these vagabond shoes

what a language, what a world
Jun 29
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my friend leslie is getting married in 22 days. she will be married on the washington coast, in a community center. i will wear a black dress and silver art deco earrings, whatever that means. i am assured all of the whiskey i can handle will be present. by night’s end, they will be legally married, by me, their officiant, reverend jeanine.

the legal part of this was easy. the writing 5-10 minutes of meaningful content to say in front of their choice family and friends is much less easy. mostly, because, i guess, i don’t give a shit about love, which, i guess, is how i’ve got where i’m going.

to be fair, i am the most in love i have ever been, and it’s with myself and my life and the state of montana. with conservation corps and the greater yellowstone ecosystem. with 4-wheel drive and mountain drives. with copenhagen loose cut and local ipa. with sunsets on the hill in town and punk rock and punishing, solo hikes. chainsaw parts and dirt and sore muscles.
when i think about love, i think about the fact that i can pack everything i own into my car and drive through the night and live somewhere else whenever i want. i can do it smartly and confidently. it makes my heart swell.

i broke up with my last boyfriend because he said he loved me, and it freaked me out, and i didn’t feel the same way, and i didn’t want to wait until we were on the same page. how in the fuck am i supposed to write a wedding right now?

May 25
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the interactions i have and people i encounter while running in the morning as opposed to those i came across late night at bars is all the positive reinforcement i need to keep doing what i’m doing.

May 24
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May 10
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the past month:

- i broke up with adam because my big brother almost came to visit, and i realized neither of my brothers would like him, and that’s a problem. ultimately, he could not keep up.

-  i quit my job at the cafe so i could go backpacking in grand escalate with my friends. it was incredible— the kind of trip that changes your energy and perspective for a long time afterwards. i hiked my first slot canyon. we camped on a beach, climbed massive sandstone cliffs and drank boxed wine we hiked 12 miles into the backcountry while wading naked up the escalante river. the desert is an intense experience. adventure is vital.

- i would have been moving to north carolina today except the day i was settling my rental car, my old boss at the montana conservation corps came to my doorstep and asked me to fill a suddenly-opened staff position. tuesday i was fingerprinted, and wednesday i was teaching the youth crew leaders how to do rock work. that’s what i did this week— teach rock work. until november, i am the field project coordinator. the summer will be spent traveling around the state acting as technical adviser, provider of curriculum and all around support for 6 field crews and 3 youth expedition crews.

- lucky and happy and grounded as ever.

Apr 23
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i hunted him down relentlessly. i called his mother, his oldest son. 24 years old, desperate, all i wanted was to send a christmas card. call it a lifeline. i wanted to say i love you. still, despite.

my step dad. former step dad. fuck it, my dad.

i felt like i had been given a second chance at the word. dad. i blamed my mom for the loss of it. it’s been two years since he dropped me off in mid-may in that shitty, tiny apartment with the hippies and the tapestries and the bright, happy sun. he kissed me on the cheek, and we both cried.

today a phone number i didn’t recognize left a voicemail. immediately, 5 seconds in, hi my little lady, and i am in inexplicable (totally explicable) happy tears.

a returned call, 45 minutes later, i am absolved. a week of concern of which job to take, where i will be happy, what makes me the best, and it does not fucking matter a bit because my step dad, former step dad, dad, is back in my life and calling me.

i love you, i miss you, thank you for calling, earnestly spilling out of my mouth with more feeling and gratitude than i have been able to express in so, so long.

words are a thing i boast in interviews. the highlight of my resume. words make me spending money all winter long. i don’t have them right now. i have tears and a big, huge grin. i have thankfulness and appreciation like i have never known. i feel renewed. my sense of the all-possible is back. someday it will live in me, but for now, it seems to reside in my second chance at dad.

Apr 15
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i feel like i’ve spent the whole winter with my head down, watching my footing on the ice, surrounded against cold by a hat and hood, always thinking about snow and negative temperatures, at least an hour a day.

my boyfriend has a tattoo on his arm that his friend gave him with a leather needle. he stole the flowers he gave me on valentine’s day. it’s possible he is smarter than i am, and he is certainly the nicest man i have ever dated. 

last summer mike told joanna that all guys want in a girl is someone that can keep up. maybe that’s why joanna hadn’t met anyone in bozeman. i snorted— that girl was setting the fucking pace. 

the warm weather and longer days make me feel as if i am waking up from something. i get up early and go running. my room is clean. my hair is washed. cut-up vegetables live in plastic container in my refrigerator. i’ve accepted a job, and i just interviewed for a better one.

all of this rough-around-the-edges made my winter interesting, but now i am ready to take off, to work hard and keep progressing and improving.

i’m setting the pace again. every day i think about mike telling joanna, “someone who can keep up,” understanding it as a burden.

