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We Are All A Part. Writing and recordings about nature, existence, and wildness—at three miles per hour. www.walkaround.run


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We Are All A Part. Writing and recordings about nature, existence, and wildness—at three miles per hour. www.walkaround.run





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29 - Heart Lessons from Poison Hemlock

Transcript (includes errors) Hello. Welcome to Walk Around. This is Hudson Gardner. I am sitting at the edge of a field where the trees come out a little bit into the grass. And there's a little secret spot surrounded by hawthorn trees, there's an aspen that has a lot of young aspen around it. And down beneath the willow tree is a place that I come and make a little fire and have tea. I want to tell you a story today. Something that happened 10 summers ago, which feels like a different life, completely different time. A different world, a different person who was living and somehow that person was me and it was the same life in the same world. A hummingbird just landed on a twig of this little snag and he's just watching me. I almost feel like he's listening. So I'll tell him the story too. Ten years ago, I was living in southeast Nebraska in the town that I more or less grew up in called Lincoln. And I was getting ready to do something. I had been there a long time. My luck was running out. There was a general feeling of uncertainty, major change coming that I sensed. I had gotten out of a relationship that was, had been about three years long and it was a messy breakup and it was a hard time. My mom was living on a farm outside of town. And so I was staying in one of the guest rooms as I figured out what I was going to do with my 25-year-old life. And back then I felt that I didn't really have a conviction yet about who I was or what I had to offer I had the beginnings of it, but it was more like just a question and it's safe to say that I now know what that answer is but how to do it is still elusive. But back then I'doften go out to this zendo outside of town on a farm called Branched Oak Farm. It's a dairy farm with probably 15, 20 Jersey cows, some pigs, chickens. Pretty sure it's still going. And it was the best milk I've ever tasted in my life came from that place. Deep, deep yellow. I've never had anything like it. There's something about the pastures in the Great Plains that are just unlike any other place from all those millions of years of bison and care. And one time I went out to the Zendo and I was in a strange headspace, I guess. I mean, who doesn't go to a Zendo in a strange headspace? And I went out there and before I went to the Zendo that day, I went out to this little reservoir nearby. It's the namesake of the farm, Branched Oak Reservoir, Branched Oak Lake. And below the Branched Oak Lake, there's a series of loess hills that were blown there by the wind over millennia. And there's grass and trees and little groves of flowers and I pulled off on the dirt road and in Nebraska you pull off on a dirt road 20 minutes outside of town and you can sit there for an hour and you don't see anybody else. It's a quiet place. And it was probably one of those days like today, beautiful, sunny, big puffy cumulonimbus clouds growing on the horizon, some kind of storm forming in the distance—the wind blowing across the grass and I went into this draw and I don't know what drew me there. I just had a feeling that I should go there and I walked up through the grass and I came to a grove of plants. And I had this intense feeling inside of me this anger at myself for being so old and so incompetent. I felt like I didn't know anything about the world, like I'd been wasting my life sitting around putting myself through school and college that I didn't want to go to, staying probably too long in a relationship that wasn't good for me or for the other person, unfortunately. And just being too comfortable. And so I had all those feelings when I walked into the draw and I knew I was on the brink of change. It felt that way. And I felt so angry and there was this plant, there's a big patch of them. And I thought I'm going to show that I have some competence. And I know what to do when I'm out in the wild places. And I took out my knife, which is something I would never do...


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This poem came to me when I was sitting on the rocks near a wharf off water street in Port Townsend. I had climbed down off the sidewalk and found a spot where kids hang out and tag. It’s a quiet place but some other person came with a notebook and started sketching. She kept looking toward at me, and I wonder if I made it in the drawing. I’ve been out on my bike recently, and the color of the sky and water is almost unbelievable. I’ve started to notice things again, my sense of smell has begun to return, my mind feels clearer. I get headaches now and then, still sleep strangely, often feel like crying or angry out of place, and often the urges almost overcome me. But I am not going to give up. Thank you for reading & listening. AQUAMARINE The water blue, no, green — offshore glistens The wind • • • in fits & starts traces low along the surface. Creosote pillars sunk deep in, braced, kept stable by toxcicity — nooks where life still lives despite heavy - metals - pain. Imperfectness, imperfection, needless ease, persistence of the tides, wind on the water and — look, be open — and the view becomes so wide. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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28 - Overabundance

As spring has gotten into gear around here, I've been noticing the general abundance of plant life, and weather, and birds, and social engagements—and it's got me reflecting on different kinds of abundance, overabundance, scarcity, relationships, community... From that corner of the human experience of consuming and creating the dynamic between those two aspects of our nature, you could say... Listen & Read More This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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27 - Thank You For Listening

This podcast covers the issue of addiction. If you are in need of help, call the national hotline, 988. Transcript (may contain errors) There's a bell that I've taken around with me wherever I've lived I can't remember where I got it, maybe in Portland at the Japanese Garden And I've often hung it up outside and the sound has become familiar, even as all the places I've lived have changed for so long And that familiar feeling just hit me as I rode up this little hill through an orchard towards the cabin that I'm living in these days I never really realized I'd developed a familiarity with it until that moment Now I'm standing out kind of more towards the field behind the cabin looking at a willow that's flowering and the first bumblebees I've seen this year are collecting nectar and pollen from the flowers That's pretty hopeful Back in the forest behind the edge of the woods there's a giant ant nest, the biggest I've ever seen actually It's probably home to hundreds of thousands of ants It's probably four or five feet wide, a couple feet tall It's been there who knows how long Old growth ant nest, ant pile Read more or listen here: https://www.walkaround.run/p/thank-you-for-listening This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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26 - The Most Important Thing About Life Is That It Happens

A week ago I sent my friend Jen a poem I wrote called Selfheal. They told me that they too have a meaningful connection with the plant, and then sent the above image back. When I saw it, for some reason these words came: "Believe in your next steppingstone." Jim Harrison interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L3STymsjeg&t=932s Listen and read more: https://www.walkaround.run/p/the-most-important-thing-about-life Jen's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chthoneural_/ This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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25 - By Firelight

Recorded near Port Townsend, Washington. A short rumination on movement, landscapes, and people—how they all connect. I read a poem called By Firelight, and discuss a run I took on Christmas Eve. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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24 - Harvest

Transcript (Includes typos and run on sentences) Welcome to Walk Around. This is Hudson Gardner. I've always been attracted to edges. And I feel like I've written about it. About edges, I guess, many times, trying to understand Why I'm always kind of going along to edges and right now I'm sitting right at the edge of light in open oak woodland in western Oregon in the Willamette Valley. It's a really rare type of place these days, actually, in this area. It used to be the dominant ecotone or guild, kind of a mix of sedges and grasses, reeds in the more marshy areas, madrone, old standing doug fir. and kind of some open meadows and kind of like a prairie savanna. I think they call it an oak savanna. And it's one of the most beautiful types of environment that I think exists in the world. You have these huge gnarled oak trees that have branches going every different direction and they're so articulate and so complicated and so beautiful and so stable it seems, so strong. And then you have the grasses in between them and younger oaks coming up and flowers when it's raining in the spring and all these insects that you can hear. Stellar’s Jays going from dead trees, from a snag to a snag looking around for things to eat. Woodpeckers and hawks. And then you have this forest edge here that's just a solid wall of big doug fir and some elderberries and young ash trees. And here I am sitting right at the edge and the edge of the light thinking about how I'm so attracted to spots like this once again. I was once talking to a friend who was an ecology major in college, and she was mentioning that when we were stopped somewhere, we were standing with some trees behind us looking out on an open space—and she said “it feels good to be here.” And we both started talking about: why is that? Why does it feel good to be in a spot like this? With the trees behind and open space in front and I think it's a very old feeling. It's a feeling of possibility and openness in front and then behind safety and shelter and places to hide and get out of the elements and stuff and also another different type of food and resource available. And I think that's why standing on the edges of forests and fields has always felt good to me. Maybe it's this very old kind of a feeling. And then there's all these edges in life, like transition, which I feel like in a weird way for the last 10 years or something, I've been in some state of transition where I haven't ever really touched down and stayed wherever I've been. I feel like there's many people who listen to this podcast who've met me in one of the many places that I've lived and then moved on from. And transition is really hard, actually, because everything's up in the air. You have to find all the things. Whenever you get to the next place you're going, you're constantly considering about what you need. Friends aren't just a given. Community isn't just a given. It's this thing you're having to build actively every time you move somewhere else. Being on the edge like that for so long, like I have, I feel like has been really hard. And it makes me wonder why I prolonged this kind of lifestyle, endlessly moving around. I feel like I've talked about this before, It's all led me to where I am now which is I think been an essential and really important and extremely I guess extremely necessary path It's like the more situations I've found myself in and moved on from, the more I've learned. And not just touching down and staying somewhere has really opened my world to a massive possibility of people and interactions and ways of life and ways of thought and it's really cleaned my brain out and my body I think in many ways. and kind of detoxified me from some of my harsher tendencies towards judgment and criticism and things like that. To set out into the world really makes a person realize how insignificant they are. Especially if you go somewhere and you're always having to...


