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.
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
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, writer and academic
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.
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.