I know what you’re thinking. I have been seriously neglecting this whole blogging thing. Big time. And I just want to say that I apologize for the long hiatus. But I can’t apologize for the things I have been doing with my time instead. These are some moments. They’re the snapshots that flash in front of my eyeballs before I fall asleep. They are the things I am extremely grateful to have witnessed and experienced. The good and the bad.
- Watching the sun set at Colorado National Monument. It was our first night camping out, and everyone was still smelly and exhausted from the ride. We found a spot that looked down into the canyon and about half of our team sat there to stare at the setting sun. Cindy, Adriel, and Ben sat at the ledge, casting picturesque shadows on stone. The guitar and ukulele played softly until the sun was completely obscured by the rock formations in front of us.
- Working with Habitat for Humanity in Salida and Montrose. We learned how to install windows, and worked with precision and resolve for the entire day.
- Crossing the Colorado-Utah border with Cindy and (leader) Michelle. We had been in Colorado for almost two weeks, and it had felt like home. Colorado had punished and nurtured us. It showed us what we were made of, and what we could accomplish. It introduced us to smells and colors and insights we had never experienced before. It was sad to leave, but it also felt like a natural progression. Like growing up. That day, Cindy received news that her grandfather had passed away. I didn’t know how to react, just like I didn’t know how to react to my own grandparent’s passing. Every once in a while, something like this flips back us back to actual life, threatening the simple and surreal bubble that we live in now.
- Building with, and learning from, affordable housing groups besides Habitat for Humanity. In Moab, we had the chance to spend a day with Community Rebuilds, an organization that promotes affordable housing through natural, green building materials. We learned about straw bale homes, which are an alternative to the standard homes that we have been constructing with Habitat. In Green River, our team had a build day with Epicenter, which is a resource center that promotes affordable housing and small businesses in the small Utah town. After a productive day with our build manager, Steph, we were rewarded with some delicious Indian food. Then, we loaded up a truck and van, and made our way down to the river. It was extremely muddy, like most rivers are, but this one also had fine sand the color of straw. Jagged rocks framed the backdrop. Michelle and I lay near the shore, bellies in the sand, and had a wonderful conversation. I got out of the water in time for the setting sun to dry me off. May and I played a couple of tunes on the ukulele while some of our teammates learned yoga positions and karate moves from our new Epicenter friends.
- Sitting on a big rock in Torrey, Utah, after Barbara and Bob graciously welcomed 31 hungry and smelly kids into their home. Rob joined me, and we watched the sun paint some amazing colors onto the landscape. Typically, it’s only been in private moments that I have felt so close to the earth. This was one of the first instances in a long time that I have experienced the clarity of solitude with a companion. The natural splendor around us asked for nothing more than for us to embrace its gifts.
- Riding with Grace as my sweep partner. We struggled the entire way, but managed to take several naps, have dance parties, and grunt our way to Salina. Somewhere along the way, we were attacked by bloodsucking leeches. Like I said, good and bad.
- Solo cycling to Delta, Utah. Clearing my mind and singing songs from Les Mis the whole way through.
- Finally crossing into Nevada today. We are currently staying in Baker, NV, a tiny but big-hearted town of 68 residents. It was so exciting to call my mom and know that we are finally in the same time zone!