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🔘 Daily Notes .7 - Medical School

Click the tab above for a full transcript If receiving this as an email, or reading show notes, click here. 🔘 Daily Notes chronicles my unedited thoughts at the moment, from day to day. This series will end at 1.0, or 10 total posts 🍵 This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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23 - Don't Worry

This is Hudson Gardner. Welcome to Walk Around. Right now I am sitting in the shade. It's really hot today. So I’m sitting next to a guest house I'm living in, looking out across an unmowed, untended field. It's kind of like a little pasture. This is actually a place I've been coming since I was four or five years old. The first time I came here, I can't even remember. But it's my aunt's house.And it's such a beautiful place. It's one of the only places that has stayed the same for my whole life in terms of something that I returned to, which is really neat and rare for me. I've been walking around a lot recently. Surveying for what some people call invasive weeds, walking the prairies in northeastern Oregon.... For full transcription & beautiful images, please visit the Walkaround.run website: https://www.walkaround.run/p/dont-worry This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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22 - Globemallow

Globemallow Year after year after year Smooth rocks smoothened By water and even sand in wind and even wind Juniper scrub grew to a tree split and died Remains as snag mostly still alive Rodent holes take refuge in sandy soil Beneath the globe mallow crop waiting for the seven year piñon to drop Seeds. Many young even Oaks in little gullies of green grass meadows hidden pond and aspen stands big Mesatops catch the rain as if Some rock giant has been slowly gardening These clefts for a billion years But groves of bright orange mallow and yellow and blue penstemon Against the rain fingers touching the horizon, blurring the distance And us journeying along an imperfect Family group forged and beaten still smoking from the birth Without a place to call home together so we wander, create traditions and stories, move onward to places never heard of A group of young souls just born into the still smoking mud of which we feel the heat of what we were also molded from And a rag of trash wound up in an ancient sagebrush bush that I take three stems from and show them to Todd for a sniff, stuff my Mouth full of globemallow flowers and gain sustenance from the land and I’ll tell you I’ve given up on meaning and instead work with how I find feelings out in places both empty and full such Moments of presence to convey a kind of resonance that doesn’t need these words for you to come close to it But it’s like a fire stoked by attention only and it Goes out and everything is dark in that realm that you don’t know or see into become like The old ones who rest in the hills gardening their patch near the piñons and living with the Least chipmunks and the mule deer and the visitor who comes for cota from the house over Puts his feet up by the door and stares out at the rain fingers and the mallows and the piñons and junipers and rodents and distant cities and collapse and reforming and smallnesses and bignesses and the Colorado river and the lack of water in the lakes and he sits with his friend staring out and and says only for hours: after all these years….. PS. Thanks for reading. Funds are tight right now so if you feel like it, throw a few dollars my way. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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21 - A Pond In Beaverton

In many ways my experience is as vast or constrained as I allow it to be. I mused on this idea in this week’s show. My conclusion? Walk around, and look around. And maybe be slower to be define how something is, or isn’t. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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20 - Running Beyond Reason With Blaine Benitez

