The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven-
All's right with the world.

Robert Browning
Spring Song

Two years to the day before he resigned his big chair in the Pantheon, panamaus wrote a daylog with the message "Expand your circle", and that's a piece of advice that I've never forgotten.

A year ago, when I was struggling with everything, I read "When in doubt, choose wings not shoes", and that kind of thinking has turned my whole life around.

On a recent poll that asked "What keeps bringing you back to E2?", I was the one solitary person to respond "I want to make friends here". More than three years since I first discovered this wonderful tribe of brilliant savages, and I still feel like a wallflower.

Yesterday, for the first time, I decided to swallow my impossible shyness and made plans to crash the big 4th of July gathering. This will be my first field encounter with actual noders in real reality.

I'm terrified, naturally. In a good way, though. A good way. One might say "terribly excited." I am so looking forward to meeting ccunning, karma debt and everyone who will be there.

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

e.e. cummings

Sorry for the sketchy sentence fragments. This is the first thing I've sat down and written in months-- except for the odd journal entry of the spiral-bound variety, which doesn't count since no one can see them but me-- and I feel rusty as hell.

A couple of years ago, thanks almost entirely to you guys, I felt like I was finally getting a handle on this "writing" thing. Now, after a long stretch of distracted decline, and with the ever-lovin' bar creeping upward all the while, I feel like I'm smack back at word one again.

"Who's on first,
What's on second,
I Don't Know's on third--"

"That's what I'm tryin' to find out!"

Abbott and Costello

Yesterday, for the first time, I had jp add my name to EMAR, and thus connected with a clink of cold finality the person I want to be (my wispy anonymous dramatic persona) with the person I actually am (picture in my god-damn high school yearbook).

Even the address itself is a first for me. At age 23, this is my first apartment-- the one I'll be telling my bored grandkids about, someday-- up on Round Hill in Waterford, MI surrounded by beautiful Michigan forests and lakes now full of melting snow. 2005 will be my first year living on my own. Free as a bird, and all that jazz.

i thank you god for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

Cummings again

And just to drop one more big fat announcement before I go...

Today, I've finally crystallized an idea for what I'll likely be doing in 2006: I'm going to take a walk.

Yep.

Today, on my lunch-break from my boring tech job, I sent thirty U.S. dollars to the Appalachian Trail Conference for an official overview map of the AT and a copy of Trail Guide #111, the trailbook covering the first 235 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the Great Smoky Mountains.

You can probably guess where I'm heading with this, but that's just the bare beginnings. The full plan, as it exists only in my crazed imaginings, is to set my affairs in order and wave goodbye to the grid completely, thru-hiking the AT in the spring, from Springer to Katahdin, and then-- and then!-- as a geographical bookend, riding the Trans-Can railway 3000 miles across the wide back of Canada, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail down from the north end in the fall.

Nearly nobody hikes the PCT north-to-south, and there are probably only a few dozen people on Earth who have walked the AT and PCT back-to-back. According to the PCTA, fewer people have thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail than have ascended Mt. Everest. I like that.

Of course, I doubt I'd be able to make it all the way to Mexico that year. Even I know that trying to hike the high Sierras with winter coming on would be a recipe for disaster. But I could always winter-over in Oregon. I was born there, after all.

Much much more on this later, I can pretty much guarantee.

Come on out
Don't just sit there catatonic
I'm feeling supersonic
A warm wind is sweeping by
The sun's full in the sky
And there's no way of knowing,
Knowing,
No way to know
How long it will last

The Gandharvas
First Day of Spring