I’ve been telling people all summer
about a tradition I’ve heard of.
In some Australian and American cultures,
nobody celebrates birthdays.
Instead, when they’ve reached
a new stage in life,
become a new and better version of themselves,
they take on a new name.
And I ask,
how would I know when it’s time?
Which questions would I need to ask?
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I have been examining in myself the same question you asked me: how to keep the experience alive. While I certainly don’t have the answers I hope I can offer some ideas. To start, I think that the question you ask might not be the right question. I think that it’s very common question to ask for anybody who has just lived one of the biggest (if not the biggest) adventures Continue reading >>
I have a strange love for leaving places. I love the nostalgia. I love the feeling of starting new things and the feeling that the world is bigger than I can imagine. I even have special music that I listen to when I’m getting everything ready to go. Last night, Van Morrison sang “Into The Mystic” from a portable speaker as I stuffed the last shirts into my backpack and searched the instructor flat for anything I might have forgotten. When all my things were packed though, something was still unfinished though. I needed to say goodbye. Not goodbye to Continue reading >>
On the final night of the 10-day Buddhist retreat in Bodh Gaya, I walk with five students to the Bodhi Tree. On an ordinary day about two thousand six hundred years ago, Siddhartha Gautama sat down to meditate under this tree and made a vow not to move until he had realized the answers to life’s biggest questions. Seven weeks later, he arose Continue reading >>
I have lived in Banaras for five weeks, and I need to ask: what is this place?
It’s the simple idea that spirituality is something you can pin down, and that you might find it in an ancient city in India.
It’s watching the tainted and holy Ganges river flow by and trying to comprehend that 600 million people, eight percent of the humans on earth live on the Ganga Plains.
It’s seeing hundreds of carefully constructed goddesses made of straw and six feet tall all waiting to be burned once they dry out from being dumped in the river eight weeks ago during the Saraswati festival.
It’s the goats wearing sweaters Continue reading >>
Father Francis grows more impassioned as each sentence brings him towards the end of his speech. “This isn’t a garden, it’s a fight for freedom!” He catches his breath after the declaration, keeping one arm held aloft for emphasis. His audience, eighteen Swedish college students, barrage the 79-year-old man with questions Continue reading >>
The Boulder Daily Camera published this piece I wrote on fracking last week, and it has turned into a piece for local debate. See all the responses here. In the Camera, it was titled “Morality of NIMBY”.
The Boulder County commissioners sent a clear message by extending the fracking moratorium: We don’t want fracking in Boulder County. As an environmentalist, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth because we are not banning natural gas use, just the extraction that Continue reading >>
My essay, Wild Connections, was published in Sierra Magazine’s online edition today! This was the winning essay for an essay contest they sponsored last year for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The prompt: what does wilderness mean for the millennial generation? My answer:
I spend my life taking people into wilderness. I am a 23-year-old outdoor educator, and my students are people not much younger than myself: teenagers and twenty- somethings. Every time, whether we’re out there for a week or a month, there’s always a night when we lie on our backs and stare Continue reading >>