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

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts

06 July 2017

Puerta Blanca

The trail head signs are overshadowed by a larger warning :

"Illegals and drug smugglers may be crossing in this area. DO NOT attempt to approach them, immediately call the police!"

The morning fog is thick as I make my way along the White Door in the southern bowels of the Sonoran desert.

A lone coyote howls.
Here in the misty mountains of Organ Pipe I don the comfort of the gas mask, strapping  it on tightly before caressing the hollow bones of the Saguaro.
The hollow emptiness here is not conducive to even the bravest of smugglers, lest it be of the human kind or the other.
All souls just disappear into the mist.

13 June 2017


Berkeley is a microcosm of New York City, in my opinion. Each block is a world unto itself, wrapped in it's own beliefs and ignorant of what is happening beyonds its own sidewalk borders.
Only the homeless cross the unseen lines that separate the city from itself, refugees in their own country. Yet their is a love and unselfishness that floats in the pungent air.
The more I see this country being ripped apart by politics and hatred, I find redemption and solace in a place such as Berkeley.

An island in a sea of garbage filled with zombies that walk crooked lines and spew garbled nonsense.

31 May 2017

Little Colorado River Gorge

The Eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon is a long and desolate path in winter time. Tourists have dissipated, and the local Native American road side shops are all but closed.

Only the crows watch over the land.
It is along this stretch that one can find the Little Colorado River Gorge. A lone dirt road is my sole companion as I kick rocks in the early December morning. The signs to watch for scorpions and rattlesnakes makes me laugh.
You don't have to pay a fee here, and the views are spectacular. I climb to rocky precipice's and dangle my feet over the edge to feel a surge of adrenaline.
You can make your way out to a climatic point that gives you views both East and West, as well as straight down to the Colorado river itself.

I turn my head and look into the camera, and see that a rare look of contentment is on my face, visible among the wrinkled lines of life and the dark circles of trials.
 I circle the trail along the edge of the Gorge for a spell in the quiet, then eventually find my way back. I look back and see a lone house on a plateau.
I find that this captures the isolation and solitary wonder of this place perfectly.

30 May 2017

time with the Littles

A strong bout of melancholy and terminable sadness take hold after I return from seeing the littles.

November was the last time we all were together, and little Hope wasn't born yet.
I think sickness has finally come knocking on my door, or perhaps just old age is showing itself in my face, no matter what it is I suppose.

I've limited time left for making memories.
I let the shutter fly, and spend my waning years watching my littles here, their smiles help me through another day.

I hope they remember me in a good light.

03 May 2017

Navajo Bridge

The open road winds through the Navajo Nation like a slow moving snake. Your thoughts can easily be swallowed up in the vastness.
You see a small gathering of manufactured homes with a row of new Ford and Chevy trucks, rusty playground equipment teeters in the winter's breeze. Abandoned roadside stands hold artwork of the Native American.

I stand beside it for awhile and think about loss.
I come to a bridge, Navajo Bridge to be precise, and get out of the car. An old Navajo woman is selling jewelry in the rain. I greet her with a smile but don't buy anything. I walk towards the bridge and wonder how many have taken their final plunge here.
You feel closer to God out here under the gray skies and Red Rocks. I walk back and forth along Navajo Bridge, looking down into the Colorado river and seeing my own reflection, I look up into the sky and see nothing but simple truths.
As the song says, all that you have is your soul. Save my soul, save myself.

30 January 2017

a moment with the music of Ventura Beach

 "The ceremony is about to begin. The entertainment for this evening is not new, you've seen this entertainment through and through you have seen your birth, your life, your may recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? -enough to base a movie on??”

I wonder about this more often than not. The words of the Lizard King rattle repeatedly around in my skull.

In La La land I dream of being a Hollywood director while the ocean waves play a symphony along the smooth stones of Ventura Beach.
People are sitting in yoga poses to my right, in deep meditation to my left. Even the homeless stop their rummaging to enjoy the sunrise.

I make a movie to take home and remember.

It will be enough for today.

15 January 2017

along the Deschutes (part 2)

The road heading West was long, unassuming and empty. After a few miles of travel, I pull the car off to the side, strap on my pack, and walk into the wilderness.

