desert heat/small doge/blind faith

My gosh it’s been a long time since I’ve written on here.

I live in Tucson now and the heat is coming on; I live live here as in I have a very small house with furniture that I like from thriftstores and things on the walls that I picked out myself and houseplants that I dutifully care for and derive pleasure from, even when I don’t quite understand their individual wants and needs (like is aloe vera a plant that you water regularly or nah?) and sunbeams streaming in the windows for better or worse (now we’re in the fast slide towards the hot-dry part of summer and I’m envying friends’ darker more insulated cave-like houses, it’s going to be 98 degrees tomorrow oh my god). And, most recently, a small doge- I selected him at the second-hand pitbull store on the edge of town with the circus tents full of howling strays and he was drugged up for doggy anxiety and emaciated and seemed to be in pain but I could tell he had a good heart and in just a few weeks he plumped up and made a full recovery and now he chills and/or walks with me through town in the sunshine making friends with all the strangers and generally completing my life. It is impossible to have a dog responsibly while hiking five months of every year but for many different reasons I know that that part of my life is behind me; I would list those reasons here but the thought of doing so makes me feel tired. One month or two month hikes are still hard as fuck/super fulfilling depending on the route and I still want to do them and I have no qualms with paying a friend to dogsit for that amount of time, but thinking about a five month hike brings to mind that heavy scurvy-like feeling one gets in one’s bones after months on the trail that is a combination of loneliness/isolation/boredom and deep mineral deficiency. I do not want that at this point in my life. My health is just not up to it, and neither is my heart.

So, a soothing doge 4 me. Pinto Bean the chillhauhua.

my house & my doge

The world is fucking hard to be in right now. I oscillate between the bleak despair that comes from holding space for/deeply feeling this descent into hellscape dystopia endtimes that is happening all around us, wherein the only thing that allows me to sleep is the knowledge that we’ll all die someday and that modern human civilization, which selects for sociopaths but which is also inherently unsustainable will eventually collapse no matter how we feel about it and Trump and his cabinet will be in the ground and the butterflies will return and grass will grow through the concrete and wolves will move back into the cities and huge flocks of migrating birds will shadow out the sun and literally every living thing will rejoice ala the PBS documentary The Wolves of Chernobyl (which you can watch online here) (I don’t hate humans, for the record, and I don’t want humans to die out as a species, nor do I think they will)- and a dumb blind true happiness that bubbles up from a deep place located in the very center of my body/the earth whose name is WE EXIST AND THAT IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE AND THAT WILL NEVER CEASE TO BE INCREDIBLE NO MATTER WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS GREAT DRAMA CALLED HUMAN EMBODIMENT, FOREVER AND EVER, UNTIL WE DIE.

There you have it, the inside of my brain in the year of our lord 2017, planet earth. Come what may.


The other thing that soothes me right now is my developing relationship with/understanding of the US/Mexico border and my continued efforts to find some small way to make some small change that even though it may be futile and near microscopic it still seems important and/or the only thing that really matters- laborious striving and blind trust in said striving without promise of actual result as spiritual practice/deeply grounding thing that tethers me to this churning mad human world and keeps me from floating away on a paper boat of helpless despair.

My writing practice has changed. I hadn’t realized it but I’d become dependent on long hikes to provide structure in which to be creative and also an environment in which it was impossible to overthink my the writing itself, due to time constraints/how uncomfortable it is to write on my phone while propped up on my elbows in my sleeping bag as the oncoming cold slowly numbs my fingers and the minutes are ticking away until I have to get up again with the dawn. Basically, I wrote about 100,000 words of the first draft to Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart on my phone in this manner and now that I have a House with wifi and Many Comfortable Places to Sit and lots of snacks to eat I’m finding it hard to work on… anything. Not impossible, just a lot harder. Which is interesting, and I think speaks a lot to having some sort of structure/constraints for daily writing practice as well as a sense of urgency, even if you have to psyche yourself up/create these things yourself.

Other thing: I went on a three-day bike trip through the Sonoran Desert from Tucson to Ajo with a friend this week, and that was fun. I carried Pinto Bean in a pannier and we slept in the dirt at night and when it got too hot we wilted in the shade at gas stations and drank fountain sodas.

down 2 ride

The stars were incredible and the sun was brutal and the highway was lonely and flat and I listened to old country and at one point I saw a white horse standing amongst the saguaros and thought, how do animals live out here, with all the cholla and with no water, but they do and they thrive and it’s beautiful. Bike touring seems chill, it’s lower impact than long distance hiking and has more access to gas station snacks. I think I want to do some more of it soon.

Pinto harasses friend Elsa on our wee bike trip

I’ve been trying to improve my spanglish. I do skype lessons with a teacher in Guatemala via Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco and I got a textbook to use and that feels good. One idea is to bike tour in Mexico for a bit as that would combine my desire to improve my Spanish so as to be more useful around the US/Mexico border with my deep need for periodic adventure lest I go insane. Summer is also a good time to GTFO of Tucson as it’s blazingly hot but it’s also hot in Mexico then so… we shall see.

There’s an update for you. Life is… amazing. What the fuck even is anything. I hope each and every one of my readers is finding some way to navigate the pounding surf of this world right now. Also, here is the best piece of journalism I’ve seen recently re: the history of fascism vs. antifa, for your perusal (the mythology/existence of antifa is so important right now as it flies in the face of everything and gives me hope in a way I can’t explain)- Inside the Underground Anti-Racist Movement That Brings the Fight to White Supremacists (Mother Jones)

Also! Some No More Deaths volunteers are trying to raise money to deliver a truck to the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project in Pachaj, Quetzaltenango Department, Guatemala. They need a mere $2k, here is the link for the fundraiser-