It's rare to find a flow in life where all needs align. Usually, some needs have to be traded for others. And sometimes it's hard for me to even know what it is I really need. Talking with my friend Blaine Benitez on this episode, I think he's someone who is working to understand the ebb and flow of life, pursuing his needs, and the discovery of them, in an intuitive way. And there's something beyond all that too, something impractical, purely biological, in the way and for the reasons he runs. To me, Blaine is an artist of movement. To build an altar for something that others see as unproductive, to shape your life around that idea or pursuit, takes a lot of belief in that thing. It takes a kind of patience or endurance that is found all on your own. But the flow of motivation is a collaborative act. Blaine is inspired by his friends, the mountains he lives near, and the feeling he gets from running in them. In the podcast we talk about taking it easy, but taking it. How the idea of running all 11,000 foot peaks in the Wasatch outside SLC came about, and what it was like to do that in one push. We talk about how we both go outside every day, how Blaine runs every day, about sleeping and napping, sponsorship and priorities in life, how endurance doesn't need to be an intense thing. We talk about how a mindful, content feeling can be accessible in the next breath, the next step, and the idea that resistance uses energy, and creates tension. And we end talking about running beyond reason. Be sure to listen to the whole episode if you have time, it's really worth it. And feel free to donate here to help me keep making things like this: Donate Blaine's AccountsInstagramStravaYouTube Index * 3:50 - How Blaine found his way to Salt Lake City * 7:00 - Figuring out how to camp for free, and how to travel to trial and error * 9:40 - Making a living * 12:10 - Stability vs flexibility * 14:10 - How the idea of the Wasatch 11's came about * 20:00 - Waking up on an 11,000' summit and running into work that same morning * 21:00 - Memories of the Wasatch traverse * 22:50 - Wasatch Traverse: Being present and easing tension * 24:40 - Focusing on the next step, and having a healthy internal environment * “A really mindful, content feeling is accessible in the next breath that you take, so it's nice to spend that long in such a vulnerable and physically demanding state” * 26:16 - "Take it easy, but take it" - Running without suffering * 27:10 - Gary Snyder - "Watch the ground below your feet speed by" * 29:30 - "You can always take another step, you can always alleviate some tension" * 30:10 - Asking hard questions about making things and being someone * 31:20 - The use of the word endurance, and its relationship to patience * "Endurance doesn't have to be an intense thing" * 32:10 - Running every day * 34:00 - Finding a flow in running * 37:00 - Running as a way toward mental wellbeing * Running is primarily a tool for me to navigate internal framework/mental health * Instead of thinking about something, I turn myself outwards * 39:40 - Going outside every day * "Running outside is a biological need. I absolutely need it just like I need food" * "Running is a way to fulfill biological needs and to fulfill a purpose" * 43:30 - How running and athletic can be simple, and without goals * 52:50 - Dan Price and living life on your old terms * 54:20 - Injuries * 59:00 - Getting sleep * 1:05:00 - Hardest runs that Blaine has done, and the Bonneville Shoreline trail * 1:18:00 - Traven's Dragon Wing Visualization in the Quad Lock (Rock) Race * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PmcNmzdjbE * https://www.youtube.com/@EnduranceSlack/videos * 1:21:00 - Fear and the unknown * 1:38:00 - Sponsorship and priorities * 1:45:40 - Running beyond reason * When I'm at work or when I'm around other people I can be a lot more pleasant person around my coworkers * 2:00:00 - How resistance takes energy This is a public...


