Wandering Wisdoms: V.2

Tears have kept on falling. History

has taught them its slanted understanding

of the human face.  At each last embrace

the snow brings down its disintegrating curtain.

The mind shreds the present, once the past is over.

— Galway Kinnel, from Goodbye

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Travel Impressions, Distinctly Modern

Though I’ve now done this drive across California to Colorado more than a dozen times, nothing beats the thunderstorms that roar over the San Rafael Swell in the middle of nowhere, Utah. Each adventure across the 1000 miles that wander me from my childhood doorstep to my adult life, takes on its own meaning, its own personality, its own beauty. This drive has something to do with transition, but also comfort and confidence. And the lightning strikes on distant mesas provoke a particular philosophical muse.

I set the cruise control to 79 mph, switch on the A.C. and turn the volume up on Nashville Skyline.  Most people take two or three days to complete this drive, but I’m driven to spend as much time with family on both ends of the journey, so I pack the entire route into one 18-hour period. Along the way, I’ll watch the sunrise above the Mojave Desert, breath deep the nostalgic smell of Creosote after the rain, ignore the lust and loitering in Las Vegas, slow down through the Virgin River Gorge of Arizona, enjoy the hospitality of a Colorado Brewery, and sing up the moon and the stars and the quiet as I whip over the Continental Divide into the lights of Denver.

In the end, I’ll have crossed through five states, burned 25 gallons of gas, and traveled farther than the vast majority of human beings alive today, or ever for that matter, will travel in their entire lifetime.  While these numbers aren’t usually important to me, the sheer amount of open space and beauty and even experience that I’m literally gobbling up in a small window of time, astounds me. Our modern world grants us access to consume at a rate which I’m pretty sure our brains can no longer keep up with.

Just in the act of writing this post, dozens of links and photos related to the scattered topics and places I’ve mentioned appear as potential source material, all created by other people consuming at similar rates. In a moment, I’ll hit save or publish or delete, and as rapidly as the lightning makes contact with the desolate desert of Abbey’s subtle poetry, this piece of “travel impressions” will lift into space with its garbled thoughts and incomplete neo- post-modern pontifications.

“Fatigued Drivers Pullover!”  The Utah Department of Transportation shouts at me from the other side of the white line.  I am fatigued.  I am on a wanderers overload.  Thank goodness for the rest stop, the view point… the little trail that leads to the edge of Devil’s Canyon.  For a few peaceful moments in solitude I can lean over the chasm and stare into the depths of the outrageous aesthetic that is 0 mph. I can laugh with the dark gray skies and float weightlessly on the wind with my friend the Raven, who really knows how to live.

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Wandering Wisdoms: V.1

“To me too has not unrest been ordained, have not I too been endowed with a heart which knoweth not repose? The story-teller’s star — is it not the moon, lord of the road, the wanderer, who moves in his stations, one after another, freeing himself from each? For the story-teller makes many a station, roving and relating, but pauses only tentwise, awaiting further directions, and soon feels his heart beating high, partly with desire, partly too from fear and anguish of the flesh, but in any case as a sign that he must take the road, towards fresh adventures which are to be painstakingly lived through, down to their remotest details, according to the restless spirit’s will.”

— Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers

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A Wanderer Looks at 30: Unabridged

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

— Stephen Hawking

I’m excited to celebrate the 100th post on this site with a meandering on life as I reach an age milestone that I find quite significant. I’ve learned a lot during my walk on this earth, yet I know very little. Yes, it’s cliche to say that the more I learn, the more I discover how much I have to learn, but it’s absolutely true.  And to that end, most of what I’ve learned are perspectives, ideas, and truths that other much greater minds have realized during their journeys. So instead of attempting to arrogantly develop my own philosophy, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on this statement from Stephen Hawking, one of the most powerful minds of our time. Continue reading

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A Wanderer Looks at 30: Part 3 – Imagination

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”

Stephen Hawking goes on to say, “Try to make sense of what you see, and always wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Hawking’s call to wonder strikes a resonant chord in my being. Continue reading

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A Wanderer Looks at 30: Part 2 – Love

“If you are lucky enough to find love, don’t throw it away.”

Once again, I want to expand our concept of love.  I am most certainly blessed to be married to Lindsay and to become the father of our baby in 2014 (the greatest 30th birthday present I could ever receive). But I think Stephen Hawking might agree that love goes beyond this lifelong partnership.  Love is found in our families, in our friendships, in our communities, and in a deeply interconnected way, through the whole universe.

In a speech I heard by Desmond Tutu, he unpacked the word Ubuntu. In a rough translation, Ubuntu means, “I am, because you are.” Take a moment to contemplate that statement.  How often do we view ourselves as isolated, autonomous beings? Continue reading

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A Wanderer Looks at 30: Part 1 – Work

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

I’m excited to celebrate the 100th post on this site with the start to a meandering on life as I reach an age milestone that I find quite significant. I’ve learned a lot during my walk on this earth, yet I know very little. Yes, it’s cliche to say that the more I learn, the more I discover how much I have to learn, but it’s absolutely true.  And to that end, most of what I’ve learned are perspectives, ideas, and truths that other much greater minds have realized during their journeys. So instead of attempting to arrogantly develop my own philosophy, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on this statement from Stephen Hawking, one of the most powerful minds of our time.

Part 1: Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Continue reading

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