Monday, November 12, 2012

Simple Things, Winter Winds

The winter winds blew this way last weekend, and what seemed like an endless summer ended abruptly. Winter is my most productive season when it comes to writing words, and I welcome it knowing I’ll enter a headspace I value very much. This will be my third winter since I committed to the life of a free writer, a decision I don’t regret in any way.

I write these words from my second office, the coffeeshop, though office is certainly the wrong word for a space to create art; rarely do I write much from the coffeeshop, usually I’m doing electronic chores for the day, sending emails and doing other interweb related things.

My town, Durango, is my kind of town, home, a place I don’t ever see moving away from, one that will fill many chapters in the book that is my life. I enjoy the chapters of winter because it is the only season I don’t feel much angst. I can accept the shorter days, set small goals to get done each day, type a few paragraphs for chapters, allow the novel that is life to build slowly. In spring, summer and fall I feel so much pressure to climb, run, party, love…winter is the season that balances it all out, to just take it slow.

And how slow can I take it? How much could I appreciate this sip of tea, this moment in my downtown, the trees that shed their remaining leaves, the mountaintops that finally look right because they are covered in snow.

What is this life as a writer? How does it influence my daily life? The trips I make, the risks I take? When the season of adventure is nearing a close and the season for reflection begins? For others it is the opposite, snow has a different meaning for everyone. For some their love for snow will claim their lives this winter. It always seems to. We’re all going there, one way or another.

They say you can never go back home, I guess you can never just go back in time. Yet with seasons are the constant reminders, and though the climate is changing many reminders are still there. I think we can still find home though, find home in a place we’ve never been, yet the community is waiting to accept us, welcome us.

On this third winter, on my verge of my thirty-fourth year of life I am at home, hoping for a few more days of Indian Summer to spend in the red rock desert, then welcoming winter in, to take it easy, take it easy baby. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Airport Reflections

This is a piece I wrote a few weeks ago while hanging out in the Las Vegas airport. I didn't post it after it was written, but I figured I'd do so now. Enjoy. 

I am at the end of a 12 day trip, sitting in the airport, way early for my flight, with random thoughts of prose popping into my head, scattered notes that are unable to form into something big or coherent, but important thoughts all the same.

This trip was important for me personally because I climbed El Capitan, one of my longtime life goals. It was my third attempt, and physically the hardest thing I have ever done. I did it with a great partner, Dave Ahrens, and we worked as a team to achieve the goal.

Dave Ahrens high on El Cap, baby!

El Cap really isn’t on my mind much this morning, it’s a rock and we climbed it, that’s what climbers do, we climb things. What is on my mind is people. After Yosemite we drove to Las Vegas, because Dave has a guiding certification course he is taking at the Red Rocks climbing area. Its hot as hell here, and yesterday while Dave went into Red Rocks to practice some rescue skills I loitered in Vegas. I started off in Starbucks, moved over to Dunkin Donuts, and eventually was coffee-ed out so I went to get something to eat. I ended up at the nearby Red Rock casino food court, ate some grub, and then walked around the casino.

I can see why gambling is illegal in most places, it brings out the desperation and pathetic nature in a lot of people. The lonesome person clicking the same button over and over while they smoke their cigarette; a slow easy death. The sight of one is enough to make the soul sad, but a hundred of these people, well, that’s really damn sad and pathetic.

Then I think of other people, my people, the dirtbags, the risk takers, the adventurers. We look for thrills mostly in the outdoors, and that energy is absorbed into the essence of who we are. Interact with a vibrant person, and we feel that energy within ourselves. I’m not saying living an existence in the mountains is the only way to access this energy, it’s just how my tribe does it. God, energy, whatever you want to call it can be found in a thousand ways, but it must be found, its not going to come without effort.

I started out with trip with a dream to climb a rock with a friend. The dream came true. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I did. Third times a charm. So is the eleventh or a hundredth. Keep trying. Keep dreaming. Dreams with effort come true. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Slideshow in Durango at The Rock Lounge Tomrrow

This Thursday, November 8th there will be a free slideshow with local climbing authors Luke Mehall and Ian Allison at 6:30 p.m. at The Rock Lounge.

Luke Mehall is the publisher of The Climbing Zine and author of Climbing Out of Bed, a definitive collection of climbing and mountain town stories. He is also a frequent contributor to the Durango Telegraph. During his slideshow he’ll talk about the stories from the zine and his book, with a focus on his climbing partners that have inspired him over the years.

Ian Allison is the author of Durango Bouldering and has been a part of the Durango climbing community for the past 12 years. During his slideshow he’ll talk about some of the places in the world he’s climbed at, with an emphasis on his recent trip to the climbing meccas of Kalymnos and Meteora in Greece.

The Rock Lounge is located at 1111 Camino Del Rio, and they can be contacted at 970-259-7625. More information about The Climbing Zine and Durango Bouldering can be found at and

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