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19 - Strength & Fear

Transcript This morning I went for a run in the woods, on these really beautiful trails that are used by snowmobiles. The organization that maintains the trails and works with landowners to allow access is called VAST - The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers. I'm not really sure if you're supposed to walk on them, but I don't really mind it, I mean I'm not a snowmobiler. I don't think it messes up the trails when they're really hard to walk on them, or to run on them. And they're really the only trails I could walk on right now without snowshoes around here. So I just kind of do it. The run goes up the hill beyond the yard and down into a field and it crosses a little road. And then it goes into some woods. The woods are pretty young, I'd say between 10 and 50 years old at the absolute maximum of the trees. There are a lot of beech trees with this canker disease, they have some yellow birch, silver birch. And a couple of maple trees, paper birch, and once in a while there's a pine tree. Kind of a scraggly woods over there. But the trail is nice, it goes up and down following the grade of a hill. And it eventually gets to this really large field that's owned by a family called the Mudges. And they are summer people, so they aren't here right now. There, the field opens up, the view opens up to something more than you'd expect in Colorado or something. There's a split rail fence and a grove aspen trees and you can see a far ridge with trees on top. If you took a photo of the right way, and people didn't really notice that you're surrounded by deciduous forests, you probably would think that you are in the Rockies or something. And the magic thing about it is of course, besides the snowmobiles that sometimes go by, there's no one on the trail ever. Because, this part of Vermont is pretty remote. It's not really close to anything, it's about an hour away from everything. And that makes it nice in some ways, but also pretty lonely. I ran up a steep hill after that through a different set of woods after crossing another road. And into this area that was a logging tract that's owned by owned by this guy named Hemenway who owned a couple thousand acres of forests around here. And he is a good forester type of a person. He contracted out to companies that just do very careful cutting. And so there's a lot of diversity in his woods. And he himself loved to walk in them. And there's been some memorials about him because he did such a beautiful job of preserving access and the woods themselves. And so those woods are pretty nice, they're pretty well thinned, and some pretty old trees in there that he left, probably told the loggers to leave some of the old trees, which is really good for wildlife. It's quite a steep hill over there, and running in the snow makes it really hard. And I think it's probably 500 feet vertical from the bottom to the top of it, maybe a little bit more. And the whole course is around 1000 or 1200. I would say it's about three and a half miles one way. I was trying to run in a pretty decent pace today. But running is always weird. I just I never know how fast I'm gonna run. Maybe it's because I have a phone that's like five years old. Doesn't really record stuff very accurately. But anyway, it was a good run. As I was coming back down to the big field. I started thinking about something that has been on my mind for a while. Which is this experience that I had when I got a vasectomy recently because this morning I had talked to my friend Beau, who's a Chinese medicine doctor, acupuncturist and herbalist, Alexander Technique practitioner, Tai Chi practitioner, lots of different things he's, he's into and really skilled at, and I was doing a consult with him. And so something I wanted to ask him about was this experience that happened during the vasectomy that I just had. I went to the Planned Parenthood in Burlington because I've only had good experiences with Planned Parenthood. With my...


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18 - Music To Share

A short episode about a piece of music by Dario Lessing that I have been enjoying Elfe by Dario Lessinghttps://open.spotify.com/track/5DVGcnv54vwvqFxYg5rH7n This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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17 - The Bridge

Some writing about a bridge I used to run across all the time, and my thoughts on a manuscript I’ve been working on. Recorded by a small pond on the edge of a field outside Forest Grove, Oregon. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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16 - The Heart

Transcript (sorry about typos) I've been trying to learn a short song on the piano recently. Because right now, I'm house sitting at the place across the road from the yurt that I live in. And there's a piano in here, an upright. It's not very clean, it's actually kind of out of tune. And that is just the kind of quality of sound that I like. Trying to learn something that someone else made, trying to copy it, is a very different process then just sitting down at the piano and playing whatever comes into my head—which is what I've always done. Trying to intentionally press certain notes is a lot more difficult than just letting the notes come out as they will. But as soon as I started to learn some of this tune, I realized that there is music in the tune; that there is expansion available to these pre-made notes. In other words, there is further music inside of that tune to be found—and so I started playing around within the phrase, I guess it's called. To be honest, I have no training in music, so I don't know what I'm talking about. But I started playing around in the notes themselves. And I've realized that just in that snippet of the song, there was maybe so much variation—just in five seconds of music. And I really like that. Doing more with less: the idea behind that, what it brings up, what it results in. And I like that even though I'm not good at copying someone else's work, when I start playing, immediately what comes to mind is finding the music within the music. When I write, I write in an unconstrained way. I never find myself writing to a rubric. I never set a certain amount of time I'm going to write for. I never set a time itself to write. I never set any kind of a goal. I just have this general idea that I need to write as much as I can, which doesn't always work out. Because it's not very disciplined. But actually, it kind of does, because it seems like I tend to write a lot by not putting any constraints on it. It seems like I allow what comes to come, and I don't deal with the garbage. I don't produce crap in order to get to the good stuff. I just don't produce when there isn't anything worth writing, which I think is up for debate with a lot of people. And the funny thing is I recently haven't been able to really write, as well as I've been able to just talk. And talking is even more unconstrained, because as I speak I don't really remember what I just said. All I'm doing is following a thought pattern. I can't go back and read the words I wrote down, I'm just here in the present saying whatever is coming to the forefront of my mind. And I think that it's a sign of a lack of constraint and an abundance of creativity: to be able to just talk, and not need a form, and still produce something intelligible. Which I think is pretty difficult. So, I've been thinking about the heart recently. Just last night, I read a piece by someone, I kind of, sort of know, who lives in Maine. Her name is Jenna Rozelle, and she writes about food, but it's more the idea of nourishment. I really appreciate her writing. I think she's very articulate and prolific, and I like that. She hunts and has a relationship with wild landscapes. And she wrote about the heart recently just last night. In the article, she explained her experience of this season, and taking heart, and what gets her through some of the times, and other things. Anyway, you should go check out her newsletter, Appetites. You can search for her name too. So it got me thinking about the heart. And what I think of the heart has a very particular association with a lack of constraint. Because if anything, the heart ceases to function when it's constrained—when it has atherosclerosis in the arteries, calcification, or a lot of people deal with arrhythmia. Or afib. And it's this idea of constraint that brings me back to thinking about the heart. My experience of the culture I live in, and what is being asked for in that culture and what is being...


