The Gap

I stood at the cliff face afraid to look down. I expected that I would see an unfathomable void; a bottomless pit with no equal. I expected that I would stare into its depths and know some form of nihilistic terror. I expected that if I looked I would lose my nerve.

I did glance down. I couldn’t help myself. It was an involuntary reaction, almost instinctual in feel. It confused me. There was the bottom, almost more visible than the back of my own outstretched hands. I could gather up all the details in my mind and piece it into a concrete reality. It seemed wholly mundane, and yet it terrified me. Probably more than that bottomless pit, it dropped the floor of my stomach until it mirrored those expectations.

I could feel the actuality of that ground nearly drag me over the edge. There was a comfort in that bottomless pit. A reassurance that if I stepped back and walked away I would be justified. Now I would just seem like a coward. That known quantity carried with it a burdensome expectation. Under such conditions a logical person would act, and I am a logical person. Right?

I couldn’t do it. Well, more accurately I could have, but I did not. The pressure felt too great and the stakes too high, so I folded and walked away. There was no one there to judge me but I could handle that myself.

Maybe in time I will build a bridge.



Day 15 – The Bully

I’ve grown sluggish. I would have been prepared before but I wasn’t this time. I don’t know if you could even call it an ambush with the leisurely, telegraphed approach he took. I was too distracted. Too comfortable. It was easier to pretend that I was safe. He didn’t even bother hiding.

I defended myself but I was too cowardly. I fled when I could have stood my ground: Stared deep into his glare and howled in turn. I would have been swept up again into that cycle. But which is better, to be bold or meek? Either way I didn’t stand a chance. I thought I did. I stared back, but when his gaze did not falter mine did. So I ran. Surrounded by a sea of good, strong people I ran. In that moment I prefered solitude to support.

Even though I was able to salvage the rest of today, even though I am comfortable and safe, I am still shaken. I still have work to do.


Day 14

I am starting to hesitate. The initial intention of this being a daily blog n0w seems short-sighted. It is extremely difficult to post something daily, and on days that I don’t have a particular desire to post I feel like the content then isn’t worthy of posting; that is too mundane. Does it detract from the overall quality? Is it worthwhile to give simple updates of positive days?

I don’t know, but it’s something I’ve been considering. My concern is that less frequency will be less habitual and that will lead to abandonment. But what if I burn myself out by posting when I am not in a creative mood? What if I burn anyone out there out with excessive, subpar content? Is the journalesque and more straight-forward content even worth doing? Maybe there is a middle ground. Perhaps a few times a week? I feel oddly attached to that “Day XX” title format, but that’s not really a good enough reason to stick to it.

I’ll have to consider it more.

Lost in a great ponder,


Day 13 – Tame

I can feel him out there. Wherever I am, he seems to also be. At home I feel like I catch little glimpses of him moving outside my window. At work I feel like he’s lingering off past the tree line, waiting. I don’t quite know what he’s waiting for.

Normally I would go try to shoo him off. We would start yelling and screaming and in the end I would be exhausted and knowing he would be back. It doesn’t seem worth my effort anymore. It’s not worth being angry at him. He’s broken. I am too, but in my own distinct ways. I wouldn’t be suprised to find him in the records at my job. A petulent kid, neglected for too long. Pushed away and never given the attention he needed.

Now he is grown. Oh how he has grown. I believed him to be a monster, but that discredits his own struggle. There is a portion of responsibility that exists outside him, that he can’t be held responsible for. So I let him lurk. I understand he means no harm. Like some wild creature he is gauging and testing. Perhaps within time he can be tamed.

Chair hoisted,


Day 12

It’s funny that the better I feel the less I feel the need to write. I suppose that’s “a thing.” Angst is good for creativity, eh.

Today was good. I attended a CPI training, which is our non-violent crisis intervention for my work in the case of a resident that’s a danger to themselves or others. I always enjoy those, because they actually have a ton of good information. They cover not only holds and various physical responses, but how to de-escalate situations and a whole method for categorizing how escalated youth are and the proper responses etc. It’s kind of old hat at this point for me, but a refresher is kind of nice. Plus I got to spend some time talking with some old co-workers.

It was held in the previous facility I worked at, which was much more high stress and bombastic than where I am now. I hated it while I was there, but coming back to it I kind of missed it. It’s been upgraded quite a bit in the 8+ months since I’ve been there, but it felt familiar. I missed some of the staff there especially. Then a resident made an inappropriate comment to a female co-worker about how much he loved the smell of tuna fish as she walked by. Didn’t miss it so much after that.

This is the first vacation that I returned to work actually feeling refreshed and rested. Although I’m extraordinarily tired now, so I think I’ll head off to bed.

In a fierce sleepiness,


Day 10/11 – The Fortress

There it was again. I had found it many times before, each time in a new location, but every discovery felt new. Here I was again. Standing in a clearing in the woods. Only it wasn’t in the clearing. It was far off in the underbrush, almost camouflaged, as if someone had placed it there in secret, as if I wasn’t meant to find it. I felt a little bitter at whoever had placed it; frustrated that they felt it needed hiding. It had taken a lot of determined meandering to find it again. It wasn’t the kind of thing that you could search for. It defied intention.

