Things that make me feel better in the fall

  • Staring at a brilliantly deep pink sunset
  • Listening to Vampire Weekend
  • Thermal pajamas
  • Pumpkin pie flavored ice cream
  • Washing my face with warm water
  • Oatmeal with honey
  • Driving through puddles of water
  • Wearing a bright orange Moonrise Kingdom inspired raincoat
  • Hiking up almost empty mountain trails
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炉人 (Rōnin)

Rōnin were samurai in feudal Japan who:

  • Were masterless
  • Wandered around
  • Used their martial skills to make a living
  • Lived by a code (bushido)

I think that’s my life. I think I’ve become a 21st Century rōnin.

  • I don’t have anyone instructing me anymore
  • I’m going on adventures, and planning a long term journey across America
  • Using my tech skills, living ‘hand to mouth’
  • I’m making good decisions, that are right for me

It’s a comforting thought. It reminds me what I’m about:

  • I’m okay on my own
  • I have to keep exploring
  • I’m strong and capable
  • I have high standards for myself to live up to

Good luck on your adventures

On Saturday I visited Snoqualmie Falls, and Twede’s Cafe in North Bend. Both locations are featured in Twin Peaks. They’re about an hour long drive from my place, so I had to go and check them out. The falls were cool, but a little touristy. The cherry pie at the cafe was divine, though the place was a little run down. I thought I was going to cry from grief for the characters in the show, but there wasn’t enough surrealism in the air. It just wasn’t dream-like.

I did cry over the characters as I was watching the show, and then a couple of times when I was driving home late at night, listening to the soundtrack. It happens sometimes, that I get that emotionally invested in fiction, but never quite so strongly as I did with Twin Peaks. Something about watching the town grieve for Laura Palmer, and seeing the murder of another character, connected with me in a way that other crime drama stories haven’t ever been able to. The fictional victim became a real person in that first episode.

So after visiting the waterfalls and the cafe, I decided to go hiking at a nearby mountain. The trail was steep and entirely made up of switchbacks to gain elevation. Most of the time I was sheltered by the surrounding Douglas fir trees. As a result I didn’t notice quite how high I had climbed. It’s only four miles up, but it’s a long four miles.

That gave me plenty of time to think. There were only a few other hikers, so I basically had the place to myself. I thought about relationships: friends here, friend in Australia, friendships with people at work. I thought about my life in America. That’s particularly difficult because I’m like a goldfish in the bowl right now, and I can’t see the water because I’m so entirely immersed in it.

At the summit, the wind had picked up. So I sat on two rocks which formed a kind of natural ‘L’ shape. I had back pressed against one rock, while I sat on the lower one. I put a hand on the edge of the lower rock, and kept a tight grip. The wind felt like it wanted to push me around, but was not strong enough to send me screaming off the mountain top. It’s unsettling to be in that situation. It’s uncomfortable and safe at the same time.

I chatted briefly with a nice lady as we were walking down. At the car park she said ‘Good luck on your adventures.’