Mar 20
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kick-it-in-the-sticks:

Farm Fresh Eggs, Honey, Hair Cuts and Cold Drinks
Murphy,NC

yesterday i turned down what i thought was my dream job working on a trail crew in smokey mountain national park to work as a crew leader for a non-profit in Murphy. 
in early may, i am trading in bozeman’s shreddy powpow-obsessed, patagonia-clad ski bums and rugged rocky peaks for the town where this sign can be found, hanging outside a small mercantile. 
i have received a small amount of berating from my family for choosing to make less money working with a non-profit than a federal job, but i can’t help where the inclinations lead. i want to work with people who don’t know what they are capable of doing yet. i want to teach people about what a wilderness is, why leave no trace is important. i want to be the person showing a teenager their first bowline knot.
the national park service might make me the person of my dreams, but i think i would rather spend a season helping a crew member become the person of their dreams instead.

kick-it-in-the-sticks:

Farm Fresh Eggs, Honey, Hair Cuts and Cold Drinks

Murphy,NC

yesterday i turned down what i thought was my dream job working on a trail crew in smokey mountain national park to work as a crew leader for a non-profit in Murphy.

in early may, i am trading in bozeman’s shreddy powpow-obsessed, patagonia-clad ski bums and rugged rocky peaks for the town where this sign can be found, hanging outside a small mercantile.

i have received a small amount of berating from my family for choosing to make less money working with a non-profit than a federal job, but i can’t help where the inclinations lead. i want to work with people who don’t know what they are capable of doing yet. i want to teach people about what a wilderness is, why leave no trace is important. i want to be the person showing a teenager their first bowline knot.

the national park service might make me the person of my dreams, but i think i would rather spend a season helping a crew member become the person of their dreams instead.

Feb 17
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my co-leader pat took hundreds of hours of go pro footage of our crew this summer and compiled it into this amazing video.

this makes me very nostalgic and happy and excited for future trail summers.

Jan 12
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i didn’t make new year’s resolutions last year. the night was spent in chicago, in a dress i couldn’t afford at the time, drinking bourbon among young professionals. at midnight we declared our goals, sitting next to a dozen “run a marathons” and “pay off student loans,” i sarcastically declared that i would drink more champagne and bag more peaks. i unsarcastically accomplished both of those things.

professionally, months later, i set out on goals like a wolverine in may— crawling the high alpine in the snow, setting-out, determined. taking care of my crew, working long hours, never tiring, i truly identified with wolverines. i read about them, watched documentaries. they will summit mountains, up and over, in pursuit of a kill they have smelled. never taking the easier way around. inspiration is an understatement.

this year i do better. i can feel in last year that my goals were all professional and none personal. i know that i wasn’t working towards any dangling carrots, me, who would have guessed, 24, driven, task-oriented, capable but desiring direction.

i gave myself a few weeks to see what this year was like, what i wanted, and i guess what i’ve come up with looks like this:

-wear more of the clothes in my closet. stop hiding in camo thermals and black sweaters. be the fabulous that used to give me so much energy. plan. wake up early enough to put something together.

-drink more water. namely, at the bar. 3 IPAs in and one big gulp of water, and i am singing thank you to the beautiful clear in my nalgene bottle. i forget that. i will never get anywhere if i am paying for my nights out the next day perpetually. water.

-let myself be gutted. straight from “dear sugar,” but it’s the realest. last year i dealt with my step dad being out of my life entirely all on my own, and it sucked. it still sucks. i’ve lived here two years almost, and only one human being knows about dannie. it’s a burden i didn’t release, never shared. i regret that— it could have been handled better, more healthily. i will never forge real relationships if i hide behind tough, behind okay. it is my fault i feel like no one knows me anymore, and i want to fix that.

professionally, i want to work more trail, for a non-profit, preferably out of montana. a new mountain range, a new experience. the other day i ran into a girl i used to work with, and we talked future. she looked at me aghast, said i’m a rare person that really loves this, and got genuinely excited for me. i really love this, trail. i want more trail.

i am realizing a lot about what it takes to get things done, to be accomplished, and i can feel myself be ready for that.

Dec 23
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closest thing to a christmas card this family gets. 
george is here. it’s wonderful. bozeman mountain views at sunset every chance we get. my friends take care of him while i make lattes. we converge at night to drink beers, tell stories. stay up late. call it spring break even though it snows everyday, december in montana. lucky and happy and loved. 

closest thing to a christmas card this family gets.

george is here. it’s wonderful. bozeman mountain views at sunset every chance we get. my friends take care of him while i make lattes. we converge at night to drink beers, tell stories. stay up late. call it spring break even though it snows everyday, december in montana. lucky and happy and loved.