2019: A year in pictures

Cow, Lion

I didn’t spend any time writing this year, except to friends and family which is really a tragic shame that I have to spend some time on to make sense of why that was so, not for you dear reader. Today, I was googling artists and writers that spend time doing what appeared to be nothing to give myself some comfort – most of the stories weren’t really so positive so I knocked that off and here I am. I can just say that sometimes all the stories in my head are so loud and twisted together, I can’t make just one stand alone – maybe this next year, I can get better at that? Here’s hoping.

Good news, while I have a boatload of cliches about this past twelve months, I am going to spare you all most of that and save them for my own time. I will just state clearly that the path to my next decade seems to have gone from rocky and directly uphill an endless trail in the dark woods, to a gradual climb above the tree line with a summit in sight, with amazing views and terrifying drop offs on the side of trail. I am almost there and the last ten years have for once, looking back, been more of the making of me than the breaking of me. I am braver, smarter, wiser than I was ten years ago. I am also more humble, more willing to laugh at myself and no longer trying to make sense immediately of all the lessons. I figure they’ll explain themselves in time. People have come, they have gone and come back and I expect they will all continue to do that. My constants are like redwoods, tall, strong, reliable and mostly indestructible.

I celebrate that more than you all could know and today, simply just enjoy a small glimpse into the past 12 magical months, before I start planning, sharing and WRITING more about 2020. Just breathing in what just happened. It was a year of so much – there was death, new beginnings, challenges, joy and a lot of love.

On this fourth day of the new year, wishing you all happy days on the trail of life, may the year be kind, joyful and if it sends you challenges, may you be brave, fearless and strong.

2018: Back to East Africa

Lion

June 2018: I wrote most of the below and forgot to publish it as anyone who has visited East Africa the network is a mercurial and not always reliable thing. So here you are…. a month later – the thoughts all still stand, my readers. I just didn’t officially state it live time. I know life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s nice to be looking around the next bend at a happy what’s next – I don’t live to think of endings or ever after, life certainly isn’t so tidy, at least mine isn’t. It’s a happy right now for me. It’s a building of the house where there was once just me and is now an us. Here’s to us and all of you. It’s also pre-summer in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts where I live and the greener than green came with me back from Tanzania… I don’t mind it, I don’t mind it at all.

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April 2018: I have been in Tanzania during the dry season or just at the start of the short rains, never at the end of the rainy season when the land is so gloriously green everywhere – greener than the greenest green.

It’s also dangerous and muddy, with floods and broken roads but let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on the endless emerald fields and hillsides. I have to say I have learned to love this confusing country in all conditions.

This is my first time traveling free – not quite a local, a mzungu never is going to be that.  I have replaced the blur from a 4 x 4 vehicle window, a more than curated experience., with street food, Masai nightclubs, the Dar “lux” express bus (it’s not so lux but it’s also not so not lux – that’s a puzzle 12 hours on that bus will solve for you). I may have even drunk the water (ok, you all know, I did but I swear my gut appreciates it now).

When does the tourist become the traveler? When is it just visiting your guy where he lives and going to the village where he was born? Does it matter that the village where I was born was Chicago? I don’t know.  Somehow by accident of fate, my global citizenship has changed and I have to carve out a spot here as well as there – there will always be a bit different when I am here and it’s a weird and unsettling mix of complicated and simple.

When I get on my plane back to the USA this time, I am not just taking memories with me. I am leaving someone behind. What was once a one way, becomes a new life plan and roundtrips. My heart couldn’t be more full,

As my father told me long ago, shoot for the stars, just remember to find the potatoes on the ground too. So with stars in my eyes and potatoes in my pockets, let the next chapter begin.