I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP
Paperback and Kindle available for presale. Official release date is Tuesday, January 19, but pre-sale is live now! 🙂 Click photo above. Happy Friday everybody!
Beyond excited to share one of my latest projects—result of quarantine 2020. You've been asking, I've been listening—so here you go. A bedside table book of the beautiful images captured while visiting the very places in my book. This is a photo companion with the inspiring words and excerpts from Wilderness, The Gateway To The Soul.
Behold! Wilderness Speaks.
NATURE'S SILENT MESSAGE: Paperback available now for presale orders. Get yours before the official release date!
Writing is like painting. You start with a blank canvas, then make the first mark. A word, a thought, an idea. Nothing of value, but if you keep adding, layer upon layer, you get depth. Then begins the extraction, chipping away at the varnish, clawing through the acrylic, revealing what’s hidden between the words. If you are lucky, a truth begins to emerge. Like an angel sent from the heavens, a gift from the gods, a voice beyond your own.
Awake. A bright full moon with just the hint of dawn. I climb out from my slumber to witness the event. It seems the birds have the same idea, singing together in grand sonata, their tiny voices filling the canyons with song. Would the sun ever rise without bridsong? Who knows? But the sun obeys, playing her part, creeping slowly across the land until I'm bathed with brilliant light.
When the show is over the birds stop singing. Their job is done, the morning ritual over, the symphony ended. Do the birds cause the sun to rise or does the sun cause the birds to sing? Or is this just the big happening? Everything linked together. One big organism.
Everything is as it is. Without one we cannot have the other. So is the symphony of life. We are all the eyes of the world, playing our parts from our own unique perspectives. How lucky we are to be part of the show.
PHOTO: Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, CO
GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, UT
Water droplets are blowing around in a frenzy, through filtered sunlight, appearing like snowflakes in the wind. With no rain in the forecast we continue on, deeper into the canyon. The walls close in on us as water appears, coming up out of the ground. This is always startling, but we are grateful for its arrival, always a bit more at ease with its presence. With water comes the cottonwoods, black trunks with neon leaves, glowing as the sun's rays slice through sandstone walls. The canyon makes wide meanders creating rock houses, amphitheaters, arches. In one of the meanders we climb up onto a sandstone ledge. Here we will make camp. Tomorrow we continue down canyon, through the slots, towards the lost river.
Organ Pipe Wilderness, AZ
An Air Force Jet screams across the sky, tearing at the silence, followed by another, then another. In a few seconds they are gone. The desert stillness returns, but the strange feelings remain. There is something very real happening here. Have we stumbled into a sanctuary or a war zone?
This is border country. Along the trail-less route we find discarded jugs, empty bean cans, and occasionally a water cache—full bottles arranged in a circle, childlike drawings on the sides: rainbows, crosses, a yellow sun rising over a saguaro studded valley. We think we have stumbled into a main artery. They come up through the valleys where the creosote grows thick. We continue on, descending a rocky ravine down into a wash, then up the other side. The Bates Mountains loom ahead, casting their deep shadows across the land.
We stop at an old well. Dry. Creaking. There are old cabins, some still intact with sinks and kitchen cabinets, broken tiles, ripped linoleum.
In a place like this, we needn't seek the present moment. Rather we are forced into it. Our instincts require us to be alert, aware of our surroundings. This is not a stroll through a city park. We feel the need to be cautious. Yes, we are on high alert, but is this all in our heads? This immigration has been going on for generations. These desert travelers want nothing to do with us. They simply wish to get back to their families safely. "Just put yourself in their shoes," I tell myself. We fear what we do not understand. We are all visitors just passing through. Trying to get along with our lives. Trying to be happy.
My mind drifts back to the water cache. Happy rainbows, sunshines, hearts. But these travelers are real, not imagined. At any moment we may cross paths. What will I do? What will I say? Will they ask for food and water? I have little to offer. My head stirs, spins out, then collapses back in on itself, spiraling out into infinity until there is nothing left. We drift apart. My mind and me. One watching the other. Who is this maddening, over analyzing entity inside my head? Surely we cannot be related. But this disconnect is exactly what I needed. The reason I came. When we stop taking the thoughts so seriously they lose their power, trailing off into some kind of distant background noise. Now there is nothing but the sound of my footsteps. My steady beating heart.
The desert sparkles before me, beaming with light. The Earth passes no judgement. We are all just passing through. Struggling to live, destined to die.
This year is going to be a great adventure—and a lot of fun if you plan to follow along.
My first book, Wilderness, The Gateway To The Soul, continues to be a big success. Thanks to you. Many have been asking if I intend to write more. The answer is an overwhelming YES. All my life I have been searching for a way to make wilderness my vocation. With you, that dream is possible. I do not intend to waste such an opportunity.
In March we will be hitting the road, venturing deeply into the world's first designated roadless area, New Mexico's Gila Wilderness. From there we will slowly crawl north, moving with the sun, through the blooming deserts of Arizona, and into the little-known canyons of southern Utah.
In the summer we will head up to the Northern Cascades of Washington, then into Montana and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and finally into the Wallowas of eastern Oregon. It's a rough plan. Subject to change. Like always we will trust our instincts, following our hearts into the unknown.
Just as before, there will be one purpose. To tell the Truth. To seek out the living, breathing soul of wilderness, listen to her sermon, and record her message with pen and notebook. I will try, to the best of my ability, to keep the message pure.
We must all speak up for wilderness. Or it will be gone.
Thanks for following along. Together we are stronger.
Off we shall go. Into the mystic.