Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Thunder clapped in the distance as a storm rolled across the high planes near the New Mexico/Colorado border. Similar to the smell of a Christmas tree or an ex-girlfriend's perfume, the smell of wet sage cutting through the air conjured up memories of my time spent throughout the west.

Wasting no time, I walked along the sandstone outcropping towards the protection of a nearby overhang. The wall of gray mist marched forward catching up to us, just as we made it under the overhang.

Sage and red.

This cabin reminded me of my favorite short story, The Call of the Wild. Highway 550 between Durango and Silverton.

An abandoned trading post.

From the protection of the small cave, the storm pounded the desert, punctuated by an occasional clap of the thunder and flash of light. We watched, biding our time to dash back to the truck.

Bass watching the storm.

Sage and obsidian.

Spring mud.

Bone dry.

As quickly as the storm had come, it passed. We left the protection of the overhang and headed towards the truck. Lingering behind, I stopped by aome sagebrush. Pulling off two of longest the shoots, I shoved them in my pocket as a reminder of the high country and this late April storm.

Here are some more links,
Sage (Picasa).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Burning House

If your house was burning, what would you bring with you?

It's a philosophical conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. You're forced to prioritize and boil down a life of accrued possessions into what you can carry out with you. What you would bring reflects your interests, background and priorities. People's stage in life also dictates their selection. A father of five in his forties would grab very different things than he would have as a bachelor in his twenties. Think of it as a full interview condensed into one question.

Here is a list of what I would bring,

My Granfather's Explorer Scout shirt
Naked and Famous Jeans (three years old)
Nike SFB boots
Ralph Lauren alligator belt (well loved)
One basalt rock from the Columbia River Gorge
One shell from Nicaragua
Three shells and one stone from the Maine coast
Vintage Woolrich Horse skin hunting gloves
LaCie rugged hard drive (all of my photos and image research)
Oakley Razor Blades
iPhone 4

Not Pictured*

What would you bring?

Here are some more links,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

End of the Line

The C train slowly emptied as we crept east away from Manhattan. Consumed by my book, Let My People Go Surfing, I lost track of the stops. Forty five minutes after leaving Columbus Circle, the C emerged from a tunnel into residential Brooklyn.

Distracted by the changing scenery and influx of light, I started reading the same sentences over and over again. Taking this as a hint, I zipped my book back into my backpack and focused on the new surroundings. The "Kuchunk Chunk Chunk," of the subway zipping eastward punctuated Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" as I looked back at the retreating Manhattan skyline.

I had left Midtown wearing an RRL flannel shirt, and the weather here felt different from the microclimate of Manhattan. Unimpeded by hundreds of skyscrapers, the wind whistled around the occasional concrete building and group of trees. After a few moments of shivering, I pulled a sweater from pack and started for the beach.

C to the S.


It's not hard, not far to reach...


The beach was deserted, save for a handful of surfers catching waves around the 89th Street jetty. After chatting with two surfers jumping into their wetsuits about the water and the waves, I headed down the beach, meandering towards Coney Island.

The deserted beach and biting wind instantly reminded me of my time spent wandering the beaches of Popham and Reed State parks in Maine. The roar of a jet taking off from nearby JFK brought me back from my daydreams. My frigid hands and the sand in my shoes sufficiently satisfied my desire to leave the city on an adventure.

As the sun sank towards the horizon, I walked back to the station and caught the lumbering S train into Manhattan. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend five dollars than on two MTA tickets to and from Rockaway Beach.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five years old again, 18 years later

Inspired by the snowboarding scene in "A View to a Kill," and some neon infused Warren Miller films, Tim (my brother) and I vetoed skis and started snowboarding in 1993. I was five and Tim was three. We obsessed, and thanks to our parents' support, rode the slopes on nearby Mt. Hood from December to April. We pushed each other, we chased each other down the runs and helped each other up from our frequent crashes.

When enough snow accumulated in our backyard, we made jumps and rode homemade rails. During the summer and fall, we strapped on our snowboards and bounced on our trampoline, hoping to perfect new tricks for the coming season.

Eventually, our appetite to play on boards drove us to skateboard. Familiar with grinds and pumping transition, we emulated early skateboarders, riding bowls at skateparks and the miniramp we built in our backyard. With the same attitude and excitement as our first day snowboarding, we rode for hours.

When I went to college in Maine, we continued skateboarding together on my breaks. Regardless of our location or the time of year, our sessions took us back to our early days riding together on Mt. Hood.

100 miles from the nearest paved road, we skated a miniramp on the beach in Nicaragua. A stone's throw from the thundering beach break, we skated when the waves closed out and the tides were wrong. Each sunrise and sunset, we took turns riding Tim's pool board.

Yours truly, five years old again, 18 years later.

Tim, catching his breath.



It was beautiful.