I've no idea where the trail leads.
A couple of miles in, I hear the faint sound of rushing water, which I hope to be the mighty Deschutes river. I need the life force of this valley to be by my side on my walkabout.
The waters here go from narrow, rushing rapids at the bottom of a deep canyon gorge to a flooding, wide open plain.

I watch birds nest in the flooded plains, hold my imaginary son's hand on the canyon's edge.
At mile five or six I measure the amount of drinking water I have left, trying to gauge how far to continue before I must turn back.

My mind starts to play tricks on me out here in the open landscape.

I strap on protection from the unseen dangers that may be lurking around the next bend in the trail.
I find a perch high above the raging water below and get a bite to eat, calming the rampant paranoia that was overwhelming the conscious mind.

A paddle boarder slowly comes into view from behind a tree.

A dog with his owner are playing fetch with a stick.

A man on a mountain bike rides past me in ambiguity.
I watch the rushing water in slow motion, looking for salmon running upstream, or perhaps the glimpse of a greater truth in the water droplets as they dance in mid-air.

I see nothing, which perhaps is everything. I listen to that truth.

Can you hear it too?
The Deschutes river goes from a raving mad rush to a stillness that reflects everything. I come to the edge and look down, deep into the clear and picturesque landscape that is being reflected before me.
I realize that this here, this moment, is all I was wanting, searching for, hoping to find.

I feel a smile of contentment form across my tired and weary face....
and follow the Road home again.

21 September 2016

the bridges that beckoned

Just outside the small town of Redmond, Oregon, the interstate crosses a deep canyon with two bridges that span the crevasse.

The sun has just broken the skyline to start the day, and in the early morning light I have this space to myself. My mind is most at peace in the early morning as I walk the path with strange lizards and the blackest of crows.
The still water below, the blue sky above, the chill of the air escaping my mouth and hanging for just a moment in the air before dissipating into the atmosphere.
It's not about any great destination. For me, it's taking the time to enjoy the moment for what it is.

11 September 2016

Hotel Congress

People look at me funny as I leave the office early, but I shrug it off. I've put in my time.

The open desert road and a unique voice calls. I slide the CD into the player and drive, destination Hotel Congress.

The windows come down and I let the warm breezes cascade across my skin as I pull into town.

I saddle up to the bar and learn about the history of this unique hotel.
In 1919, the Hotel Congress and tap room was built. On January 22nd, 1934, the Hotel Congress catches fire. The third floor is never restored, and they lost the elevator, which to this day is still out of commission.
The fire though led to the capture of  the infamous John Dillinger and his gang. The story is one that truly must be heard or read about while in the hotel.

The historic hotel is also haunted, at least some of the rooms. I spend the night in room 220, and later learn this one of the rooms that housed one of the hotel's last long term residents, Vince Szuda.

He lived there for $7/night from the 1950's until his passing in 2001. He was a helpful fix-it man, and was always borrowing butter knives from the Cup Cafe to use as screwdrivers to fix things around the hotel.

Staff to this day still find butter knives randomly throughout the hotel.
As I finish my libation in the Tap Room, I see it's been re-named Tiger's tap room, in honor of the bar keep that turned 80 in 2013, and still works the counter to this day.
I was more than pleasantly surprised with the gem I found in the heart of Tucson.

25 March 2016

Meteor City

A giant head with a mohawk appears like an ugly mirage along the Interstate.

Teepee's are scattered against the empty high desert plain.

Vandalized mobile homes have their contents trashed and strewn about.

A culture that had lost it's way.

Welcome to Meteor City.
A place that at one time was most likely a tourist trap for those visiting Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, and the Painted Desert, now all that remains are faded signs selling Indian blankets.

Scorpions and snakes make their home in the rotted wood and broken bottles of beer. You do not hear the beautiful music of the Hopi here, only silence.

16 February 2016

Arlington National Cemetery

When one enters Arlington National Cemetery and sees row after white row of grave markers, it is hard to fathom the thousands of lives buried here.
I have a strong lineage in the Armed Forces, both in the U.S. and Australia. Sacrifices made by my Grandfather, Uncle's and my own Father. They older I get the more I respect their service.
I think about the Stanley Kubrick movie, "Full Metal Jacket", and the scene where the soldier has a peace sign on his helmet next to the words "Kill". He explains to his superior about the "Duality of Man".
My Grateful Dead t shirt is partially hidden under a wool coat. I represent peace and an alternative view to all of this killing and loss of life.
Remember the dead, learn from history.

