Return: Leaving My Shoes Along the Trail, Part 3

[Note: this is the third part in a series; for Part 1 click here, and Part 2 click here.] It never fails. Even after a relatively short immersion in the wild, I am transformed. When I started up the dusty path from the trailhead, I felt constricted in a calcified shell of containment; irascible, burdened, and somewhat prickly (think: porcupine).…

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Seeing: Leaving My Shoes Along The Trail, Part 2

[Note: this is the second part in a series; for Part 1 click here] Amid the trees, the dry, herbaceous aromas of the lower canyon trail transform. Here the air is not only cooler by several degrees but suddenly tinged with mossy notes and a scent of green-tea, catapulting me to other places and other wanderings.…

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Severance: Leaving My Shoes Along the Trail, Part 1

I admit to a conflicted relationship with Big Sur, the vast and sparsely inhabited coastal region immediately south of Carmel, California. It is a land of dramatic hillsides and cliffs meeting the sea, a narrow winding highway (often closed for rockslides, or un-navigable due to thick fog), and an untamed wilderness. As the rugged and raw…

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Patience and Wild Things

How impatient we are as a species. In the morning light, I stood on a rocky shore called Granite Beach (‘beach’ is a highly inaccurate misnomer), an arc of sea cove populated with thousands of small, rounded granite stones washed up against the low cliffs. I had chosen to spend a good part of my…

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