There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

27 August 2014

Bridge Swing

I was feeling pretty good after my zipline across the Victoria Falls Gorge. As I was making my way across the bridge to it's center though, my heart starting beating like a jackrabbit. My true test of adrenaline style adventure was about to begin...
As my number was photographed and logged, the men running the bungee asked me if I wanted to do the swing first, or the bungee jump. Never having done either before in my life, I felt like the Bridge Swing would be the less stressful and scary of the two.

All I focused on was my breathing as the straps were being tightened around my waist. I could hear nothing around me as I inched my way to the edge of the platform.

I'll let you be the judge of how it went.

25 August 2014

the Inner Harbor

The day was moving at turtle's pace, the previous night's bottle of wine was hindering my need to get out and explore Baltimore. I turn on the TV to check the weather, finding it to be mostly overcast with periodic showers.

Hot, muggy and wet. Seemed idyllic for seeing the Inner Harbor.
The inner harbor is full of shops and restaurants, seemingly all tourist traps. I find myself more suited to following the pier's edge, staring at schools of fish swimming in circular motion, and gaze upon the occasional ghost ship anchored here and there.
The rain cools my face as the sweat makes my back sticky. After a few hours of aimless wandering, I find myself crisscrossing between main streets and side street alleyways as I take my time going back to the hotel. It is in this pursuit that I find a gem that sums up Baltimore for me perfectly.
A beautiful piece of artwork in an alley where no one would expect to look.

For me, that allegory is much like the city of Baltimore itself.

24 August 2014

"Here" in the Hippodrome with Jackson Browne

Built in 1914, the former vaudeville Hippodrome theater in Baltimore had the old world aire of great performances within it's walls. As I found my seat near the top, I saw I was stage front center. The perfect seat for an acoustic evening of Jackson Browne's music.

As I sat down, the elderly woman to my left starts the usual conversation with me. She regales me with stories of how she has followed Jackson since his early days in Laurel Canyon, how she has met him a few times, and what songs she hopes to hear tonight.

I smile and engage, telling her of my love of music, and some of the shows I've seen this year. She returns with a delightful tale of Beatlemania, seeing that group at Shea stadium in the 1960's. Her husband smiles with crooked teeth and flicks his long, gray hair back, laughing about his "flower power" wife.

As Jackson comes on stage, he lets us know that there will not be a set list for tonight's performance. Instead he will just play what he feels, but encourages the audience to shout out their favorites. Immediately my new friend stands and raising both hands to her mouth, screams out the song she wants to hear.

Her wish was fulfilled, as was mine. "Here" is my favorite song of the evening.

23 August 2014

the Zambian History Museum

Museums are open windows into a country's past. The unassuming building in Livingston that housed the Livingston Zambia History Museum showcased a perfect narrative of their land and people, from early man to the modern day.
"Sympathy is no substitute for action." -David Livingstone.

The story of David Livingstone's travels throughout Africa, from searching for the source of the Nile river to his missionary work, relationship with the people of Africa, and his crusades as a believer in anti-slavery were inspiring. The museum has hundreds of hand written letters preserved in glass that you can pull and read the explorer's thoughts.
The British invasion and attempted colonialism of Africa is a story of morbid fascination. The museum details out a timeline of this, from the initial invasion to Zambia's eventual freedom from Britain.
I marvel at the tenaciousness of early explorers, and dream of how I might have handled a life such as this. Could there still be places to explore, wonders to discover? Perhaps I just need to hop onto a motorbike and find out....

“If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

22 August 2014

the smallness of Saratoga

It's a long five hour drive from my hometown to the dot on the map town of Saratoga, Wyoming.

I've been making this journey every few months for the last year and a half. The endless minutes tick away as the wheels turn repetitively on the asphalt.

I've run out of thoughts.
The town itself has a population of 1690, elevation at almost 7,000 feet. The only sound on the radio is from the town's local DJ. He cracks up the monotomy with this little jewel...

"Wyoming. Where you get nine months of winter, and three months of tough sledding."

I laugh and think about laying on the puffy clouds that pass over the open spaces.
I fade into the happy trails of the open West.