off the beaten track: hwy 220 and side roads, virginia and west virginia

the morning we woke at wattsull, I embraced intuition's course: we checked the map and settled on 220 north, raleigh into west virginia. turned out to be one of the more extraordinary stretches of highway this well-travelled artist has had the honor of surveying

note: we travelled 350 miles as the crow flies before we reached berkeley springs, wv for the night, but put more than 800 miles on the truck. i took a lot of side roads, but I didn't take as many photos as I had previously. didn't seem right

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virginia interlude: mountaintop motel, arcadia, va

I hope that you like it in your little motel
And I hope that the suite sleeps and suits you well
Well, I can see it as time and a sight through smell, and
That's why it's nice to be by yourself

--modest mouse, we were dead before the ship even sank

~~~

we arrived at Wattsull Inn just as the sun slipped behind the mountain ridge opposite.

 

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in the pause before that much-needed shower+shave, we enjoy what remains of the day over leftovers, 151 rum+cherry coke

not shown: dinner in my lap; partially shown: the boze, certain what's mine is also his

not shown: dinner in my lap; partially shown: the boze, certain what's mine is also his

instagram friends know well that the boze is an accomplished artist in his own right. ordinally, his work is bone drawings on floors. this evening, he flattered me with a private viewing: concerto no. 1: virginia moutainside sunset revery, with stick

destroying the instrument at the concert's close: a poignant commentary on the futility of any striving in the face of an indifferent, chaotic universe

destroying the instrument at the concert's close: a poignant commentary on the futility of any striving in the face of an indifferent, chaotic universe

after the performance: reviewing notes

after the performance: reviewing notes

repose: artistic satisfaction

repose: artistic satisfaction

was that at good for you as it was for me?

was that at good for you as it was for me?

motel moonrise

motel moonrise

the comet that wasn't (look closely)

the comet that wasn't (look closely)

sleep, as it had been from our departure more than a week ago, was broken by troubling dreams. 

Wattsull's continental breakfast was shrink-wrapped and preservative soaked-- not, in fact, continental.

But this was happening behind the motel:

good morning, arcadia

good morning, arcadia

we'd intended to stay a few more days, but the motel wifi was congested/impotent and, more importantly, the itch to travel moved us forward

blue ridge parkway, north carolina: kitty's first-ever night camping

the boze was a veteran camper by month six; the crone, conversely, has kept lonely vigil whilst the bear, the princess, and I adventured the hell out of the pacific northwest.

leaving her with friends indefinitely would've consigned her to heartbreak and a lonely death; better to risk death by predator on the road with her beloved maitreyapunk than death in some vet's office chaperoned by a well-meaning stranger.

hey. that's our tent.

hey. that's our tent.

the boze, with leg

the boze, with leg

the crone, immobilized by the power of 'harness,' glares spiteful daggers at the boze, whom is surely to blame for the indignation of this 'camping' horseshit

the crone, immobilized by the power of 'harness,' glares spiteful daggers at the boze, whom is surely to blame for the indignation of this 'camping' horseshit

reconsidering

reconsidering

yeah, this isn't so bad

yeah, this isn't so bad

the matter of your narrator's reliability

a confession: the record of my journey you have seen thus far? each post was made at least ten days after we experienced it.

sorry. I've felt like keeping these to myself for a while, sitting with them, rather than running my mouth off, as has previously been my want.

~~~

when approaching any text, show, image, etc., one should always question the narrator's reliability. can we trust what is being told/shown? in what ways? is the narrator disclosing fully or partly? honestly? or with the intent to mislead? does the text/show/image maintain it's truth, knowing our narrator is unreliable? is its poetry still valid and compelling? or does the narrator's unreliability bring the entire matter into dubious question?

blue ridge parkway, days one and two: the mountains of north carolina and virginia

few friends know: while my drawing and painting has always been figurative, in truth I've longed to be a landscape painter.

problems inherent with conveying mountain majesties:

1-- scale of reproduced image is woefully inadequate

2-- focus of any image is a fraction of human bicameral vision

nevertheless...

highlights from our two days on the 'inspirational' blue ridge parkway, in no particular order:

don't assume for a moment dog's don't experience awe

don't assume for a moment dog's don't experience awe

(sincere apologies to my dear friend in charleston, sc:

1-- apologies for not representing our visit on the blog. I chose to keep it private

2-- apologies for the brevity of our stay; my soul called urgently for the road

saving my seat

saving my seat

sketching: loganville, ga

at ease and nourished by family love, my drawing, after six stumbling years, restored itself.