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15 - That Makes Sense To Me

I recently heard about a story telling event nearby. The theme was Rural Life in Vermont. It made me pause, consider: if I had an audience in front of me, what kind of story would I tell? Awhile back I set out toward what interested me. You could say that by today's standards, I set out to be a failure, because attached to that idea was no intention to make money. In other words, to most people, my future had no future in it. As time has passed I haven't always felt like I chose the right way forward. And there have been moments, that have become funny over time, where people challenge and judge my way of life. And yet despite the hard times and so on, I never felt like I've chosen the wrong route—on the good days. There were moments when I could have been this or that—for example, a magazine photographer. But when I was taking photos of people doing interesting things, and writing profiles about them, I realized that it was actually I who wanted to live that interesting life. I didn't want to be someone who documented it, I wanted my own way. And what I've realized is that living a truly interesting life isn't usually paid for. What I mean is, the back and forth commute and static routine most people have, I would say, is not interesting to me. And yet so many people I've met tend to think, and demand of others, that it's the only way. If it works for them, that's fine. But to demand others live the way you do because you think it's the best way, makes no sense at all. It says more about who you are than anyone else really. To be honest, this kind of policing and judgement makes me sick. For one reason or another attention to basic things has always been interesting to me. I remember being very small, just a child, and having one toy I cherished above all. For a while it was a tiny grey fighter jet no longer then the first joint of my finger. And then it was a black plastic goat. Now I find myself interested in the details of life. Where do I hang the kitchen towel so it stops being in the way, yet is easily reachable? How do I make efficient use of this single room I live in with another person? How do I maintain and lovingly take care of my axe and knives? My body? My relationships? How much do I really need to be content? I was lucky in that I found out about a philosophy when I was just 19 that talked a lot about contentment, and what it required. Turns out it can require very little, to be content. As for me, I've found challenges that I overcome to be the most satisfying type of possessions. Who I become through growth and change, is all I really have. And to be clear, I don't even have that, in the end. The route I've chosen has made up a meaningful life so far, if only for myself. And while I may not have much security, or own a home, and I share a car with my partner, I feel healthy overall. I had this idea recently that the entire point of my life is good health. If my health is good, it means everything else is going well, right? At least, that makes sense to me. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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14 - To Be Here

