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Perhaps every youth needs an occasional wilderness trip, in order to learn the meaning of this particular freedom…

July 6, 2013

Last weekend I spent two nights at State Bridge, a tiny music venue nestled along the Colorado River in a “town” labeled Bond. The town is the venue, essentially, and the campsites that surround it. It lies roughly 15 miles from any cell phone reception, and attracts music-and-nature lovers from all over.

The music was Dark Star Orchestra, the band carrying on the touring and musical legacy of the Grateful Dead. We pitched a campsite high up on the hillside, among the pinon pines that fill the area and overlooking the small valley defined by the river.

The music was beautiful; they repeated the setlist of a show from September 16, 1972 at Boston Music Hall. When they played Brokedown Palace, tears filled my full-mooned eyes and the deep, ripping feeling of parting with a loved one reminded me that I need to love and appreciate those who are in my life in the present, because sometimes, many times, things don’t last forever. Lovers come and go but the river flows on.

As the setlist moved forward, songs such as Ramble On Rose made me dance and smile, twirling around so my tie-died skirt flew around me, appreciating the happiness and beauty of such moments.

Perhaps some things don’t last forever, but sometimes simple moments are engrained into infinity. Moments that are meant to happen. It’s all part of the currents of life.

After the show, we stayed awake at the campsite until sunrise, dancing to music our campsite neighbors were playing, walking around by the guidance of only the moonlight and summer constellations that made their paths across the night sky, tending to our glowstick fire we created (they can’t ban a glowstick fire!).

There’s something magical about watching the sun rise after a sleepless night. Fatigue hit me as I sat in my camp chair in the wee hours of the morning, witnessing the early morning light spill down the western mountainside, over the river, and slowly make its way to us.  It’s a special kind of freedom, a particular freedom that exists only in nature – a natural right of all whom reside on the planet; it comes only through being in what existed before you, and will exist long after you are gone.

Thank you for the advice, Aldo Leopold.

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the first steps

June 24, 2013

Last night I joined a few of my ski school friends for a one night camping venture to Green Mountain Reservoir, where the water was just starting to reach a swimable temperature and the lure of the infamous cliff jumping was becoming unavoidable.

After waking up from a night of drinking around a fire and eating as many s’mores as possible, we headed for the cliffs.  The boys of course had no hesitation in immediately leaping off the 20 foot ledge, taking the plunge into the cold reservoir water.

When I approached the ledge, I remembered something that most people typically don’t forget; my biggest fear in the physical world was heights.

Mind you, this is not the first time I have cliff jumped, but the last time was into warm Carribean waters about five years ago, and from a cliff that wasn’t quite as high.

I’d nearly forgotten how terrifying it could be.

It took about fifteen minutes of sitting at the top, staring at the water lurking ominously below, trying to calm my shaking body, telling myself to just fucking do it!

The longer I waited, the scarier it got.

I pushed and pushed myself, fear somehow having a death grip on my ability to move, legs shaking in paralysis and a daunting little voice inside my head telling me I needed to keep thinking it over so that the coward in me would win…

Finally… I counted to three, and keeping my eyes locked on the mountainous horizen above me and not at the long ass plunge I was about to take, I took a couple big steps out towards the ledge and hucked my body into the air.

For the 0.8723 seconds I was suspended in mid-air, everything seemed to stop. My heart, which had been racing at a deathly rate, seemed to slow down. Brisk mountain air filled my lungs in the smoothest inhale I’d ever taken. I briefly remembered the piece of advice I’d been given… “Point your toes when you’re about to hit the water,” my buddy Tommy suggested.

I pointed my toes and landed with ease; my body swooshed into the water without pain, without a sting.

My body was still shaking as I climbed the rocks back to the roadside hangout, hands barely able to grip the sharp rocks that formed a jagged pathway back up. Gasping to calm my breathing, I was still, for many minutes after the jump, on one of the most intense adrenaline highs I’d experienced in a long time.