But here it was.

It was a thing of simple construction: Some sticks leaned on each other–supporting each other–lashed together and covered with brush. Yet in this simple construction it was magnificently inviting. It was a thing of beauty and practical craftsmanship. Although it was hidden in the dense underbrush, I could see what looked like deer trails leading off towards it. As I looked closely I could see a dozen or more trails, coursing outwards as rays from this fortress. I picked the closest one and followed it.

I walked this trail for several minutes. It was much longer than I expected. As I walked the adjacent trails seemed to fade off into the distance, leaving my singular lone trail. I felt as if I was the only one in this vast forest. I stopped for a drink of water but realized that I had dropped my pack in the clearing. I decided to leave it there.

When I arrived the fortress was empty. I stood for a moment, back hunched under the low ceiling like some grey wizard, before I sat. The floor was a simple dirt floor, blended with pine needles tracked in by someone’s shoes. I bent down, arms spread, and gathered up the dirt and needles and formed and packed them into a bed. It held strong in the middle of the fortress. I lay down and slept.

I slept most of that day before returning home to finish the things I needed to do. Today I feel rested. It is my first day back to work from vacation. A great dread started yesterday, but I was able to lay it to rest. Today I feel well.

In wellness,


Day 9

Well, my predictions turned out to be correct. Today was a very relaxing day. Got some much needed time with the misses, drove down to Brookings and ate some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Found out the hard way that unripe figs make your tongue all prickly and numb. Hand picked some blueberries at a u-pick place. Only felt anxious once and it quickly passed.

A very relaxing day indeed.

On another positive note, I think I’ve finally figured out a great bloody mary recipe that I can make at home.



Day 8

I missed a day.

It was lost into some kind of black hole. I had full intentions and plans to post, but I didn’t. I actually thought I did. It was a very relaxing day at least, full of lounging and grocery shopping. I suppose it’s inevitable to miss one here and there, but I’ll play make-up anyways.

Today is shaping up to be a very relaxing day as well. We’re taking a day trip south down the coast and driving until we decide to head back. That’s my favorite kind of trip: Aimless, meandering, without pressure. I have never understood itineraries and timelines when it comes to relaxing. It seems counterintuitive.

So off we drive.

The wanderer,


Day 7 – The Fork

The bucket was so heavy I doubted if I could carry it all the way. But he asked for it, in his demanding kind of way. So I carried it. I glanced inside as I stumbled and I could see it churning with every step. Like a glass of water on the dashboard of a garish Jeep: A portent of destruction. I could hear him bellow, still distant as I travelled.

Suddenly I felt something. I stopped at a fork in the road, ears perked in a canine vigilance. There was a new path here; one I hadn’t noticed before. Compared to the well-worn path I was previously stumbling along, this one was wild and natural. I might not have noticed it if I hadn’t stopped to look.

But I felt something. So I stopped.

My old path seemed less appealing. Even though the trail was worn wide and smooth by years of trampling feet, it seemed in its way to be more arduous. The sun beat down on this open highway, exposed and broad and exhausting. The side-path was overgrown and wild, but cool and comforting. It lay prostrate, summoning me. I glanced down at my bucket and stared into its deep crimson depths. With a great determination and impatience I dumped its contents onto the highway. It flowed out in great cascades over the road, like runoff after a great storm. As it emptied I could feel it lighten, nearly lifting me up like a great helium balloon when it was finished. It pooled and flooded and eroded that old path. I turned, not interested to see the final aftermath, and walked down the wild, natural trail.

As I walked that trail I was suddenly aware of how empty my bucket was. I had emptied it before–emptied it to him–but it always refilled on its own accord. As I walked, I filled it with huckleberries and salmonberries and filberts and all kinds of good things from the trail. I ate from it almost as quickly as I could fill it and it never burdened me.

Soon I could see the end of the trail. It opened into a great clearing with a creek running through it. There was a man, and he was naked. He sat across the creek from me and seemed to be joyously lost in thought. He did not acknowledge me. I thought I may have recognized him, but in the open without all of the common clutter and detritis I could not say for sure. He seemed as alien as he was familiar, but I felt connected to him. I looked down at my bucket, filled with my gathering, and set it on my side of the creek and walked away.

Even as I passed the fork in the road I still did not look back. It was not until I was home and standing at my doorstep that I glanced over my shoulder. I could hear him bellow, but he suddenly felt small.

With a sense of discovery,


Day 6 – The Chance Encounter

I saw him. It was for the first time that I felt like I really saw him.

I ran at him. I had no real plan but I knew it would be furious. As I approached him, with a fervor at full tilt, we met eye to eye and I saw him. For the first time I felt like I had a clear picture. Time froze as I took my snapshot and analyzed it. I zoomed, enhanced, like some cheesy cop drama, and finally understood what I was looking at.

I realized for the first time that we were not so different. That he was merely existing. In some twisted way he thought that he was helping me. Even though he gathered no feedback and studied no effects he charged forward with a naive benevolance to control me. I thought at first I felt pity but I quickly understood it to be empathy. We were not so different. In that moment we felt the same.

So I walked away.

I knew he would be back. I knew that he was not done, but in that moment he would not control me.

I had better things to do today.

Still walking,