31 December 2015

The ashes of American Flags (finale)

I find more comfort than usual as I watch the American Flag slowly move with the light breeze in the solemn morning of a winter's desert.
The last few town's I venture through before heading home increase with character and the independent spirit.
Ironically, the last two songs on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot are "Poor places" and "Reservations". As they play, an old man emerges from a storefront, struggling to button his trousers before they fall down around his ankles.

He can barely walk, and so I watch him carefully, as I'll need to help him if he can't get his pants secure.

He holds them tightly as he looks both ways before crossing the empty street on this early Sunday morning.

Proud, independent, American.

Only the mannequins and I see this.
This album has emptiness where music should be, notes play when the mainstream wants silence. A lone sign warns of visitors from another world.
There it is, the truth that lies in the ashes of American Flags.
Color comes back into the world as the sun breaks free of the clouds, and warms the tree that waits in patience for the rays of light.

30 December 2015

The ashes of American Flags (part three)

The third act was here, playing out against the cold red rock on the Winter solstice. I savored the daylight I had left on the open road.
I haven't seen one Wal-Mart yet in these small towns, which frankly surprises me, and my premise for this road adventure. It changes my outlook, solidifies the notion that you can only judge something after being a witness to it yourself.
I knock on the door, hoping to purchase something fresh and organic, but all I hear is the distant barking of a dog. I find an open desert valley, and wander in the stillness for a spell....
then turn the ignition, and carry on, feeling that the course of the original project has changed from one of showcasing the decline of the middle class to one of hopeful optimism that it was all propaganda and lies in the first place. 

26 December 2015

The ashes of American Flags (part two)

The communities quickly turned from self sustaining entities to wood cabins and ghost towns. Not from Capitalism over taking good natured business, but from the elements of time.

Something that affects all of us, eventually.
I see the last remnants of something that was started in the late 19th century, when the pioneering spirit and the dream to live one's life on terms you set was a truth many sought, and most obtained. A place where you can raise a family in safety, or shack up in solitude and survive off the land around you.
There are still those that have made peace out here in middle america, and are content with this idea of freedom. A mom and pop motel on the high desert plain. A fruit grove nestled in the canyon. An antique store that holds cherished wonders.

I find artistic lightning striking everywhere as I sit in the earth and ponder the journey thus far....
I'm about halfway, and with quickly diminishing daylight, I don the aviator goggles, and continue down the empty road.

24 December 2015

The ashes of American Flags (part one)

My sister gave me Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to listen to when I was moving out of State.

"It's not my favorite Wilco album, but I think you'll really like it!"

She always understood me better than I did. I used to listen to it nonstop as I would drive around Arizona, through small decimated towns hit hard from the impact of big corporate companies such as WalMart.

I had an idea back in 2012, on the tenth anniversary of the album's release, to drive through small town USA and see if the economy was still in shambles, if Big Business was still destroying rural America.
The weekend before Christmas, 2015, I climbed in my little car at 4 am, and starting a one thousand mile journey through my home State of Utah to complete that idea.
This is part one of a four part series that will show what I saw, put to the music of Wilco's album.

Towns that do not reflect the suffering middle class that the media continually talks about, strong people that thrive off the land, live within their means and die with no regrets.

Vintage buildings that showcase a different America, one that is perhaps forgotten about in today's visuals through computers and cell phones. 
TV's and social media outlets.

People and communities just living, breathing, and being in the moment.

04 December 2015

the spaces between Phoenix & Yuma

It was fours hours, one way, from Phoenix to Yuma.

Three and 1/2 if you pushed 85 to 90 mph along the lonely back roads.

So my work day had 7-8 of driving time, with a full eight hour day of work once I arrived. It was a glimpse of my upcoming new life once I make the permanent move down here.
For now though, it was only a time to watch the sun setting over the desert landscape as I enjoy the mild winter warmth of Arizona.
Singing old rock ballads loudly as the warm air rushes through my nostrils and over the fuzz of an ever receding hairline.