The hardest part, I realized, was simply the first couple steps. At the top of those cliffs this morning, it took me fifteen minutes to convince myself to take those first two small steps into a jump that would barely last a second, and would end in a feeling of victory and accomplishment.

In the end, the sheer excitement of having faced all those fears that were now irrelevant was totally worth those two simple steps that once seemed so hard to take.

About to take the plunge. My buddy didn't

About to take the plunge.

Sometimes you find cool things on Pinterest…

June 18, 2013

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The most important piece of advice for being in your twenties…

June 14, 2013

I’ve realized over the past few years that nobody ever gives you any advice or guidance for being in your twenties.

In middle school, we receive advice about being in high school.

“Live it up. Go to homecoming. Go to prom. Go cheer on the football team. Most importantly, get good grades so you can go to a good college!”

In high school, we are bombarded with advice about going to college.

“Go Greek! Utilize your professor’s office hours. Get an internship. Network, network, network.”

But what about life after college? Nobody tells you anything except “get a good job!” (As if we’re supposed to know what a “good job” is)

Well, kids, the economy sucks, and every other college graduate across the country is probably fighting tooth and nail for the same job you want. You know the one with the salary and the benefits and the opportunity for growth and promotion? Yep, you are 1 in 1,000 resumes.

Sorry, the truth hurts.

In the past couple years of my life, I began formulating my own advice for being in this era of your life, and what everything keeps coming back to is one simple thing…

DON’T TAKE LIFE SO SERIOUSLY!

At the rate human life expectancy is growing, we are all going to live to be 136 years old and see the lives of our great-great-great grandchildren begin. We will work until we’re 99 years old and have decades upon decades of opportunity to build careers, start families, be successful, make money and figure out our places in the world.

As for being a 20-something without a clue, without a distinctive path and who only hopes of one day getting everything together, life shouldn’t be meant to take seriously.

Have fun.

Play.

Adventure.

Get a job that is FUN because you enjoy doing it and not because it’s what you’re supposed to do.
The rest of your life will come together when it’s meant to.

having fun at work

24 and there’s so much more

June 13, 2013

The ski bum trades security for face shots, the future for the moment. Considering how hollow the promise of a corporate career has become, who can say the ski bum is not the wiser investor in his or her youth?

I started this blog years ago, when I was nearing the end of college and thought I was along the path of becoming some sort of public relations specialist, or event marketing coordinator, or something that sounded cool and important in the realms of the “real world.” I blogged because I was told it would provide raw examples of my writing when applying to all those big kid jobs, and you know what? It almost made me despise the task, even though I really did enjoy what I was writing in my previous seven posts.

I’ve come quite a long ways since August of 2010. I had the time of my life senior year of college, became best friends with people I never thought I would hang out with, graduated in June of 2011 and immediately hopped on a plane to catch Phish tour in the southeast with my girls. Did any of us know what we were “doing with our lives” next? Absolutely not. We only knew where the next show was.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

After nearly a year of facing the trials and tribulations of young adulthood, facing the reality that I was no longer a dependant on the loving parents who raised me, as well as coping with the question that never seems to have an answer, “what the fuck am I going to do with my life?!” I gave it all up. I packed up my Captiol Hill room and moved to Dillon, Colorado to work on the mountain, live life for the moment and just be. For the past year, I haven’t had to deal with thinking beyond the next season. I hardly know what I’m doing with my next day off, let alone the rest of my life, and it’s been wonderful.

I skied 135 days this past winter, earned over 1,000,000 vertical feet with Vail Resort’s “Epic Mix” social media application, a goal many of my Denver friends can really only dream of, and come into myself more than I could have hoped.

Now I am 24 years old. Thoughts of the future have been creeping back into my head for the first time since my quarter-life crisis immediately proceeding finishing college, only this time, it’s bringing more positive energy than distraught.

There’s still a whole lot of Phish tour I want to see, cliffs I want to huck myself off of, contingencies of the creative collective consciousness I want to experience, and a whole new part of me I still have yet to uncover.

