August 25, 2004


I fixed a few issues with the Photolog templates, so things should look much nicer. It’s still missing basic functionality like previous, next and back buttons, but I’ve already had my fill in dealing with Movable Type for the week. I’ve also got a number of photos that chronicle the last six months, and as soon as I finish up with their processing I’ll toss them up.

Our weather has been fairly miserable the last few days, at least by Bend standards for August. A week ago we were still slammin’ forward with endless sunshine, 90° days and 60° nights, but everything turned last Thursday evening during our hailstorm bouldering session. Since then we’ve been been having clouds, wind and spitting rain during the day, and at night the temperature had been dropping into the mid 40s. It’s August. I’m wearing long pants and running the heater at night. It reminds me of living in Duluth, which shows just how crappy the weather really is in that town. Lovingly crappy, or Crappily lovely, depending on how you take it.

But then, I need bad weather. I experienced the same burnout last summer in Hood River, where I existed under gorgeous skies for three solid months, became a meadhead and cooked my brain. Nice weather presents a perfect opportunity to run around outside and screw off, but when the good times never stop you never get an opportunity to pause and reflect.

One thing about Duluth is that it offered plenty of time for personal reflection, perhaps too much time, as some people are prone to allowing their reflection turn to brooding, fretting, or other mental games that are conducive to misery. One thing about biking, climbing and other intense outdoors activities is that they definitely keep the mind occupied, and conveniently sidestep the existential quandries that dog an idle mind.

When you slip off a log and smack hard into a pine tree, the questions of whether or not you’re making a difference in the world, or whether or not you might be happier doing something else, don’t find themselves too difficult to resolve. Difference? Of course you’re making a difference. As soon as you can move your arm again you’re gonna make this tree sorry it ever tasted the sky. Happier? Of course you’d be happier doing something else. Biking on logs is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had in your life. As soon as you get home you’re gonna sell the bike and never leave the house again. The neighborhood has plenty of stray cats. You could eat for months.

The insta-answers are fed by adrenaline and their initial appeal doesn’t last forever, but the clarity of resolve is refreshing at times where you find your brain suffocating itself. Too much action without reflection, however, and the knee-jerk emotional responses start becoming the norm, and the ability to find yourself rationally from one end of the world to the other fades and becomes increasingly difficult.

All in all, a balance must be sought between action and reflection, emotion and reason, and that balance must be respected. Thus, even though it is an August night and I find myself layering hemp sweaters, I am thankful for this breather from insanity.

Damn B! You always manage to say what I’m thinking/feeling. I’m going to have to start reading your blog to predict how I’m going to feel.