From Limbo, some good things

Here are some good things: 

The trees here have sprung to life completely in about three days. The lakes are near warm. Fledgling birds run around through gardens. The woods are thick.

I still don’t really know concretely what is next for me, which is good and bad. Part of me likes the uncertainty, and being so unattached. The other part of me misses how neat and tidy my old plan was. Once again, I am back to not knowing what I’ll be doing come Fall. 

I’ll be headed back to the Apostle Islands soon for another season of sea kayak guiding— that is feeling more and more like a really good thing. If nothing else, it buys me a little time to figure out how to get my life back together. I’m still not sure if that means trying to go back and teach in Armenia at my old post, or trying to teach abroad somewhere else, or pursuing something stateside.

I’ve got an abstract fantasy of an apartment I live in long enough to buy a coffeemaker, and a flower pot, and a cast iron skillet. I can’t seem to make up my mind long enough for that kind of thing. (You can laugh at me here, it’s a little funny).

In the meantime, I’ve been able to do a lot of paddling, writing, drawing, and taking pictures. Here’s some of that:

I’ve been able to paddle around in Antrim County a lot in the past few weeks. Most of the routes here are both canoe, and recreational kayak friendly as well as good spots for sea kayaks.

It feels like in the course of a week or two we’ve gone from snow, to the trillium up, all the birds back, and a full canopy of leaves.

pileated woodpecker at the water’s edge

The paddling routes I’ve done are mostly in the Chain of Lakes region. My favorites are Lake Bellaire to the Grass River, and the Torch River up to South Torch Lake. The Chain of Lakes is an official water trail in the region, which is like a hiking trail, but for paddling. You can check it out more here.

Above: (left) heated South on the lovely Grass River, a little after an encounter with a friendly river otter; (right) Lake Bellaire and my paddle, shortly before I sunburnt the skin off my lips.

Above: (left) Lake Skegemog and my yellow boat; (right) Intermediate River, my paddle, and the tree I really liked.

In light of current events, I also want to use this space here to highlight some Black writers and activists. These are writers that I have been reading and learning from.

Layla F. Saad, bestselling author and podcast host

Instagram: @laylafsaad LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/laylafsaad Books: http://laylafsaad.com/instagram-books

Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, writer and academic

Instagram: @rachel.cargle LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/1thatgotawayy Resources: The Great Unlearn

The Conscious Kid, parenting and educating resource

Instagram: @theconsciouskid Resources: https://www.patreon.com/theconsciouskid

Below: A resource complied by @pattiegonia on understanding white privilege in outdoor spaces.

View this post on Instagram

WHITENESS IN THE OUTDOORS. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now and the recent events in the news, specifically the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man hunted down by two white men on a jog led me to spend the past few days listening and learning from people of color, specifically African Americans in the outdoors. . This post is my attempt as an imperfect white person with privilege to take action and encourage other white people to do the same because there’s no “outdoors for all” when racism exists. As a white person, I can’t speak to the unique experiences of marginalized groups surrounding race, so this is my attempt to amplify the voices of POC in the outdoors. . Thank you for reading. I’m always seeking to improve my skill of allyship as I’m not an expert in this and I am open to constructive feedback. . SHARE- Feel free to share, but if you do, please tag the people of color you see mentioned on each page as this is information compiled by me but told by them. . SAVE- Please don’t just read this once and move on but save this as a resource to come back to and reread. . CHALLENGE- read and then reread and then comment a friend, an outdoor leader, sponsored athlete or brand you think would benefit from seeing this too. . Credit to @alisonmdesir @_lassosafroworld, @teresabaker11, @she_colorsnature, @courtneyahndesign, @katieboue @naturechola, @vasu_sojitra, @skynoire, @ava, @chescaleigh @guantesolo and ellen tozolo

A post shared by Pattie Gonia (@pattiegonia) on

Racial injustice is a huge issue in America, and is prevalent in every community here. The outdoors community is not exempt. People have put a lot of time an effort into compiling resources to making this world safe for Black people by educating white people on their passive and active roles in oppression.

One thing you can do to help is read, and understand these issues and the dire effects they have on our Black communities here, in America. I encourage you to create the time, and really listen and reflect.

I enjoyed learning about an experiencing Armenian culture and history, but now that I’m back I think it’s probably time that I tried to better understand American culture, history, and the implications of it.

Learning is a process, and I am not perfect. If you have authors and perspectives you think I should read or hear, feel free to send them my way.

Thank you for reading, and happy trails.


6 thoughts on “From Limbo, some good things

    1. I think, at face value, yes. Especially when it is comfortable and presented in a “palatable” way. People were willing to read about my time in Armenia, and the differences there. I think the differences at home can be harder for people, especially when your own lifestyle is implicated. On the other hand, and maybe this is a little naive, but I think a lot of people are intrinsically curious and open minded. I think mostly people want to understand each other, and just need to be given the time and resources to do so. I would not be the person I am today if someone had not been patient with me. I think that everyone is capable of understanding these issues and empathy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello there! Thank you for stopping by on my blog. You write so beautifully, and I love your sketches of the lakes. I’ve always wondered what being a Peace Corp volunteer was like, so you can bet I’ll be spending all that extra time indoors reading your Armenia essays.

    Thank you for sharing about these Black writers and their resources as well. I don’t live in America, but I’ve read about what’s going on and think it’s probably best for an outsider like me to hear from these Black voices themselves. Thank you for using your platform to do this.

    Take care in these crazy times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi thanks for reading! I really enjoyed reading about your travels and I love all of your photos, especially the food pics!

      Congratulations on graduating, and you take care as well.

      -Maddy

      Like

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