hotel View

Darkness fell, but only after we explored the blocks surrounding our hotel – up to the fortress and down along the streets. We ate dinner at a Shan restaurant, where a waiter kindly laughed and mimed I should chomp a dessert I had been sucking my tea through.

The next day was a full one, filled with temples. My goodness, does Myanmar have temples. We first were driven to the top of Myanmar Hill, where we stood in a line for the elevator, barefooted, surrounded by throngs of people. It was a holiday, and the locals stood shoulder to shoulder with us as we crammed into the lift. The crowd didn’t thin out in the temple itself, but we wound our way around, casting our eyes about, for every which way there was an intricacy, a level of detail covering most inches of this huge space.

Temple on Mandalay HillThree Gold BuddhasTemple HallSandamuni Pagoda Buddha with Roses

From there it was more temples, and a weaving factory, and a gold leaf factory, and lunch. Ben’s tealeaf rice? So good.

More temples, of course. We overlooked the Ayeryarwady River. We walked among Buddha after Buddha. Shoes on, shoes off. We filtered through the crowds and posed for photos with young and eager local girls. In between it all I sat in the back of the taxi with Ben, wiping the dirt off our feet and grinning at each other.

Carving BuddhasWeaving in MandalayAung San Suu Kyi ClippingsLine of 40 BuddhasTemple PeaksCat Wants Attention

Toward evening, we went to U Bein bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge. It’s old and it shows; I felt a little nervous walking along with the hordes of people – mostly local tourists still – and glancing at the cracks under my feet. Some kids came up in shirts that proclaimed, “speak to me in English.” Their teacher explained they wanted to interview foreigners to improve their skills, so we obliged, withdrawing from the crowd to sit on a bench as we were asked our name and if we liked Myanmar. When we stood back up, it was time to cross back the way we came in time for sunset. Boats with tourists floated over the lake beneath us. The yellow orb of the sun sank lower and lower, silhouetting those on the bridge with their arms outstretched for selfies.

Fields by U Bein BridgeSunset over U Bein Bridge

As the dark encompassed us, we went back to the hotel, setting down our cameras before heading out again in search of food on the city streets. Across from a mosque, in what appeared to be the Muslim quarter of town, we came across a chapati stand. Our food was served to us with an enormous grin and my face quickly matched our server’s as I took a taste.

That night in our hotel room, after our first full day in Myanmar, I could say without hesitation I was satisfied, excited, and – happy.

For Truth of Yes and No

Posted on 23 January 2016

We enter our dark Seattle apartment after a day of flying across the world. We mildly half unpack, we look at the internet, we go to sleep. The next morning, I wake up. The next morning is a week away from the beginning of a cascade of horrible news.

This morning is a week away from the memorial. This morning is five mornings away from flying much of the way across the country, for reasons I wish I could obliterate.

The anxiety rustling in my chest, in my throat, on the series of planes to Mandalay was not the usual travel apprehension. It was the bristles of a real fear: what if it happens when I am here? When I am all the way across the world?

Every time my phone managed to load gmail on the spluttering wifi, I keyed in her address. I gushed about my adventures. Do you know I always want you to know where I am in life, what I am doing and learning?

Death is the reality now, but what is this reality? What is it, really? Am I going to be taught more truths in Ohio? Is that possible, without you? Are we really without you?

When a spark of kind ferocity glints in me, I suspect the answer is no, not really.

Ascension

Take Care

Posted on 29 November 2015

Recently, I’ve been up in the mountains. The Pacific Northwest weather has turned; it has started raining, and a chill has settled in the air. People have cranked up their heaters, are lingering inside more and more, and the dark drifts in early. Total insulation, isolation, however, is impossible, though we often do not feel it, hiding away as we often do.

Glacier, Heliotrope Ridge

I’ve been raring for adventures. Almost every weekend spent at home with chores seems like a weekend lost. Ben found a hike, Heliotrope Ridge, that sounded like an especial, beautiful adventure: fording several water to come up to a glacier at Mount Baker. So we made our way, hoping across several rivers and gradually gaining altitude, until we hit our last obstacle. A not huge but not small torrent rushed off glaciers above and flew downhill, over drop offs, rocks, and blocking our way. You see, I have short legs: hopping across was not an option. I peeled off my shoes and socks and plunged my feet into the water in the hopes of wading across before realizing that was futile. The water instantly sapped away my feeling, the rocks were slippery, the water was pushy, and there was nothing to hold on to. Falling in the frigid river and soaking myself was a dangerous prospect; I looked up as distant foggy masses slowly drifted in. Still barefooted, with my shoes in Ben’s care across the river, I scrambled higher and higher up the bank. Loose, rocky soil ran away from my fingertips as I tried to cling on, all of my muscles clenched. I scouted higher and higher. Ben, with some difficulty, re-forded the river and joined me in my attempts to scout out a way across. There was no way for us, so we settled for ascending a climbers’ trail, high enough so we could see the glacier over the river. We settled down in our down jackets to eat a snack of cheese and crackers.

Leaning over the river, poking my foot in and realizing the water’s strength and withdrawing, I felt a buzzing, raw fright. I had reached a natural limit. My situation was far from dangerous, but, pushing, I could have made it so. My body realized that, and whatever fear chemicals there are pulsed mildly under my skin, and I heeded them.

Climbers' Path to Mt. Baker

When I was in Peru, trekking to Lares with friends, using a hand-drawn map as our guide, I felt a similar buzz, a knowledge that the situation could easily be beyond my powers. Jim and I stood on a cliff, supposedly overlooking a town through which the road we need to reach passed through. We could not see this town, though – everything below was completely obscured by fog. Darkness would be descending, and we had a couple hours yet to walk. We could not see our way down. We walked along the cliff, Jim scouting ahead of me, climbing down potential routes that quickly turned out pointless. We leaped across a waterfall. Finally, we found the usual footpath down a steep hill: slippery but fairly safe. I still felt the alarm pulsing through me. We were at the mercy of the weather and the light. Already earlier that day, we crossed the first pass, the way ahead obscured by falling snow and drifting, heavy clouds. The ice-topped mountains surrounding us were awe-inspiring, and ominous. We made it to Lares that night, tired, chilly, and wet, but proud of our hike, and the two passes we’d climbed and descended through in one day.

Pachacutec Pass, Peru

This trepidation is not fear alone: it is paired with a healthy awe, with admiration, appreciation. Ben and I drove out to the gorgeous Methow Valley a few weekends ago, going through Washington Pass. Our way home in particular was snowy. Despite plows prowling back and forth, snow was accumulating rapidly, making the road white and slick. The trees bent under the weight of heavy, wet flakes. Several times we pulled over to the side and ran around gleefully. Snow! Mountain! Beauty! It was gorgeous, and it was indifferent to us. The snow fell, making the landscape pretty, and ever more treacherous. That’s when I feel the blood pulsing through my veins.

Washington Pass

We humans never seem to remember it, but the earth can push us aside. We like to hide ourselves indoors, furthering the illusion of protection – a protection that could, really could, be shattered. We also spew and tear around, plundering, polluting, not really thinking beyond ourselves. Our work may last for a while, but mess around with the earth, and it can really, really slap us down.

Step outside and remember: the world is more powerful than we ever will be. Best to take care.

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