Category Archives: choices

Travelogue 4

This story continues from Travelogue #3.

After an exhausting hike through the Sandia foothills, I was back in the rental car. Now, this car was fantastic, not like the small SUV I drive. It had a ton of features I’ve come to enjoy, like a large GPS screen, backup camera, and Bluetooth, but also safety features like sonar that lit up indicator lights to indicate obstructions all around the car, and automatic speed matching to the car in front of me if in cruise control. Tons of room, sunroof, leather seats. It was a 2018 Nissan Maxima. I ended up putting over 1000 miles on it over the week, plus a coat of New Mexico dust. Being able to DJ my own road trip from my phone, even without cell signal, was a big plus.

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Travelogue 2

West and north of Albuquerque, as I drove several hours, first through majestic, rugged mountains, I became accustomed to the driving experience where atop every climb through a pass, the world would open into a enormous scene of expansive plateaus with sporadic formations thrusting upward, islands of rock and trees.

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It’s so simple to say, to learn, to not expect. Nothing is ever promised, not a long life, a fair shake, a returned compliment, a thank you, or an apology.

You can start believing in your own idea that you don’t need it. Harder, though, is initially or continually lying to yourself that you don’t want it, the feelings of validation, shared and connected excitement, a firm result, revenge, or a sense of justice. Persistence in denying the thoughts makes it a habit, but often feeling like an ascetic labor rather than a focused discipline. Our minds really want to feel our way in the world as much or more than reason with it. That’s who we are.

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I walk a lot. I walk my dog, a lot. When I am able, I will park my car in one spot and walk through my entire errands, returning again and again to my car. When in a new town for business or pleasure, I always walk the neighborhood near the hotel.

I wear out shoes quickly.

I hike, and always loved it, but essentially, it is just a strenuous and pleasurable walk.

I prefer to walk whenever I am able, much more so than driving, and do so nearly every day, regardless of the weather. I am enamored with (often to the point of craving) the solitude and mental recharge, but also enjoy walking with company when the opportunity arises. Sharing what you love actually increases the attraction to the activity. Alone or with company, I walk.

I rarely wear headphones when I walk, preferring birds, traffic, and the sounds of kids shrieking on some playground a block away.

I recall one day a few years ago. I was in Puerto Rico for a business trip and the entire team was leaving for lunch at a local bakery. It was literally a 10 minute walk and an 8 minute drive. They packed into two cars, while I walked in the hot damp of summer. Much of the lunch conversation was, ironically, about their fitbit stats and how travelling messes with them. After eating (my favorite time for a walk), I walked back, when an unexepected island rainstorm suddenly had me pinned down in a coffee shop for 15 minutes. The owner laughed at my horrible spanish and treated me to a free cortalito. Soaked, I nonetheless enjoyed this walk more than many.

Much earlier than that, my new girlfriend drove from the town over just to share a lunchtime walk. We stopped and practiced dance moves in a tiny park outside an office building.

For many, to walk without knowing the exact path, even if the destination is clear, can be frightening and disorienting, attacking a sense of order or stabbing at some deeper root. Wanderlust has an opposite, and a useful one it is, keeping us from aimlessness. But not knowing exactly what is around the corner can be thrilling. I have a mind and soul for this type of low risk adventure, and do not ordinarily experience hesitation or anxiety from the unknown in this setting. Known or imagined adversaries and conflicts are different entirely, and being careful is certainly wise. But, I almost never feel uncomfortable speaking to strangers, and the idea of perhaps getting lost seems to be a source of excitement more than of fear. There is a confidence that I will not only be okay, I will be better for the new experience.

And therein lies the larger lesson. To walk without any trepidation or fear through the unknown is, honestly, impossible. But, to decide to walk confidently toward the horizon nonetheless, is living.

I’m not Superman

Teeter and totter,
Mxyzpltk scratches, scribbles.
I reach into a fifth plane
unwind the riddle

I’m not Superman
don’t want to be
earning and angling to be
seen for what I

already see
Satisfied in solving
a puzzle, and proud enough
to cover my own news

A break in the sky

Sun storm, horses pounding
through silver boulders,
lowering their heads to
snort vaporous spouts,
mist laminating their blazes,
a trailing cyclone of clouds
braiding their tails,
they land at speed,
full gallop through the lifeless
shadows of March.