With that being said, I am restarting this blog. It is no longer my raw writing samples simply put out there for the use of finding a “real job,” but it is my public diary of being a transient, coming-to-self 24 year old girl, discovering life through having as many adventures and misadventures as possible.

Life is a vast ocean of possibilities, sights to see, tears to cry through joy and sadness, and soulmates to find. As Niel Young so wisely put it, I am 24 and there’s so much more.

Dillon Reservoir ~ Dillon, Colorado

Dillon Reservoir ~ Dillon, Colorado

My Phirst

August 20, 2010

It finally happened – my first Phish show.

I saw them play over spring break last year at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction (in which they performed 2 Genesis covers ~ the band Trey inducted that evening).  I attended the event with my mom who was invited for work, and ever since then started listening to their music, gradually getting more and more hooked (no pun intended).

After Sunday night, I feel like I have been sucked into something bigger than myself and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what exactly it is.

I-94 and the rolling green hills of Wisconsin ~ Alpine Valley bound

My friend from high school, Cara, and I made the 6 hour drive out to East Troy, Wisconsin on Sunday morning to see them play Alpine Valley Sunday night (previous commitments prevented me from attending both nights unfortunately).  After the long-ass haul in an old ’94 camery with no air conditioning,  I was thrilled to finally make it to the campsite – a 300 acre farm 3 miles from the amphitheater (best deal there was – ask me if you are headed to Alpine for any show and want details!).  Upon arrival, everybody was very friendly.  Originally there was supposed to be a shuttle, but too many people cancelled so they couldn’t get one – but when we said we still needed a ride, the couple who lived on the farm arranged for us to ride with some fellow phans who still had room in their car and gladly let us ride along.

They even helped us pitch our tent (something I haven’t done for, um, well awhile) and gave us beer to drink while we were getting ready.  After a quick blaze session (which nearly knocked me on my ass since I hadn’t done that in awhile), we drove to the amphitheater, luckily pulling up three cars from the group from Minneapolis we were planning on meeting (Alpine Valley lot is HUGE, so this was basically a miracle). 

pregaming in the lot

We pregamed in the lot on the back of a truck, Bobby (Cara’s boyfriend) kept running off because he had been schwaysted out of his mind, at least since we were pulling off of I-94 and we received a drunk (hilarious) call.  I enjoyed watching the diverse, colorful group of people meander the lot.  My favorite was a man who came around selling polished stones made into charms for jewelry.  I’m really into jewelry making, hemp in particular, so I bought a few off of him and decided I would weave it into a hemp necklace, which would be my first Phish show souvenier (it’s still in progress).

We headed into the amphitheater about 20 minutes before Phish came on, staked out the same place everyone else had sat in the night before on the lawn and waited anxiously.  One of the girls in the group (a chick from Aspen who’d recently moved to Minnesota) and I left for awhile to check out merchandise, but decided against spending the money.

And there they are!

When the boys finally walked onto the stage, the crowd of 40,000 roared, the noise echoing off the rolling green hills that sat behind the amphitheater.  Prior to their strut onto the stage, there was an intense energy building throught the field, people gradually standing up and bursting out in unprovoked cheers, waiting.  When they finally came on, the intensity released, leaving an orgasmic feeling of positive energy and excitement amongst the crowd.

They started out strong with Tweezer, and everyone immediately went crazy.  Literally it took a split second for everyone around to begin dancing, myself included. 

During the first set, I met this guy, Ryan (or Brian?).  We blazed a bit together and Cara couldn’t help but laughing.  When he was out of earshot, she goes,  “That’s exactly how I picture a Phish fan!”  Br/Ryan had dreads down to his waist, no shirt and was dancing even crazier than I was with fistfuls of glowsticks (which he did not throw into the air the way everyone else did when the jams would peak).

