A writer, teacher, traveler, and long-distance hiker in pursuit of a life that blends them all. Read trail dispatches and adventure stories at my website.
For the Love of Hot Tubs
I love hot tubs. Like, a lot. Absurdly much. I live in near-constant craving of hot bubbly water. When I'm searching for an Airbnb, I check the box next to "hot tub" under the amenities category, on the off chance that my location will have one. When booking a hotel, I check the pictures to see if they have a pool and spa. I'll live if my travel plans don't involve a hot tub, but it's always infinitely better when they do.
In Constant Motion
There was a bench inside the aquarium entryway. On it sat a woman. She was in her late twenties, that time when adulthood really starts to set in: lines more pronounced, time falling like sand through clenched fingers, a sense of weight.
This is a continuation of the first Vocal Creators Saloon story. Before reading this installment, please be sure to read the first seven parts that precede it, each written by a different member of the Vocal Creators Saloon Facebook Group: Part 1: Knife Skills Part 2: The Right Thing Part 3: Death Has an Order Part 4: Karma Part 5: Best Laid Plans Part 6: The Devil's Glare Part 7: To Trust, or Not to Trust
I'm not really sure when it started. I don't remember waking up one day and thinking, "I'm going to crochet a version of every organism I find in the woods that really speaks to me." I never planned to write multiple crochet patterns for very specific mushrooms, or to construct a cicada with yarn and plastic, but I suppose the past year has taught us all surprising things about ourselves. My surprising thing, apparently, is that I love to crochet mini versions of the natural world.
What I miss the most about Flagstaff is the night sky. From the side street next to my house I could look up at the end of any day and see the bright splatter of stars so close, I felt the light in my fingertips. I would come home at the end of the day, walking in the dark the one mile from my office on campus, and stare up for one lingering moment before I punched in the code for the garage door and waited for it to open. I would stare into the night, feet tired and brain weary, and catch the firmly edge of the Milky Way loping above Mackenzie Drive. I traced my eyes in a weighty ellipse around the edges of the galaxy, and I could almost feel its rotation.
It was approaching evening, the horizon just beginning to relax into a dull orange, when I started climbing the mountain. It rose in front of me in a deceptively gentle slope, no trees covering the undulating form of its three bald ridges. Nothing but faded brownish green grasses and bushes decorated the sleepy rolling behemoth, and as I walked, I watched the wind pick at the plants and push the clouds around, and if I narrowed my eyes just so, I thought I could see the mountain breathing.
- Top Story - June 2021
The Ultimate Freedom of Long-Distance HikingTop Story - June 2021
There is nothing like waking up outside. I open my eyes, and I see the morning sun sneaking higher in the sky. I hear the birds singing in the trees. I remember that I am alive, and that today, I will see more wonders of nature around every turn. Maybe there will be mushrooms. Maybe I'll drink the coldest, purest water from a creek running with snowmelt. Sure, the hiking will be hard, and I will feel challenged physically, but the payoff is worth the effort a thousand times over.
- Top Story - June 2021
Lost and Found in DharamsalaTop Story - June 2021
It’s boiling hot when I walk out of the airport. My internal systems are all jumbled up, recalibrating after the end of a spin cycle. It’s dark, it’s 8:30 PM, and it’s a humid 90 degrees. There is noise everywhere: people talking, people shouting, PA announcements, cars honking. My legs are cramped from the thirteen-hour flight and it feels amazing to stand, even if it means lugging around my comically massive suitcase.
Making With a Purpose
I stand at my kitchen counter, scissors in hand. There is a piece of blue painter's tape, measured to 18 inches, stretching across the laminate. On my left, a quickly-dwindling skein of yarn sits at the ready. I grab a length of the fiber, place the cut end to the far right side of the tape, and hold the side closest to the skein down onto the countertop. I angle my scissors towards the yarn. Snip. I've just sharpened my favorite Fiskars, and the blades cut right through with a crisp, satisfying sound.
- Top Story - June 2021
How to Be an Introvert at the Mall Top Story - June 2021
Crowds are the worst. I generally hate shopping. Ten minutes inside a florescent-lit store will send me into a spiral of anxious foot-tapping and watch-checking until I can finally be free. Even before the pandemic, I avoided shopping malls like the proverbial plague.