Monday, October 26, 2009


Words convey a powerful meaning. So powerful that a simple few can completely turn your world around.

For some reason, someone's words can affect you unlike actions or behaviors. They can twist your stomach, energize your mind, or tear at your heartstrings.

They can paint beautiful images or harsh realities. They can make you exuberantly happy or morosely depressed. They can make you laugh or they can make you cry.

The power of words is both beautiful and terrifying. I ordinarily consider myself to love them, but I don't now.

And yet, in the opening of a mouth or the flash of eyes over text, that sentiment can change - or perhaps already has.

In a brief utterance or message, words can right what was once wrong. They can turn sorrow into joy or despair into hopefulness.

Although words initially struck me down, more have lifted me back up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Honestly, I don't think I have had this much work in my life. Between 4,000-word essays, college applications, and extraneous events beyond my control, I have been harried this week. Weeks like this past one get me down; events pile up on one another and file at the strings holding me together.

Amazingly enough, the littlest of things can reverse the downward spiral of a mood.

A great dinner with people I admire and enjoy; productivity on a Saturday morning; fall colors peering through trees; fierce hockey games; starlit skies above a spanning green field; and talking, sharing, and being with a friend.

It's the simple things in life that make it so extraordinary. Although I may have had a difficult week, I choose to look at the wonderful opportunities and experiences I've had and I can't help but be happy and grateful for the life I've been given.

Life is good, and I love it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wagon Wheel

It's interesting how the simple tune of a song can bring you right back to where you memorably heard it.

Headed down south to the land of the pines
And I'm thumbin' my way into North Caroline
Starin' up the road
And pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Pickin' me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I'm a hopin' for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight

It's pitch black. Nature is teeming all around me as a sit on a bench at a presentation at Clark's Fork. It's difficult to completely describe my emotions and thoughts. I was tired and worn, missing those things which are most dearest to me... and are largely located a thousand miles north. Yet, I was having the adventure of my life.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

The people of the camp staff come from all across the United States. Men and women from completely different backgrounds and interests with different talents and personalities.

Runnin' from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time stringband
My baby plays the guitar
I pick a banjo now
Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin' me now
Lost my money playin' poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain't a turnin' back
To livin' that old life no more

And yet, they have at least one thing in common: a love. A love for a lifestyle; a love for the outdoors; a love for simple living; a love for Philmont. Before beginning the song, a man had announced its title to which there was little response. No one had heard it before. He was astonished, declaring everyone who has attended Philmont knows this song.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

They strummed their guitars, their banjos, and their vocal chords. Singing of a feeling that I have never felt anywhere else. It's indescribable. Something borne completely out of experience.

Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he's a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on fit for the sun
I hear my baby callin' my name
And I know that she's the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free

The same things were going through each of our minds during this song: beautiful sunsets over the tallest peak in New Mexico, amazing landscapes of tall trees and wildlife, and brotherhood founded in common purpose, shared experiences, and simple conversations on the trail.

On the eve of the end, in front of a campfire and a group of people who treasured that experience, I had the opportunity to reflect. Within the four minutes of this song, I felt a kaleidescope of emotions, thinking about the challenges and memories of the journey I had embarked on just two weeks earlier. How much farther I had come.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

As we left the campfire and prepared for our last night on the trail we sang. We sang the song that has come to embody the entire experience for me and has done the same for so many before me.

Walking through the darkness, remembering, commiserating, singing...

Eight voices softly and thoughtfully singing.

"Rock me mama like a wagon wheel, rock me mama any way you feel..."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Comeuppance of a Long Weekend

I feel like the last week has been blowing by faster than the Hogwarts Express. I haven't had too much "downtime" as my mom calls it. It's been great and I have loved every minute of it, but sometimes I really need a break - time to sit and just... be.

I've thought several times in the last few days, "This would be an awesome thing to write a blog about" and yet now that I have some time to do just that, I'm finding it difficult to either remember those thoughts or simply articulate them. It's almost as though I'm the subject of some sort of thought overload.

My whirlwind of thoughts has a dramatic variety: flashes of "study groups" that didn't do too much studying, Alfred Hitchcock telling of "comeuppance"(my favorite new word), pumping up dozens of balloons to decorate a hotel room, finally meeting someone I've heard so much about, hopping, skipping, traipsing, but not quite running with an incredible friend Downtown, eating Chinese at "Kowloon"with a dozen people, and reflecting on a rainy, yet calm Sunday. This current state of dizzying thought is the comeuppance of a weekend called "UEA".

What more could you want in such a weekend?

Oh, another day of course.