The first set sounded like this:

Tweezer, AC/DC Bag, On Your Way Down, The Divided Sky, Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky > The Moma Dance > Farmhouse, David Bowie

I was thrilled when they played Farmhouse.  Although the phan I was kickin it next to at the time tells me its his least favorite song of all of them (perhaps a lot of people’s too? ~ what’s your opinion?) I felt it was fitting.  We were, afterall, in the middle of Wisconsin farm territory.  The boys also always tend to play Farmhouse when they rage Alpine, as I had noticed looking back on previous years’ setlists.  I also have a tiny connection to Farmhouse myself.  It was the first Phish song that stuck with me, the first one that I listened to repeatedly and the song that made me want more.  That one song made me listen to the album, the album made me listen to another, and another.  Those albums made me want to hear their live albums, and those finally made me want to see a real show.  When it came on, I felt like it was meant to be.

The second set was more energetic, bringing out faster beats and more intense jams.

It sounded like this:

Ghost > Theme from the Bottom > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, You Enjoy Myself > Piper (<3) > Also Sprach Zarathrusta > While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Character Zero

Later that night, one of the guys staying at our campsite who had attended roughly 50-60 Phish shows in his life said that version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps was among the best he’d ever heard.  I remember during that song (and during a lot of them, actually) getting goosebumps up and down my arms as the jam peaked. 

At one point, I had been so enthralled into my crazy-person dancing, I didn’t even notice the trampolines.  I looked up toward the sky, noticing on the big screen that they were actually jumping on mini trampolines while playing!  I fought my way to a better view of the stage, and watched them intensely as they jumped in unison while jamming along impeccably.  I laughed.  The smile, the smile that had been there throughout the entire show, broadened and never left my face.

That night, they played a four song encore (epic!).

Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ > Cavern > Joy > Tweezer Reprise

I never expected the feeling I got at this show.  As the show went on, the music took me over from the inside out.  I didn’t care what was going on around me, I hardly talked to anyone aside from a few words here and there.  It was just me and the music inside my head, and that’s all I needed.  By the end of the show, I wanted more.  I never wanted that night to end.  Now I know why people follow them, because one night is just simply not enough.  I feel like I’m beginning to understand the concept of what makes Phish so amazing ~ its not merely the fact that Trey Anastasio is a guitar playing God, that their chemistry as a band and their individual talents make their music absolutely legendary ~ but its about the experience.  The journey their shows take your mind on.  All I wanted to do after the show was hop in a car headed to Jones Beach and have this experience again.  I felt there was so much to learn.  About life.  About music.  About the simple concept of living.  About getting on the train and leaving my bags at the station.

I’ve never felt so alive in my life.  The last couple years haven’t been easy for me, and I’d rather not divulge the details why on the internet, but it took until about spring of this year for me to begin getting over something that brought me down to what I would consider rock bottom.  It took a lot of effort, finding out who my real friends are, in some cases the hard way, and a complete change of pace as well as change of mentality to really get my life back together.  By the end of this last school year, I felt like I was beginning a new life finally, one I needed to undertake years ago.  Coming back to Minnesota this summer in many ways disrupted this process, but I indulged myself in work and counting down the days until the end of summer, thinking that’s all I needed.

Then, one day, something told me I needed to go to this show.  I’d been considering it on and off since about April, when I found out they’d be in my vicinity this summer.  Weeks before the show, a gut feeling from inside, mixed with a few blatant outside signs, told me that I just needed to be there.  Now I know why.  I needed to live.  I needed more Phish in my life.

Its difficult to put into words what exactly this show has done to me (although I’ve clearly tried!).  I know it was only my first, and there is so much more I can gain from doing this again (fall tour’s rumored to come to Denver, baby!) but whatever it is that Phish can teach me, whatever it is I can learn from their music and this experience, I truly intend to find out.

Peace.

Spiders on Drugs ~ A follow up to my last post

August 13, 2010

As a follow up to my last post, I found this study from Princeton University.  Various drugs were given to different spiders and their abilities to spin webs was studied and photographed.  There are many, if you google it, but here are a few examples. 

Which one looks most fucked up to you?  If you ask me, I’d say caffeine… (Even the spider smoking reefer at least got the basic shape down!)

By the way, I know its in French but this is the best picture I could find with a few good examples all in one image, but the words are pretty similar so I’m sure you can figure it out 😉