Sunday, September 30, 2012

Communing With Nature

Normally, I don't skip church on a Sunday morning to go hiking, but this morning I felt the need to get out into the mountains and just walk. I had been looking forward to the trip to Capitol Reef (that didn't happen this week) for a very long time. I have mentioned this before, but time spent in the wild places around me is time I use to rejuvenate my mind and soul. My job (the one I am grateful I have, but dislike more than I can express) seems to suck everything good and wholesome right out of me. Time spent camping helps replenish what I lose on a daily basis. Missing that was not easy, though we did find ways to make it easier. One of those ways was to spend time hiking today; the final day before returning to work. I wanted to spend time in the majesty of the mountains, surrounded by the amazing autumn colours, and worrying about nothing more than the settings on my camera. It was a glorious day for hiking and I have proof.

Now maybe it might not be quite as hard to face work tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Year 49, Day 1

Yesterday was my birthday. We had planned on going to Capitol Reef, but a new battery for the car ate up all our camping money and Merilee has not been feeling well, so this year's trip didn't happen. That pretty much fits the way this year has gone. Now I have to wait until the end of October and Arches for a camping trip.

Back on June 30th, we went to Spanish Oaks Reservoir to go fishing. It is a man-made reservoir with concrete walls that slant at almost 45 degrees. I had caught a smaller fish that I tried to throw back, but it just kind of sat there in the water. Rather than waste it, I decided to try to reach down and take it out of the water. I took one step too far and slipped on the slimy wall. For most people, this would not have been a big deal. I, however, cannot swim. I felt myself being dragged out into the water and it was not long before my feet were not touching anything. I managed to call for help and, fortunately, there were some scouts and their leaders not far away. They were able to get a had net out to me and pull me back in. I never went under completely, and I somehow managed to not panic, but I know how close I came to actually drowning. I have been trying to deal with that event ever since it happened with varying degrees of success. I have still not fully processed it, though I am definitely glad I am still around. I just keep wondering why, because not much has changed since then. My job has become progressively more oppressive and everything is pretty much like it was before, though I still get chills when I remember the feeling of not being able to stop myself from sliding into the water and those thoughts come back at the oddest moments. The year seems to have gotten steadily more strange since.

While we did not get to go camping, we did spend most of my birthday visiting Nine Mile Canyon. Much of what was once a washboarded dirt road is now nicely chip sealed. While that makes the driving much easier, it worries me a bit that the easier access may end up hurting some of the petroglyph sites due to human abuse. I hope that is not the case because the canyon and the art are irreplaceable treasures. That said, we had a great time and I took tons of photos. I even managed to see some sites I had never seen before. It was very enjoyable.

I am treating my birthday much like New Year's Day in that I am making some changes going forward. One is writing again, something I have been neglecting. Another is going a year without soda (one day in a row so far). Anyway, we'll see how successful I am this time around. And with that I will call this one good. My thoughts are just not very organized this evening.

Monday, April 30, 2012

And So It Goes

What can I say? When I decide to drop out for awhile, I really drop out for awhile, even when I really don't mean too be gone for so long. I decided that I would take a bit of a break from the blog experience, but before I knew it that break had become a full blown leave of absence. So here I am more than three months later trying to kick start the writer I have neglected for so long. Yes, I am back. For how long is anyone's guess at this point.

It has been an interesting year so far, and not necessarily in the most positive sense. I have my books for sale on the iBooks site, but only one take so far and he may have done so out of a sense of obligation. I know that these things sometimes take awhile to get going, but I had hoped at least a couple of my Facebook friends would take a chance on the e-book versions. I'll be brutally honest; one of the reasons I took so long to do my Arches book was because I was afraid that this would be the result. I put it out there for all to see, only to be met by an overwhelming wave of indifference. (That's the fragile side of my psyche talking; the side that longs for acceptance and outside validation. It's also the side I tend to keep rather hidden.) I really do not want this to be a complaint fest, but I guess I let my hopes get a little too high (something I always seem to do, even with all the experience I have to teach me not to). The books are still there, and I have begun working on another. I guess in spite of my outward pessimism, my inner optimist struggles on.

