Well, the summer has ended and I can’t believe how quickly it went. Overall, it was one of the best and most memorable summers of my life. I became a better guide, a better worker and, I like to think, a better friend. Now I sit in snowy Bozeman and keep looking forward, but every now and then a moment from the river replays in my head and I end up smiling.
At the end of the season, I had the good fortune of going on two play trips with my peers. Play trips are like raft guide benefits. They’re the time to take what you’ve learned, push your skill level, see a new river and let loose a bit. It is the ultimate perk and like Dani said, the best bonus we could ever receive for a season of work is to be lent a boat (specifically the KILLZONE) to take down the river.
The first trip was a week long expedition on the Main Salmon River (also known as the river of no return) in Idaho. Surrounded by wilderness, it was the ultimate get away. We slept on sandy beaches every night under clear skies that had even more stars than I’ve seen in Montana, which is saying a lot. The water was great, the hotsprings was awesome and the people were just amazing.
The second was Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River, also in Idaho. Because it is a dam release section of the river, the level was nice and high. The wave trains put roller coasters to shame, and I went through some of my favorite rapids of my rafting career thus far. Even though it was a short trip, spending only three days on the riv, the scenery, the water and the people made every second count.
Each of those trips deserve their own blog post… and maybe I’ll get on that…
But now the rafting season is done and with snowflakes always hanging in the air, I prepare for the next months of my life. Every now and then life offers us a respite from the race and a chance to rotate our tires (or switch them up), fill up our tank and replace our wipers. It even allows us a chance to get the map out of the glove compartment and plan the next section of the trip. Unemployment and several weeks of waiting to hear back from various opportunities has given me such a break, and I have been enjoying it. I fill my time with endeavors that are “intrinsically gratifying,” as my friend Lizzie puts it. As always, practicing art fills a lot of hours, as does money making schemes that stay just that; schemes. I also spend time educating myself on practical matters of business and finance which, surprisingly, the English Lit program never covered.
Basically, the way I see it, I’m certainly not looking for a career at the moment (which works out great because I don’t think they’re looking for me either…) and I’m not looking for too much security or any commitments past the season in front of me. I’m looking to live inspired, actively and creatively.
About a year ago, a friend, Karl, was rapidly taken away. He has been on my mind lately and I remember the burst of passion for life that I gained from the stories and memories of his life. Karl found his own happiness, defined his own success and lived authentically. He was the type who woke up in the morning, randomly inspired to build a kitchen table, and by evening was sitting down to it for dinner (true story!). A year ago, his memorial made me really question what gives me the most passion, what I would like to be doing the most today. My table is Teest, a collective stuido space for all the Bozeman artists locked in their rooms attempting to work in an un-giving and distracting atmosphere. It has been an idea with me since 2008, and last year at this time, Karl inspired me to make it more than an idea. Now it is a plan, one that will continue to be a goal over the next few years. So, in my spare time, I continue to build upon it, so that when I do have money, everything will be ready!
And that, friends, is where I am at. I’m sorry this blog lost so much momentum but it does appear that, as Gardiner slips further into the past, I regain the brain cells to pursue more mindful activities. 🙂