I know I have strayed from environmental topics for the last 6 months to a year...and I assure you, the urgency of environmental awareness has not escaped me... but I've just been so dang overwhelmed with life lately. TODAY is the last day of September. Which means that TOMORROW, I can breathe.
September-- and endless array of To-Dos, Camping trips, meetings...
October- Whole chunks of days with NO expectations. AHH (The orange bars are people coming to visit!)
This last month concluded one of the hardest periods of my life. I have failed, I have cried, I have succeeded, I have had grace, I have climbed mountains, picked a toilet paper roll from a toilet of pee, eaten 4 bowls of fro-yo complete with ample toppings, and many, many things in between. And now I'm Done. But I don't know quite where to go from here (as could be indicated by the fact that I'm writing this blog at 9:53 on a Friday after a LONG week/month/season). We live in a society of To-Do's with very little acknowledgement for what's Done. So I'm going to start by patting myself on the back. By Showing the world my accomplishments, even if you don't have a clue what they mean.
Every single square of color is a school/group that I organized, managed, planned, communicated with and executed in some way. And every column is a staff person that I managed/led/guided/walked beside on their journey to participate in this trip. Any NOBODY died. Instead, people had fun...! Some lives were changed, even. So NOW...that I did that. Before I do it again... How do I pat myself on the back, for real? Beyond writing this blog, or getting filthy drunk (cause I don't really do that). Any suggestions?
I'm typing this with my thumbs from a coffee shop in Taos. Twelve children that I'm responsible for are meandering through the Paseo arts festival and I'm simultaneously horrified that something will go wrong and intrigued by the tan moth on the other side of this window.
Water coloring on Women's Wilderness Trek
I couldn't begin to articulate all the emotions I've endured in the last 6 months. I am so grateful for the opportunities I've been afforded this year, and perplexed at how variable my life has become. And yet, while I couldn't have predicted who would move into my house or out of my life, or what coffee shop I would be drinking at on the first Saturday of fall... I have at least had the stability of a profession I'm passionate about.
As I sit here chatting logistics with three high schoolers on my last "trek" of the season, I can't help but reflect on all the journeys I've been on this month. I've climbed mountains and trees, trapped rattlesnakes and cleaned wounds. I have been dirty, stinky, cold, wet and happy-- often at the same time. I've watched sunrises and sunsets and slept under the stars... all while offering the same opportunity to young people from 5-17 years old. Each group of students has made it more evident to me how crucial it is for young people to Experience. To try new things, to be uncomfortable, and to say Yes (and Thank You) are essential to growth... and I've walked with kids that choose To and those that choose not to... or lack the inspiration to ask "What else is there?"
My dirty trekkin' pants
At the same time, I've been reflecting on all the opportunities I was offered growing up. It was up until at least 10 years ago that I was a young, hopeful girl afraid of being uncomfortable. Now that I've overcome that fear I get paid to climb mountains. I can get a 1 ton truck out of the mud. I can guide 30 people through a slot canyon. I can pretty reliably predict the weather. I have grown immensely in this job, even in this last month of exhaustion...
Nevertheless, I've been counting down the days until I can sleep in my own bed for a full week, even a month. I'm so tired from all these experiences...yet I'm already looking forward to next Spring season. And some goooood solid sleeps in between.
It is with great anticipation and perhaps too much delay that I have finally moved back into my humble adobe abode.
It's strange to step back into the world of my stuff, that someone else has been living in for the last 10 weeks. It's equally strange to finally wipe the gin stains off the floor, and clean the corners of a world that I had wanted to preserve when I left three months ago. Now that I can more easily accept his absence from the world, I'm left in this house without a home. Here I stand in a structure that has sheltered many different loves, lots of different laughter, and supported me through the rise and falls of my last relationships...and yet here, the most homely place I've had for the last 10 years, is feeling unfamiliar, and inadequate to the sweet simplicity of my tent filled with a book, Sid's pillow and my sleeping bag.
This song has been playing incessintly in my head for the last 4 months:
I've only lived here two and a half years, and there are echoes of previous partners, fiances, lovers, best friends, new acquaintances... Shelves are full of someone else's books, closets with stacks of Sid's clothes and computers, waiting for a quiet cold day... a crooked poster from last summer's subletter that has mocked me for months, and yet all of these things are shadows of the life and love that have been breathed into this small space.
So I'm settling back in, but with a strange unfamiliarity that I've never felt in this space. When I moved in, I made it my happy home. I've shared it and cleaned more than my share of it. Most of my stuff is where I left it, including labels to ensure that even visitors adhere to my organization needs. I spent much of the summer in a little cabin, moving in and out of my backpack depending on the day's adventure, and I was sort of inspired by it. I carried my day-pack with me everywhere, and it always had my basic essentials- 7 journals, colored pens, food, water, sunscreen, camera, chapstick, freeze-dried strawberries in a glass jar, first aid, a jump drive, a compass, my wallet, a letter so belated my last words are irrelevant, and a rain coat (that's a lie, I never carry one, but we always make the kids, so I pretend it's in there...This is why I live in NM).
A friend of mine a few years ago, sold everything she had down to 100 items. I'm not sure if she counted a pen bag as one thing or multiple, but as I've begun my list of 100 items I'd drag around with me, I've counted each of my favorite pens separately. I've also been appropriately teased for the fact that pens are the first item on my list after Wide Mouth Mason jar.
It's been strange settling into this world of stuff, so much bigger than my backpack, but a little too big for one person. The environmentalist in me aches to ease my impact by sharing the space... but now that my new roommate (and her partner and dog) has moved in, I'm seeking the solitude of my own space, albeit filled with the material memories of the others.