Welcome to Walk Around—a new direction for this podcast. Last summer, 2021, I had an idea while walking in the high country—to make a podcast about walking. I've walked a long way, and to be honest, my creative path as an artist started right there, with walking. Walking itself is so simple, yet so corrective and health generating. For me walking, running, or any self-powered movement have always helped me find traction on ideas, reckon with problems, or work through difficulty, in ways nothing else can. Maybe it’s that moving my body through space at an understandable rate allows me to untangle what I seek to understand. Movement unties the knots, mental and physical, that life builds up. It clears my eyes, mind, and spirit. I never got far with the idea, to rename this podcast & newsletter, because it seemed too single-minded. I don’t intend to write “about” walking. I just want to write what I find useful in the moment, along themes of understanding and communing with nature. Below is a transcript I recorded during a run today. I hope you enjoy listening or reading what I shared, and the new direction I am heading. Transcript (the text below is verbatim, so it’s a little awkward read rather than listened to) There's a beaver pond a couple ridges over from where I live. Recently, I rode my bike past—and yesterday I stopped there on the way back from picking up some flour with Anna for the bread baking that she's getting into. The first time I drove by the pond, I saw a beaver swimming along. And the pond was really smooth and glass like, reflecting the hills and the trees around it. It's not much of a pond though. It's kind of abandoned looking. The trees aren't very big the brushes scraggly. There's an old dike or something, some kind of an old dam. Someone used to drive their car over it to someone's house, back in a hollow that's now been razed. And the only only thing left is a stone foundation. In other words, it's just the kind of place I love. I like places that aren't really noticed by anyone else. And they have a quiet solitude. Anna & I walked over the Beaver Dam and into this old pasture-meadow, that's since grown up with a lot of trees. There were many game trails crisscrossing the area, headed to the apple trees, down to the water, along the creek, through the trees. It was astonishing. Animals seem to go where people don't like to go. And I guess that's why I like some of these places. They have a special gentleness to them. I like beaver ponds too because while they serve a function that we can all see and understand: by slowing down the flow of water, allowing it to soak into the ground, creating a reservoir underneath the pond, keeping the water cold for fish, allowing cleared areas along the edges of it that the beavers keep cut for food. Allowing amphibians and other small mammals and large animals to flourish because of the abundance of food and space and water. And allowing sediment to be trapped from the rivers to keep them running clear and high. Those are all the physical functions of the beaver pond. But I see it as a refuge. I see them as refuges. Especially now, when everywhere weather is more drastic, temperatures are higher and lower. Even though they're small, they maintain a homeostasis in some way. Just because of the amount of water that's sitting there, which acts as a sink for hot air and a reservoir for cool water. And energetically I think that kind of a feeling is present in those places. When a person goes to a beaver pond if they're in the right frame of mind, they can feel that it's a refuge. And it's not just a physical refuge. It's a refuge for emotional well-being. And that's just really the kind of place I like. I'm going to read a poem I wrote recently when my mom was visiting. It was a beautiful visit. She is such an amazing person, and I love her so much. She's taught me so many things and she's so wise. She's really seen a lot of people. She was a teacher for...


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13 - Grief & Vulnerability

I’ve been having the hardest time making things recently, maybe ever. So I decided to just go talk outside for a while. This is the least edited thing I’ve ever put on the internet. I decided to put it on here because I think other people might be able to relate. And because it tells a lot about my problems, what I struggle with, and so on—which are things I don’t often talk about. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run


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12 - Winnowing

Winnowing It happened when the grass was flowering: pale puffs of dust, appearing with a breeze, or even from a tiny beetle landing on a stem. Just enough to send life outward. Snipe stood on a log that morning, just watching. I thought about the sound he makes as he flies all night and he watched me, and I watched him, and as usual, the sun rose. The good from bad, it seems the thoughts, or feelings are of different weights. Tossing them to the wind what blows away from me are good feelings. What falls to the earth are the bad thoughts. Which seem to pile up. But what is good, or bad, to a snipe? Or to a tiny granule of contained life sent forth by a beetle's landing or the hum of a flies wing? Snipe stands on one leg and scratches his head, watches me, pollen, trees, beetles, sunrise, and as always things I can't yet see. What do you see snipe? What does the winnowing sound of your night flights mean? Why this morning do you stop, on a log, to watch me? Have your eggs hatched? Do you know if your nestlings will have a marshy home? Or are such thoughts beyond you? You must be just a piece of life itself. Not good, not bad, but beautiful fully real, and peaceful. Your silent morning log watch and scratch, your handsome, calm brown eyes are a gift to me. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.walkaround.run