Alas my trusty companion failed me at the most inopportune time. No, not that companion (I could hear the proverbial cheering in the background from the naysayers upon reading that sentence – sorry…check back in fifty years folks) – I mean my Olympus 420, the little SLR that could. I love this baby. She's petite, sleek and takes the most beautiful pictures. But after 15 months of hard use – trips through the Wind Rivers, into the hills of Caribou in blinding snowstorms, up Mount Whitney, across the wilds of Ireland and along the Coastal Range of central California…well, she's tired. Needs a cleaning, more than I can give her. Dropped her off at Mikes Camera and hope to have her back soon, but likely not soon enough, for the leaves are spectacular right now and the autumn colors, while waning, are still precious. I'm a bit of a camera snob. Truth be told, I hate how most little digital cameras wash out the entire sky. Maybe it's the journalist training that I've had, but I kind of feel like going in and manipulating this stuff is cheating. But I also dislike the stark white and unmoving sky. So I've been researching some cameras that might be better, but they cost money, and that's not something Elaine and I are dancing in. Maybe eventually, but not right now.
No matter. We went for a walk yesterday. Elaine and Stella and I rambled along the old train line, behind the ranch in a sea of late fall bliss. A place to go to make big decisions like the one facing us yesterday. This is not an entirely new area for me. I wrote about it in a post once, way before the typepad days, on offcamber.com back in 2000 called "Behind the Lines." As part of the idiocy of my attempt last year on September 19th, well, I also ended up deleting, permanently, all the old Off Camber posts. Literally archives of stuff – tons of passion and beauty – obliterated. I think…I didn't want a remnant of myself left. Wanted to erase it all. That was the mindset I was in. I wanted to wipe my slate off the face of the planet.
I regret deleting those posts now. There was much beauty in them, much inspiration. And truthfully, it was more than myself I wiped out. It was the colective energy of a clan.
This blog is more individual now. That clan is gone. In fact, I'd almost say more than gone. When I see the old pilots, the drill is always the same. The angry glance, yet never the guts to actually say anything to me, to ask my side of the story. Got it in Backcountry Pizza the other day from one of the crew while my wife and I were eating a pizza and doing a puzzle together. At Whole Foods earlier in the year. One time, on a ski last winter at the tunnel, I was getting ready to go for a long trek into the backcountry and noticed the Trek car parked next to me – pilots galore in that vehicle. Folks I suffered with in the woods, skied with, biked with for years – and not one of them got out of the car to say hello. The funny thing is, none of them has ever had the guts to ask me my perspective. The silence has been defening. Sometimes, in my darker moments, I think about blowing up the whole truth. After all I know better than anybody the indiscretions of the pilots and honestly a lot of these actions make my little episode seem, well, kind of trivial. But no, that's not energy well placed, and negativity only begets negativity. So I will stay silent and let the veneer of perfection remain intact. Energy must be channeled to better places. Floyd I will be not.
I write for myself now. Well, not exactly myself. My new family too. It's my love, and now it's what matters. I've learned a lot about the character of people in the past 15 months, and I can't say I like everything I've learned. But then, I've also learned that there are people who are beyond genuine, who not only talk the talk but decide to take steps in it as well (and I will not name you either because you may not want that kind of recognition – you know who you are). For these lessons, I am beyond blessed.
A lot of the past got obliterated. Not the memories of course, but the archives. Time to make new archives, trusty camera by my side or not. The sun rises in 52 minutes. It's time to put on the bike clothes, pump up the tires, ride the bike and wash the world clean.