The Fear of The Oxbow Lake

What if I come back and I am just another guy? What if I return and I am just a reminder of a time that existed three years ago, but is now irrelevant and forgotten? What happens when I can’t fit into a puzzle I am no longer a piece to?

For someone fairly confident about the decision to come back to his home country, I am still only human. I think one would expect questions like the ones listed above to careen through my mind at blistering speeds. Questions that cause damage to my calm and to my surety. As if there wasn’t enough to think about before leaving, I can throw on a heaping pile of insecurity about the place I called home for most of my life.

When I return home in January, I am going to slip back into my life and catch up with old friends. We will have long nights of conversations and glasses won’t remain empty once we relieve them of their drink. I’ll have similar lunches and similar coffee dates. I’ll have sit-downs with those I trust and share the circus in my mind. There are things I know will happen and plenty that I don’t. That’s not my fear.

In nature, there exists a thing called an Oxbow Lake. For those of you who are familiar, skip past my introduction, but an Oxbow Lake is a section of river, or once was. Once connected, apart, and integral to the flow of the river, the Oxbow Lake wasn’t graced this title yet, it was just another bend in a series of bends that the river had to make. Over time, erosion narrowed the gap and one day, the bend became too great. The river started to push through the bend and soon, the flow changed and the once important bend of the river became a cut-off, abandoned indication. Now isolated, and separate, the water body is titled an Oxbow Lake and is no longer apart of the greater whole. It serves as a reminder to the river which cut it off, that things change, and sometimes you have strong flowing river currents, and sometimes you have Oxbow Lakes.

It is pretty clear what I am fearing will happen once I come back. It is very possible that I am no longer a piece of the community that I grew up in. That happens, that’s life. Just like the Oxbow Lake, sometimes things take their inevitable course. Sometimes, things move on because they have to. The river can’t stop, it must keep moving.

I’m not nieve. I know that life kept moving while I’ve been gone. I know that people have had babies, gotten married, moved to new houses, gotten new jobs, shared life experiences together, grown together, and cried together. As much as I know my family loves me, and my friends will always be my friends…I know that in some respects, I’m already on my way to being the Oxbow Lake.

I’m going to be apart of my nieces and nephews lives for a while. I’ll be with my sisters and brothers in law, parents too. I am coming back for many reasons, these being a few of them. In some respects, I will need to start over with relationships, and some will be new. But I need to forget that I can just pretend like nothing has happened while I’ve been gone and that I can just “continue.” Once I take that notion down, I can properly enter the space without being let down, hurt, or confused. It’s not a question of love, it’s a matter of life. This is how things are. Whether I like it isn’t the issue.

All in all, I am pretty excited to be coming back home, and whether it’s for a season or for good, I will be present and live for the moment. That’s all I can really do anyway. For those living with me in New Zealand, I’ll be taking as many opportunities here before I go. For those reading this in America, I can’t wait to see you next year.

HBD or Hike Before Death.

Lately, with the beauty and wonder of the New Zealand countryside at my disposal, I have been inspired to seek out hikes. I am slightly transparent when it comes to hiking. If a friend of mine was stuck on the side of the road in need of help, but at that exact moment I also got an enthusiastic call from another friend telling me that the caravan for a hike was about to leave….well, my other friend better have an AA card (AAA for Americans). I’m being facetious…kind of.

Also with the fact that I am leaving at the beginning of the new year for my country of birth, I have started to see opportunities for hiking everywhere. Urban hiking, day hikes, 5 hour hikes, multi-day hikes, mountain hikes, camping trips, road-trips TO the hiking destination. It doesn’t matter. Lately I have even been going on hikes on my own, which has actually been incredible. I want to soak up as much of this incredible country as I can before I leave.

This got me thinking along a very specific train of thought. I started thinking about ALL the great hikes. The spots that cause you to stop walking, look in front of you, and take deep breaths. Spots that need no camera because they leave a lasting imprint on your life. It’s places like these that I want to fill my time finding. If I am to have a hobby, then this is my craft. The hike is my vehicle, and the trail is my highway. Let’s get lost.

So what ARE the great hikes.” one may ask. The answer: Too many. Here is a list of the places I want hike before I die. Starting geographically South and going North. Once you reach the bottom, I’ll sum everything up.

CALIFORNIA (side note: I want to do the entire Yosemite Valley)

Half Dome Yosemite

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El Capitan Yosemite

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UTAH

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Springville Overlook

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Fisher Towers

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Angels Landing Zion National Park

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Mesa Arch Trail

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OREGON

Neahkanhnie Mountian

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Canyon Beach

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WASHINGTON

Mt. Baker

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Noble Knob

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The Enchantments

he Enchantments called Colchuck Lake.

Chikamin Ridge

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Blanca Lake

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CANADA

Cheakamus Lake, BC

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Banff, Alberta

Lake Louise (since I was a boy, this destination has been a place I vowed to visit)

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Johnston Canyon

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NORWAY (one day, I hope to visit the country of my family’s origin.)

Trolltunga

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Kjeragbolten

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Geirangerfjord

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Preikestolen

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So there you have it. My HBD list.

