Dream Big

For me, today would be incomplete without a brief nod to the fact that exactly nine years ago, on March 8, 2004, I started my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. It’s an anniversary I’ve noted before, and it continues to serve as a reminder to always set big goals.

Going through Mom’s stuff, I found a copy of the following poem, which once adorned the sidebar of my original Appalachian Trail webpage. That site has long since been re-absorbed into the aether of the Interwebs, but the poem is still poignant, especially given the recent passing of Mom. My mind’s been circling around these sort of thoughts a lot lately, and today it seems particularly appropriate to post this.

In more mundane news, I’ll be heading back to Seattle next week, ready for life to move on, even though things will never quite be the same. And the memory of the last few weeks, like the memory of the Appalachian Trail, will serve as an ever-present reminder to keep dreaming, and to keep setting those big goals.


Dream Big
Author Unknown

If ever there were a time to dare,
To make a difference,
To embark on something worth doing,
It is now.
Not for some grand cause, necessarily,
But for something that tugs at your heart
Something that’s your aspiration
Something that’s your dream

You owe it to yourself
To make each day here count.
Have fun.
Dig deep.

Dream big.

Know, though,
That things worth doing
Seldom come easy.
There will be good days
and there will be bad days
There will be times when
you want to turn around,
pack it up,
call it quits.
Those times tell you
That you are pushing yourself,
That you are not afraid to learn
by trying.


Because with an idea,
and the right tools,
you can do great things.
Let your instincts,
your intellect,
and your heart
guide you.


Believe in the incredible power
Of all the things that will cross your path.

The start of something new
Brings the hope of something great.
Anything is possible.
There is only one you,
And you will only pass this way once.

Do it right.

Nothing is Certain but Death and Paperwork

Thanks to everyone who posted good thoughts on my last blog entry. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, as we ricochet between the emotional side of death (memories; memorial services; reminiscing with family and friends) and the mundane side of death (getting papers in order, clearing out and selling the townhouse, wrapping up the estate). When you’re dealing with the mundane side, with the possessions and material goods accumulated in day-to-day life, and the bureaucracy of both government and large financial institutions, you simply can’t afford to be paralyzed by emotion. Even amidst so much turmoil, there’s still plenty of shit to do, and quite a lot of it.

But in turn, this means you need time to vent, to put aside the paperwork and focus on the important things– like the memories. (At least, that’s how it works for me.)

I’ve been coping the past couple of weeks by going through and scanning pictures from Mom’s scrapbooks. She kept detailed scrapbooks all throughout her life, and on top of that I’m pretty sure she never actually threw a picture away. We found a whole box with nothing but old negatives that I’m pretty sure had been sealed shut for twenty years.

In the process of going through photos, I put together a small retrospective, which in addition to being deeply emotional for me, I’m fairly pleased with from a creative perspective. It’s certainly not a comprehensive view of Mom’s life, but I think it does tell the core narrative, and the parts which were most important to her, especially the love she gave to family and friends.

This and the next couple blog entries will probably be overly emotional things, a way for me to vent so I can spend the bulk of my daylight hours dealing with banks, the IRS, the SSA, and any other 3-letter bureaucratic acronyms. The good news is, the end of the short-term work is in sight, and I hope in a week or so that I’ll be back in Seattle. Life will never quite be the same, but I’m looking forward to life going on, and seeing what new adventures will come.

In the meantime, a short little memorial video: