A Place And All Its Creatures.

To everyone who cared at all about this project even just a tiny bit, you’re amazing. A gigantic thank you & hug… this is nowhere close to all the thanks I have to give but this is where I'll start:

Thanks for helping us make a bare-foot friendly floor and a cozy, warm interior. For suggesting puzzle piece rubber underneath our memory foam bed and for hacking us the gift of solar power.  For your empowerment to quit an unfulfilling job and for letting us live in your home while you were out of town. For nudging me a long since before this became a “reasonable” idea, and for living like a crazy person yourself. For being so interesting I couldn't leave our conversation for hours and hours and hours. For getting me a copy of Another Roadside Attraction, which I LOVED.  For your contagious laughter and unforgettable, consuming smile.

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For the amazing ukulele and for meeting up on the road no matter how inconvenient it made your plans. For putting water on the fire in the freezing mornings before I could even commit to waking. For teaching me "Ripple" so we could jam together at sunset and for sharing your cashew cheese on a sunny hike. For not taking advantage of us and for making Walmart way more fun. For chicken shit bingo and for filling your living room with waltz. For your wide eyes and warm showers. For believing in magic and earthquakes and the reincarnation of bears.  

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For celebrating together in early January and for letting us store “just a few things” at your house. For picking up the phone to ask how we were doing and for dancing together under stars and rooftops and rain. Thanks for making sure we had AAA and health insurance and for helping us keep the van free of leaks and free of thieves. Thanks for referencing Nietzsche on the phone and for double-making sure the fire was out before we said goodnight. Thanks for preparing extremely local food together and for parking better than I do. Thanks for battling our exhaustion with your enthusiasm and meeting us with excitement when defeat felt heavy.

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  Thanks for helping us sleep peacefully in your flat driveways and for drinking together at your favorite dive bars. Thanks for inviting us to use your kitchen while you went to work and for making us the most delicious cup of coffee in your aeropress-prius setup. Thanks for taking us to soul night and for the special Turkish meal in Philly. Thanks for celebrating on your roof with Ardent-gifted beer and for the personal brewery tour. Thanks for wanting to go on long road trips to places you’d already been because you thought I might like them, and for waking me up with Roos Roast, unparalleled spunk, and “breakfast” cookies. Thanks for making me red clover tea when I was too sick to move off the couch and for reading aloud together. Thanks for hiking up Camel Back together and for letting us play with your dogs...and your goats.

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Thanks for teaching me to take better photos and for your consistent attempts to help me be more patient, a seemingly impossible task. Thanks for wanting to set up a hammock over the frigid river water and for letting me paint all of your faces. Thanks for stitching up our broken clothes and for dying my hair in your sink. Thanks for the thoughtful care package stuffed with clothes and bedtime stories in a whisper. Thanks for playing acro together and for feeling totally cool about peeing in a jar. Thanks for fighting with me about things you care about and for drawing pictures together in a park. Thanks for stealing Nahko’s set list and for telling us how cold brew coffee signaled the start of gentrification in your home. Thanks for bringing us into your workspace and spending hours telling us about your life, your mission, your challenges. Thanks for accepting and celebrating us, knowing we’ve picked very different lives and it's likely that neither of us will ever change our minds.

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Thanks for having no plans last minute on Sunday, and spending the entire day together in Florida. Thanks for rehashing old family wounds and re-connecting on the water and in your vibrant home. Thanks for supporting the kickstarter and supporting us for canceling it. Thanks for sending me pictures of all the tolls they sent to the house and for being the “location-keeper” on sketchy nights. Thanks for your wild imagination when we were kids and for the book of campfire stories you wrote, illustrated, and gifted me. Thanks for telling me how you handle fear and for inviting us into your lives no matter how chaotic, busy, and stressed you were.

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Thanks for hand-cranking coffee in the ridiculously early morning and for kicking my ass at cards all night. Thanks for sharing your own questions and curiosities about the world, about happiness and “success". Thank you for your courage in exploring other ways to live and inspiring the rest of us to do the same.  This wasn’t a “trip” nor is it over, though its form evolves. I hope you'll keep designing and shaping your own life with your own rules and keep talking honestly about what you're going through. Keep asking hard questions and stretching out of your comfort, your routine. I hope you'll stay critical about your intentions, your impulses, your cravings, your secrets, welcoming whatever you might find. You don’t have to know what it’s going to look like or what you want to do with the rest of your life. Instead, find home in uncertainty and peace in presence. Choose to be happy and commit to balance, instead of hoping to find these things along the way. 

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Though this is the last post on this blog, creative projects are still coming out of this last year. I’ll be continuing to write and share them on my new blog you can find here and you can find Donnie’s beautiful videos coming out of Snaggy Mountain here. 

xxaa

Past and Present

It’s silly to pretend we don’t feel an aching for our past, isn’t it? 

Yet, we do it all the time. I do. 

Not because of regret. Not because I’d prefer it over the present. Not even for a freedom that “growing up” seems to trade in without permit. With no presence of reason at all, I feel this way today. 

My immediate response - seek reason. I’m grounded when I feel rational. Which is ironic. "Maybe the seasons and Thanksgiving have made me nostalgic for the magic of my own childhood", I think to myself, buried in blankets by a fire I built with real wood (once potential-rich christmas trees?). But what’s reason have to do with it anyways?

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The craving seeps out of a quiet, lonely realization that things will never unfold and feel as they have. No matter what. No matter how many years the tradition lives, the second, the third, fiftieth time will be created anew. We can mourn the loss or invite the unknowing, though I’ve always found it easier to relate with what I've known. It's not specific to the holidays but it arises with reflection of loved ones who have delivered me here. Ones who are less obviously with me - through distance or death.

My second response to this feeling is to qualify it. “I’m really very happy”, “things are great!”. These statements are both true and irrelevant. 

Maybe it's nothing more than a slippery habit. Dwelling on the beauty of the past quietly removes us from the present, and what a comfortable place for our lingering. The past, a story we create and tell ourselves. How beautiful that time was. How in love we were. How magical that Christmas morning felt. How loved we once were. How brave. How clever. How spontaneous. How free. 

Another way to avoid the present. Another craving to feed. Another doubt to fuel. 

You found it!

The new blog. You're here!

As the "A Place and all its Creatures" blog comes to a close, I'll be continuing to share writing, art, photography, and "the works" right HERE. There's lots of art still coming from "A Place and all its Creatures" and from future explorations, so stay tuned, and in touch. 

What an awesome year it's been, visiting 27 states in my 27th year and driving 19,661 miles in doing so. Donnie and I met such amazing creatures on the road and visited so many of the ones we already know and love. I attempted to recap some of these moments in a tiny thank you note you can find here. 

I sold the van last month on the 1 year anniversary of her purchase, and it was a happy farewell to a tall college sophomore and Eastern Religions and Communications major, Cooper. He met us with his father who pulled the Kelly Blue Book print off from his old jean pocket to review. Respectable. We went to the mechanic together and things checked out just fine although the man under the van self identified as "not a Diesel guy". Cooper's excitement settled my "I now have no escape" nerves and the title changed hands as I boarded a plane to Alaska (photos to come!).

Letting go of things we think define and create us, what a great practice. This giant white van and project has been such a part of my identity this last year, how will I successfully express myself without them?  Funny thought really, but it sneaks up softly before you know it. Unless you know it. 

And NOW, I've been puddle jumping around Portland and feeling cold. It's true, the coffee here is good and the people, better, yet, the truth is simple, "the sun has run out" - Dill. 

I'm going to find it and love it while I wait for a new home and VW bus to arrive from Uruguay. Fingers crossed on this one.