Notes for Spring

The Eastern Shore is not known for cherry trees or Pablo Neruda, but with his line, “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees,” watching, smelling, being outside in spring on the Shore, I think he was describing here as well. Blossoming, coming to life, opening into the fullness of what we can become.

Spring belongs to those who go out into it, who look for it.

Spring belongs to those who go on sea glass and treasure hunts on beaches at sunset.

Spring belongs to those who are mulching gardens and planting flowers.

Spring belongs to those who are paddleboarding in cold water, before it is sensible to be on the water.

When we were younger, spring belonged to the kid who got the nerve up to be the first to jump off the ferry dock on a warm day in April and re-open the river for the season.

Spring belongs to kids and coaches playing lacrosse and baseball on newly cut ball fields until the sun goes down.

Spring belongs to those who wake up camping on cool mornings.

Spring belongs to Jack Kerouac when he writes:

On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under
the stars
Something good will come out of all things yet
And it will be golden and eternal just like that
There’s no need to stay another word.

Spring belongs to those who walk outside on a clear, starry night in short sleeves and look up and wonder.

Spring belongs to William Wordsworth and his walks through the Lake District.

Spring belongs to those who plan epic trips for April birthdays.

Spring belongs to dogs running into rivers.

Spring belongs to those who look forward; those who get out and breathe in. Spring belongs to those who show up.

Dreams Aren’t Hash Browns

Dreams aren’t hash browns. You can’t just walk into Waffle House and order your dreams “scattered, smothered, covered, topped, and chunked.” Unless you dream of hash browns. Which is understandable.

For most of us, realizing our dreams takes vision, ideas, focus, work, luck, connections, Divine Intervention, or some combination thereof. And it’s a lot easier to put them off, defer them, without even realizing it. Distractions abound. I have yet to find that dream menu.

When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul’s call, we are being good Americans and exemplary consumers. We’re doing exactly what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification, and hard work, we simply consume a product. – Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

Forgive me my soapbox. This stuff all strikes a pretty deep soul chord for me. I’m a carpe the diem guy. I try to make the most of each day and not miss opportunities to kayak, paddleboard, or catch a sunset. I try to remember, store, and appreciate those experiences in and for themselves, as well as transmute or translate them into something I can pass along.

2016 Sept TT article

Sometimes carpe’ing the diem means forgoing the sunrise to think and write. The September issue of Tidewater Times is online, and it has a book review I got to collaborate with friend and former teacher Father John Merchant to put together. Father Merchant sent me a copy of Yann Martel’s “The High Mountains of Portugal,” so it seemed fitting to turn it back around on him. Sometimes carpe’ing the diem means putting in the work (planting the seeds) to make something happen later.

Some of my dreams require trail running shoes. Coming up with fun outdoor challenges, doing them, and writing about them helped me land a cover feature story for Trail Runner Magazine in June 2008 and I’ve been looking to create more of those kind of adventures, both to experience and to write about.

RUR AT logo FINAL

The next adventure, running-hiking-walking the Appalachian Trail across Maryland with trail running friends, is in the planning phase to take place this fall (a shout out to Craig Behrin for channeling the spirit of the adventure into a cool logo). That is the kind of experience where so many of the things in life that I dig all come together.

I can dream things up all day long. Anyone can. It’s when I start to do things about them, come up with ways to make them happen, and start acting on them, that life gets interesting, and maybe God smiles.

Whom can I ask what I came to make happen in this world? – Pablo Neruda, “The Book of Questions”

2016 Feet Up OP