The first few locations are recent additions from places that I have always longed to go, but never have. The locations in Canada and Norway in particular have sentimental significance to me. My father’s side of the family came from Norway and I have always been insanely curious to go there and experience my heritage. And Canada. I grew up knowing that my Dad had his first honeymoon in Banff, Alberta. Since I was a little kid, I have had this tourist pamphlet from the 80’s for Banff National Park. My little eleven year old self vowed that at some point in my life, I would go to this magical land that captivated me.

I don’t know how many of these I will cross off my list, but I think that it is good to have something like this in your life. What is life without a little adventure and something to look forward to? The Wild runs through my veins. Always has. Even living in flat Chicago all my life. I was born for the mountains. I live for the ascent.

Alright, time to cross a few off my NZ list. Until next time.

The Adventures of Booker & Bishop

Hello again. I am writing to let you know that I have written a short story. ANOTHER ONE!! I have really loved writing these stories and I thought I’d share this one with you. This is a long one. Yeah. Still. If you have some time, and like my writing, I would encourage you to check it out. This is like Indiana Jones meets The Hardy Boys. I loved writing the characters and jumping into their world. I drew from my love of this genre in story and in film. So. That’s all. Have fun. Here is an excerpt from the story, but for the full story, click the link below the excerpt.

“Do you have the key with you?”

“Yes we do,” Bishop said without making an indication of its proximity.

“May I see it?”

The two looked at each other hesitantly, but ultimately, this was why they had come to Zurich in the first place. Bishop took the box out of his pocket and handed it to the professor. Griffin took the key to a room in the back of the apartment. He turned on a light connected to a slanted table and began to work. Booker pulled on Bishop’s arm,

“Hey, if those guys find out where this guy lives, and I’m sure they already know, then we may be out of time.” Griffin seemed to have heard them,

“I received that email at work, not from my home address, but yes. We don’t have much time.”

A short time later, Griffin returned from the back room with the key in his open palm,

“Do you know what this is?”

“Are you asking or do you know?” Booker tried to be funny.

Bishop responded to Griffin’s question, “Professor Hyland told us that it was very old and might predate the Greeks.”

Griffin smiled, “He was right…but he was only half right,” Griffin’s eyes widened as he walked to the empty chair. Booker and Bishop followed him. Griffin started up again,

“I have to admit, I have never seen anything like this before. The key is reminiscent of some of the earliest cultures ever documented, and yet it is unique unto itself. It is almost as if culture and civilization’s Genesis were from this very artifact,” Griffin paused to let this sink in, “After some digging and cross-referencing, I noticed the key’s designs were similar to a set of Spanish hieroglyphs found a very long time ago.”

“Professor…” Bishop started

“Stop that, call me Griffin.”

“Sorry. Griffin, the Spanish never had hieroglyphs. What civilization ever existed in that region that used hieroglyphs?”

“Ahh. This is where books are no use to you and where myth plays a very heavy role.”

The Adventures of Booker & Bishop: And THE LOST DOOR

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Writing for Another Part II

So, some of you know that I write. Yeah, I know. Shocker. Most of you know that I like to write different kinds of things, not just blogs. I enjoy branching out creatively and experiencing the joy when writing in an untested medium…at least for myself.

Not many of you know that I write for another blog, called How We Lost the Moon. There, writers, experienced and novice find a voice. You can write whatever you want. If you’ve been wanting to write a short story, but didn’t feel confident publishing it, this site will publish the work and the audience will accept it. It’s a safe place to experiment in your writing. I started writing poetry when I was a teenager, then in college my good friend David started a writing group where we shared our writing. Then I got into blogging and loved that format. HWLTM was the first place that I tried to write a short story. Once I tried it, I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. The stories I write are getting longer and longer now, ha. I am a huge advocate for the cathartic release that writing can give a person, and I will always encourage people who are shy about their writing to take a step of faith.

This month on HWLTM, they are running a contest. It’s a Blue Moon Contest. The rules are to write about a famous painting. My piece is called “A Self Portrait in Retrospect,” written on the painting “The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog,” which happens to be my favorite painting. The rules are also this: Like the post you want to win. The Like button is located at the bottom of the post and is a button with a star in it. Mobile versions of the website might have more trouble, I hear, so sorry.

Thank you for reading my blog and for enjoying what I do here. If you enjoy my post that I mentioned above, keep an eye on the website for a new short story that I will be publishing within a few weeks called, “The Adventures of Booker and Bishop: And The Lost Door.”

Thank You.

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Rumors and Here-say

So there’s a lot of rumor going around on whether I am sticking around America, or if I’ll return back to NZ after my trip home. Whether it’s friends hoping, or extended family inquisitively questioning, I decided it was time to bring everyone up to speed and on the same page. Finally.

I am moving back to the United States late January 2016.

There.

Any additional questions about where I will be living, where I will be working, if I’ve met someone, am I sick in the head, what’s wrong with NZ?, does my flat now have a spare room?……will not be answered. Partially because some of the questions are ridiculous, but mainly, because I don’t have answers for anything right now. Except my room. My flatmates will need another tenant. Message me if you’re keen. :)

Alright.

Cool.

Yeah.

See you in the New Year!