(apologies for the dim/shit lighting. I've never been great at shooting my art. as I improve, I'll reshoot and repost.)

loganville, ga: lake lanier, labor day

showing the boze how it's done in ga

showing the boze how it's done in ga

you can't haz

you can't haz

water, the boze and his cousins: for the dog, there isn't much better

water, the boze and his cousins: for the dog, there isn't much better

stalking-- perhaps a little too wolfish?

stalking-- perhaps a little too wolfish?

'i can't eat him, right?'

'i can't eat him, right?'

the one that got away

the one that got away

there's always next time

there's always next time

you can take the boze out of georgia, but you can't take the red clay out of the boze

you can take the boze out of georgia, but you can't take the red clay out of the boze

loganville, ga: dirt dike baby, labor day weekend

my jackassery will get me grounded in thirty seconds

my jackassery will get me grounded in thirty seconds

who wants to dismay some PDX parents??

who wants to dismay some PDX parents??

bye-bye!

bye-bye!

he's jammed real tight between those legs, right? (no seat belts/helmets)

he's jammed real tight between those legs, right? (no seat belts/helmets)

not that they needed the push, but a good mom always helps

not that they needed the push, but a good mom always helps

proud of her boys

proud of her boys

the indignation of a sunday night bath is by far greater than that of being grounded

the indignation of a sunday night bath is by far greater than that of being grounded

final sunrise, lake kegonsa

summer spent recovering from existential injuries

in a rotting lakefront cottage

in the middle of nowhere

on the outskirts of an ubran nowhere

safe but never safe for long

the dog, wisely in his youth, waking me just in time

for every sunrise

each not-to-be-missed

and the only thing

truly

I regret leaving behind

never coming home again...

there came a point in life where, after everything unravelled, it became clear there was nothing left to say to anyone involved in the drama. words flow endlessly numerous from the lips and fingers of humans-- only thoughts themselves are more numerous as human constructs go. words are inherently problematic. they change little. persuasion is either a dead art or was never as relevant in motivating an author's preferred outcome as my fourth grade three-paragraph essay writing instruction would have had me believe. even more disappointing: americans-- at least those suburbanites and urbanites, family and friends, populating my sphere of community-- too often fail to ensure their deeds correspond with at least modicum of consistency to their pledges.

carelessness dominates the culture-- or at least my contemporary frame of reference: PDX/MSN/ORD suburbs + cities. I have, until the last 18 months, been extremely culpable of this failing myself. even more frustratingly: as I've worked to strengthen my character, more consistently tying word to deed, measuring my deeds and their influences more carefully, and imposing on others less and less, I find that my deeds' outcomes not only fail to improve, but worsen.

my life didn't work. at all. I strived to commit myself to the operational 'shoulds' our culture and my family and friends suggested I adhere to and advance. an honors student, I was held to be an achiever, a paragon of excellence in all concerns. an artist and writer, I was held to be an innovator, an 'outside of the box' thinker. charming, kind, playful and generous, I was held in esteem by my friends. but none of these roles fit me well-- and so I failed to deliver excellence, no amount of unconventional thought freed me, and regardless of my social virtues, the instability in my professional, personal, and emotional life-- and my pronedness, engendered by a family culture of the same, to 'crowd-source' my crises made me a burdensome and undesirable friend-- and cost me many friendships and stained bitterly those that remain.

lets not even begin to describe the heartbreak I continue to suffer daily in the wake of my divorce-- from a man for whom what I feel cannot be adequately described by the word 'love,' regardless of my friends' and family's reasonable-after-all-our-bullshit strongly held misgivings about us ever being together again.

life imploded/exploded. by and large, I made that happen-- on my fortieth birthday, more than a year ago, I set matters in motion that would, ultimately, level all things, severe all ties, inner and exterior, to toxins, and free me, naked and raw and totally alone, to face the world anew and see if, somehow, I could be reborn. this is no tragedy; I made this choice. I made this choice because it was kinder to all involved than suicide; rather than kill myself, I killed my life-- one role, one dysfunctional pattern (behavior/interpretation) at a time.

we too often fail to see it: Nature, in her inestimable wisdom, understands that true metamorphosis in the context of evolution (the fundamental principal of all things) requires catastrophic apocalypse. what we see as a sorry and unfortunate calamity bringing each of the last five great life epochs to a close via some sudden shift in the biome's survivability, bringing the vast majority of species to their ends simultaneously, nature understands as a necessary and radical paring down of the genome. happy, fit, thriving, homeostatic organisms do not evolve-- they have no cause to. it is only when the organism is faced with radical extinction that the organism must make a choice: utterly final death, or terrifying transformation from the ground up. in apocalypse, Nature forces not one organism to transform, but the entirety of the genome itself. in each instance of the phoenix rising from the gone epoch's ashes, the genome learns from its prior failures (giant lizards= bad idea) but also increases, nearly parabolically, the rate at which it attains what we in our ignorance claim to be 'higher' organisms-- such as, supposedly, ourselves.

