Tag Archives: autumn


It is my favorite season.

“I like your life here Skander.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Margaret and I were driving back from a perfect day of rock climbing in Mill Creek, and her observation, like her visit, helped flush away some of the chaos that I’ve been keeping at bay lately.  How do you describe a weekend that encompasses every conversation, every part of yourself, all of your past, all of your future?  Well, it was Friday noon through Tuesday morning, but everything is a lot.

Home grown tomatoes at the PEAS Farm

Margaret and I met at Northwestern while working to push sustainability into the engineering school agenda.  Her intelligence, tenacity, and unlimited joy were obvious from the start, but I never suspected how our friendship would grow.  After Northwestern, Margaret moved to Alaska and my subsequent expeditions were always bookended with homemade bread, midnight sunsets, and time with her and her amazing boyfriend in their cabin in Palmer.  We share common dreams for sustainable business, social services, and food systems.  We pursue common goals for introspection, self-enrichment, and service to others.  She was the last of my summer visitors this year, and early October celebrated her visit with clear skies and perfect temperatures to enjoy the best of Missoula.

Topping out one of Margaret’s first real rock climbs.

First Friday, climbing at Mill Creek, hiking on Mt. Jumbo, visits with farmers, were a perfect introduction to Missoula, but under all of it, the real highlight was in the conversation that never seemed to stop.  Margaret doesn’t mince words, pull punches, or let questions go unasked- and neither do I.  More than anything else, our friendship is rooted in a clear deep openness, and we didn’t waste the short time we had together.  The questions she is able to ask helped me verbalize some emotions that I haven’t been able to express, and to admit some feelings that I haven’t been able to face.  Some visitors I’ve had have made me wonder why I’m making life happen here, but showing Margaret around Missoula made me realize how well this place fits my life- or perhaps, how well my life fits my life, here.


Sunrise, September 1, 2012, Challis, Idaho. Music: Explosions In The Sky, Your Hand in Mine.

A few days ago I posted something on Facebook about seeing color in the leaves.  I was Jarbridge, Nevada (which is really much more like Idaho than what you would normally think of Nevada) last night and the air felt distinctly crisp.  Oh, and I drove through a full on hail storm to get there.  So yeah, fall is in the air, and that’s cool ‘cause it’s my favorite season and I’m on vacation, making a slow trip down to Yosemite National Park.  I’ve never climbed in Tuolomne, and my friend John is posted up there for the fall season in a joint venture between the AAC and National Park Service.  He and I had talked about meeting up, but I wasn’t sure it would happen until my idea to go to the Wind River range didn’t pan out.

Somewhere west of Rogerson, Idaho.

Really didn’t expect to find a post office…

Jarbridge is actually pretty well on the way, but getting  there takes quite a bit of doing.  My friend Linda (from my last adventure to Idaho) was headed into the Jarbridge Wilderness for a little solo backpacking, and we realized it would be fun to meet up in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t really feel like I needed a vacation, which meant it was the perfect time to take one.  As I’ve hinted before, I miss the roadlife.  While I certainly don’t feel settled in Missoula, my journey takes a different form there, and there’s a part of me that just loves living out of the back of my car and exploring as much new territory as I can.

The Jarbridge is worth the trip- I look forward to making it back here.

I’m very grateful for a little time with a friend I may not see again for a long time.  Goodbyes are hard.

My wanderlust does not bode well for my bank account, long term financial solvency, or ability to invest in community.  I don’t know what to make of this fact, but it’s the main thing on my mind.  Watching the seasons change in Missoula, and on the road, makes me realize I’ve been in Missoula most of a year already.  When every minute of life still counts for something, a year starts to feel like a long time.  I’m always excited about fall, and perhaps unlike most folks, I can’t wait for winter.

Just north of Deeth, Nevada. Just go be out in the world today.

I’m not sure what to make of all this.  I’m not anywhere near the financial position I was in when I left Portland, and I don’t feel like professional experience in Missoula is complete yet, let alone the fact that Missoula still has much to offer.  Sometimes it just feels like my head and my heart are in two different seasons of my life.  This is going to be a good week to feel the differences.