Still Life by Aaron Schultz I want a switch, a giant circuit breaker Grab handle with both hands, throw it up Break the circuit, break the seizure Stop the pain, stop the shock Restart the heart, keep my daughter from this brutal callousness called normal This is not the world I’ve worked to create This is not the world I’ve…
Muddy Face and Hands
Since it’s Portland, my daughter and I played in the park on a rainy day. Of course, she wanted to go on the slide and pick up chunks of mud to eat. I kept redirecting her to the mud puddles so she could jump jump splash splash instead. Until parenting, I thought about mess as something to be avoided, unless…
How to Climb a Mountain
How to Climb a Mountain: Walk with me a moment. Winter. Pre-dawn. Climbing a mountain, looming grey silhouette on pinpricked black. A bootpack. Left foot. Right foot. Check breath. Check technique. Check posture. Repeat. Each step, a choice. Each breath, a lesson.
Nightmares and Preexisting Conditions
Breakdown Fifteen years ago, I had a nervous breakdown. Rooted in depression and anxiety, breakdowns shift one’s perspective from bad dream to nightmare and wasn’t my first, or my last. I was thirty feet up a ladder working on a house and sobbing so hard, I could barely climb down.
Not Enough Whiskey. Pyre for Dog.
Not Enough Whiskey. Funeral Pyre. July 4th, 2016. 4 AM two days ago, Winter, my dog, died. After coming home and passing out for a few hours, Jennifer and I sat in the living room. Simultaneously, we look at each other and say, “I can’t be here.” I call our favorite cabins on the Oregon coast, cabins we have…
Our Suffering Imagination
Seneca, a roman philosopher, once wrote that “we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” I enjoy the rhetorical work of the word “imagination.” I also appreciate the Stoics’ philosophical similarities to mindfulness and Buddhism.
The Injustice of American Healthcare
Objects Are More Important Than People “Of all the form of inequity, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane,” Martin Luther King said 50 years ago. Healthcare is not a privilege. It is a right. Speak up. Don’t be a bystander. Despite spending the most per-capita on healthcare, the USA shows the lowest life expectancy and highest infant…
Repeal of the ACA Obamacare
Many people are sharing their stories of how the repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act, otherwise know as “Obamacare”) would impact them through the denial of services because of pre-existing conditions. Here’s my story.
Snowboarding Dawn Patrol
Trail Report. Dawn Patrol. Teton Pass. Wyoming. The ritual starts the night before by packing your pack, which if you’ve had a good winter is packed already and just needs replenishment. Water. Powerbar. Apple. Chocolate. Layers. Headlamp. First aid kit. Lighter. Multi-tool. Eyewear. Avalanche kit: probe, shovel, beacon, inclinometer. Optional small thermos for coffee on the summit. Keep pack light,…
Trail Report-Being Prey I
Being Prey. Mile Twenty-Four. Lightening jukes and strikes far down the canyon, moving away, out over the valley. I hike through a light rain, blowback from the hot day. My legs and feet are numb and heavy. I am one mile from the Spanish Peaks trailhead—one mile from the truck, flip-flops, and beer—and fifteen minutes from absolute darkness. I am…