I made Nature's choice: self-apocalypse.

I'd tried a more gentle alternative: break down all that remained of my life in PDX, relocate to MSN to recover on a beach house near my family, and try to build a new life in my former home, ORD. ultimately, the best laid plans amount to nothing: everyone I involved in the story, no matter how many years had elapsed since our last authentic interactions, were not only fundamentally unchanged, but, if such a thing is even possible, even more of themselves than they were before. I had changed, but (a) no one cared to recognize it and (b) even if they had, my changes bore no impact on their treatment of me. 

nothing we do, ultimately, has any bearing on the actions and interpretations of others. each of us is accountable to herself; your shit, fortunately and unfortunately, is not my shit, and vice versa. and so it has been, and so it is, and shall be-- and that it was/is/will-be is, in fact, the correct order of things.

when the company in ORD I'd been invited to start turned out to be either a con or a poorly realized pipe dream sustained on no small degree of bullshit, and when those in MSN who offered their support reverted to their traditional antagonisms, the course was clear.

I had no reason to stay. anywhere.

I left immediately.

my one-and-a-half year old husky-malamute, maxwell, and my seventeen-year-old ailing tabby, sarah, and I crated our things, shipped them to a friend, and hit the road. never to return to where I'd come from, never to fall prey to the false comforts of nostaglia, never to be seduced by the 'shoulds' that assure outcomes that they never deliver.

we travel now, alone. we camp. we go to small towns. we enjoy solitude when we have it, and we enjoy witnessing something cities and suburbs are too trapped in their own myth structures and poisoned by industrial uniformity of selves to appreciate: the least of us, who have the least, and do more what with little they have than what most of us do with all the abundance of plastic crap we have in the entirety of our brief and meaningless lives on this planet.

apocalypse now.

I stand as a witness: to myself, to the wild, and to the real people I encounter.

I would like to be transformed by all this, but I find 'intention' and 'purpose' never bear out what is hoped for; now, I relegate myself to intuition, turn away from the brain and its so-called 'reason,' and embrace the supra-rational, wordless wisdom of organs we assume perform only metabolic functions-- and so are deaf to the fact that these, too, are perceptual organs: the heart and the gut, which is also known as 'the enteric brain.' and I chose, moment by moment, to eschew expectation and intention, and accept wholly whatever is in the moment, without precondition nor judgment.

like my teenage hero, dan eldon, for me, the journey itself is the destination. day by day, I make no 'rational' choice about 'where' to arrive by day's end. I look at my atlas (never my iPhone-- infuriating trash), ask myself which road seems to call for travel today, and let my heart and gut answer. as we travel, should heart and gut ask for a course correction, I make it.

along the way, I draw, paint, and take copious photographs.

regardless of my suffering, I find hope and beauty in the world. I want to see as much of it as I can, share as much of it as I can. beyond that, for now, I know not what else to do.

my heart and enteric brain demand this action as a response to the preceding events. reason before has failed to deliver positive outcomes with any reliability and consistency; rather than stubbornly persist in one failed reasoned action after another, allowing the scant successes I do have to prove the rule, I'm choosing a different path entirely: trust the heart and gut. 

at this point, I have nothing else to lose.

for this journey, I've cut direct contact to those closest to me. they, like you, have access to me here. everyone knows the same exact things about my journey. no one person is privvy to more than others; thus, there are no secrets to hide, no confidences to maintain, no games I inadvertently force loved ones to play with each other so that I might enjoy a false sense of security. this is not a permanent condition: contact will resume in time. but I need time, first.

this journey, despite it's seeming bitterness and nihilism, is, as you will see, fundamentally a journey of love into love. I seek not the rigidity of fact-- light reflecting off the surface of things merely-- but the intimacy of poetry-- of the imagination and intuition's impossible-to-explain ability to to 'know' the depths within all things.