While in Zion this month, Merilee and I stopped by the Fatali Gallery in Springdale, right outside the park. I think if I had known what waited for me, I may not have gone in. When I saw the amazing photography there, I suddenly felt rather small. I like to think that I have a talent for photography, but those photos were so beautiful that I found myself feeling alternately awed at what I saw, and disheartened with my own work in comparison. Again, it's that fragile, self-doubting side of my psyche making an appearance. His work left me speechless....and wondering if I should throw in the proverbial towel. I won't, partly because I am just too stubborn to admit defeat, no matter how defeated I may feel sometimes.

OK, that's enough for tonight. Anyone glad I am back? Anyone at all? If not, that's OK. I still write mainly for me, not for an audience.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What a month it has been so far. I am just starting to get used to waking up earlier for my new schedule at work. The last couple of weeks has been very busy and rather stressful. By the time the day has come an end, I have had nothing left in me for writing. I'm thinking that it will be a bit easier this week, so hopefully the blog will proceed with a new sense of regularity (I would say urgency, but I really don't have anything that urgent to say at the moment). The really nice thing about my new schedule is I am free at 3:25PM rather than 5:05PM.

In a way, it surprises me that we are already two weeks into the new year. Sometimes time seems to literally fly by (usually when I am not at work) and I find myself wondering where it went. Part of that is due to the fact that my job is more a study in endurance than something that I find truly interesting. When you are living just to get through something because it is something you need to do, there is not much time left for anything more fulfilling.

I still find myself hoping that someone will see my books on Blurb and I will be able to start using my photography as my means of earning money. I fully realize what a long-shot that is, especially since I have a rather small circle of friends and none of them can really afford either book, but there is that small glimmer of hope that something miraculous will happen. In the meantime, I make plans for my next photographic endeavor and restrain myself from checking back too frequently to see if anyone has bought either book yet.

We are beginning to plan out our camping trips for this year. At this point, we are thinking Zion in April, Great Basin in July, Capitol Reef in September, and Arches in October. We might even throw in a trip to the Tetons in June. It is all still in the initial planning stages at this point, so we'll see what actually happens. Right now, I would love to escape for a couple of days somewhere, but that is just not possible in January (work, of course).

I have decided that I need to work a bit more on being grateful, so I am going to start listing at least one good thing I have accomplished/done during the previous week. I will probably do this on Sundays, at least that is my plan. This week's accomplishment: I have made it through the first two weeks of January and I am still (relatively) sane. That may sound silly, but with my job, I consider that an accomplishment.

That's all for tonight. I should be back tomorrow. Hopefully.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year, New Goals (Kind Of)

Without further ado, I hereby present

What I Plan, Or Hope, To Accomplish, The End Of The World (2012) Edition
1. Complete a photo book about Capitol Reef. I did it (finally) once, I think I can do it again.

2. Other than the photo book, write four chapters or four short stories, or any combination of the two.

3. Hike to the summit of Timp again. I'll have to get started on preparing for this one right away.

4. Hike up to Squaw Peak.

5. Upgrade my computer. This one may soon become a necessity.

6. Exercise. I need to get into shape. I want to be able to go hiking and only stop frequently because I am taking photos, not because I need a breather.

7. Write in my journal at least once a week. This is an oldie but goodie at this point.

8. Visit Great Basin National Park. It is really quite close and we have never been there.

That's a few for right now. I will likely add more tomorrow, but right now I am rather tired. We spent the evening with my family at our monthly family party/late Christmas gathering (my brother and his family had to wait until this weekend to come up from St. George) and the noise tends to wear on me a bit sometimes. i could not, however, miss posting the first day of the year.