Insanity at Calamity

NIMG_0098oah and I emerged from the shaded trail of Calamity Brook and reached a clearing where there lay a daunting pile of wood.  Our job was to carry in treated lumber to replace a wire suspension bridge.  The sticky heat made us sweat in streams

Once my pack was full of wood, Noah lifted it up so I could slide my arms in the straps.  Then I started the two mile hike up to the bridge site. Within a mile I was far ahead of Noah, who has bad knees.  The wood stuck out three feet above my head.   Continue reading

I Never Knew I Loved the Stars

We walked down to the lake; it was so dark I had to trust my feet knew the way.  We arrived at a silver platter of water.  As the stars grew brighter, our eyes grew wider and the stars reflected in the lake like trembling diamonds.  We laid down on the cement dock to watch the meteor shower.

In 1962 the Turkish poet, Nazim Hikmet, sat on the Prague-Berlin train and wrote, “I just remembered the stars…my heart was in my mouth looking at them.  They are our endless desire to grasp things.”   He wrote the poem, “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved,” after leaving prison. Continue reading

A Corridor of Sacrifice

hitch4 5In his commencement speech, “This is Water,” David Foster Wallace said, “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people, and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”

Wallace wanted people to think beyond the self-centered “default setting” of our brains.  We have a choice of what to think about, Continue reading

This Ones for the Females

IMG_0020This one’s for the female forest workers. To women who never complain and push through pain, who must swing back and forth between being one-of-the-guys and being a woman.  We pull more than our weight to keep up, and often surprise ourselves.

To the women who hate shitting in the woods, but do it.  Or, like me, would rather take a solemn shit in the woods than any place where humans have gone before; a latrine, a privy, or god forbid, a public restroom.  Continue reading

Fire in the Rain

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hammering the decking.

The sun didn’t come out until Thursday.  By then it loomed like a foreign planet charging towards the earth.  To look up and squint felt odd as a thin layer of sweat made my face itch.  It rained most of the week where we worked in the cold shaded forest of the Brook Trout Trail.  My tent was the only dry place. Every morning when I unzipped the door, a dense, damp chill rushed in, making it that much harder to climb out of my sleeping bag and put on wet clothes, boots, and socks. Continue reading