Published: “Why I Run”

Territory Run Co. out of Portland, Oregon, just printed a short piece I wrote called “Why I Run,” for a Spring 2016 collaboration package with Rucksack Coffee. 

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The short piece “Why I Run,” was inspired, in form, by Terry Tempest Williams’s “Why I Write,” something I’ve read at least fifty times myself and have shared with at least fifty others. Gold. The writing was included in a package offering from Territory Run Co, a unique, trail-wilderness-lifestyle company based out of Portland, Oregon, of which I’m an athlete-writer-ambassador. Along with the print journal, the package included apparel and a bag of rich coffee from Rucksack Coffee. Running and roasting. What else is there?

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Return to Todos Santos, Mexico

Ten beautiful days back in Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico, proved restorative, nostalgic, and productive. Photos + words.

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Todos Santos Music Festival. Death Cab for Cutie. Santa Cecilia. John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin. David Fricke from Rolling Stone Magazine. Dharma Talks. Todos Santos Writer’s Workshop. Cerritos surf. Late night music jam with old friends and family. Fish tacos, ceviche, everything covered in lime. And arroyo running. Lots of arroyo running. Todos Santos in Southern Baja remains one of my favorite spots on the planet. Great trip south of the border this time, packed with inspiring people and events.

A synchronized sunrise run was organized around the world by my running sponsor Territory Run Co. so a dear artist friend and I went out for a hunt.

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Jackrabbit crosses the path as we start up, start in, start out. A swerve left. A swerve right. Sandy paths, fishtailing feet. Go. Go. Go. The sun is making things pink over there, over in the Sierra. Hurry.

Down the arroyo. Technical. Watch that prickly stuff—ocotillo, pitaya dulce, torote, cardon. Baja wilds have teeth; they bite. Catch a toe, take a fall, and you bleed.

Go faster. Sun about to crest. That knife-edge ridge above the cactus canyon is where I want to be for sunrise. Cross a wide arroyo choked in sand. Common to see coyote here. None today.

A climb. Colin behind me with a long stride, a graceful gait, an adjunct art professor from Bennington College, Vermont. Solid man.

Climb. Climb. Climb. Up the ridge we make it, only to flare off a pair of white-dotted birds. Rustle in the bramble right of my ankle. Once saw a six-foot rattler here. Only the wind this time. Onshore, 25 mph today, Colin tells me.

We reach the ridge of awe. I smell torote peel, like cinnamon. There’s my heart beating. There’s warmth. There’s red. There’s orange. There’s that fiery reminder that all things in nature reset. Everyday. The sun rises, and us with it. Bees nearby, too, have risen to collect pollen by the pound next to us. Industrious bastards.

Awe. Reverence. Simplicity. Migration. I think of my home in Missoula where ice fringes everything. I recognize my privilege to be here in Todos Santos, Mexico. And I’m grateful to my core for this place, this moment, this friend, this sun.

We keep noticing. We keep attending. The great dawn helps us attune and attend with its shadow and easy light. We descend through hundred-year old cacti that look like stampeding elephant legs and return to van, to coffee, to family, to life.

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Published in Orion Magazine: “Murphys, California”

A short piece I wrote about my hometown is featured in the November/December 2015 issue of Orion Magazine

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Someone recently asked me: “If you were to be reincarnated as a magazine, what would you be?”

At first I thought I might be some mutant hybrid of the New Yorker, Adbusters, and Orion Magazine. But, let’s be real—Orion takes the cake.

I remember the first time I discovered this bimonthly magazine. Their tagline? Nature + Culture + Place. Yes, okay. Good. That was five years ago, while living and working in Portland, Oregon. The issue had wild flora art on the cover and some heavy-hitting writing inside, most of whom I had never read.

The publication was beautiful and it met my inquiries at that time. It was a period when both my writing practice and environmental inquiries were growing fast and needed food constantly. Books. People. Actions. Anything. I asked daily: how can we share edgy, honest stories and art that honestly portray the relationship between humans in their environment? And how do we make that beautiful? How do we make that head-swivelingly hip and interesting?

How do we feed awe?

Orion Magazine feeds awe. It’s my single favorite magazine right now, and a short piece of mine, “Murphys, California,” about my hometown, was just included in the section The Place Where you Live. If you don’t know this publication, head to your closest independent bookstore and pick up a copy today. They’re ad-free, deftly honest, and exquisite in their layout, content, and vision. It’s always a big day when a copy arrives in the mail, and I’m beyond honored to finally be part of their publication. Onwards.

In Photo: Silent Demonstration for Climate Action

On Monday, November 30th, the first day of the Paris COP21 climate negotiations, friend and fellow climate activist Will Genadek and I decided we’d join in on the people’s action.

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On the first day back from Thanksgiving Break, a friend and I decided to join in solidarity to the climate actions happening in Paris for COP21. Using sunup to sundown as our thresholds (10 hours, 7am-5pm) we sat in silence without any food, in the middle of the Oval at the University of Montana, Missoula. On the hour, we would walk the circular perimeter six times, to represent our planet’s six mass extinctions, the current one being triggered by us, humans.

The experience was heavy, difficult at times, sometimes boring, always frozen, and, in the end, absolutely beautiful. My toes are still waxy and red as it was 0 degrees Fahrenheit when we got up. The temperatures remained south of 15 degrees all day. Hundreds of students stopped to read our small leaflets. We chose to not have large signs or social media events or much planning. It was an experiment in spontaneous action from the heart.

We found that this actually disarmed a lot of people, made them come closer, made them engage. Some walked around the perimeter with us. Some told us we were crazy. Some thanked us. Some took photos, one of which somehow made it to the Congolese delegate at the Paris talks. Dogs ran into our laps and licked our faces. Small children would approach and ask: “Mommy, what are they doing?” We would wave; they waved back, smiling always.

These moments made me tear up, but then I thought tears might possibly freeze my eyelids shut so I held them back.

All day, I couldn’t stop thinking about the future. I listened to footsteps coming and going all day. Footsteps in, footsteps out. Thousands of footsteps. I thought about what kind of world our children are inheriting, what I’m leaving them with, what planet they’ll be walking into? With recent shootings in San Bernardino, California (ten minutes from my alma mater, the University of Redlands; I worked a mile from the massacre site) and more U.S. shootings than days of year in 2015, prayer is indeed powerful and necessary, but it’s not enough. We need to act, to demonstrate peace and restraint towards violence against ourselves and towards the planet. Now.

More words and actions to come. Here are some images from the day, by two wonderful photographers and powerful women, Alex Wardwell and Anna Schreck. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to keep going.

Let’s keep going.

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Photo: Anna Schreck

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Published: “The Art of Men’s Council Dinner”

My short piece “The Art of Men’s Council Dinner” was published on The Good Men Project, an online hub of articles/resources exploring masculinity in the 21st century. 

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For the past two years, Chris Reed, Trevien Stanger and I have congregated once a week, without missing a single one, for dinner and conversation. It basically all started by circling the wagons in 2013 over a recently acquired roadkill deer, which, as you might imagine, brought the three of us even closer.

This article “The Art of Men’s Council Dinner” was fun to write and recount, and the man dinners continue to this day. Even though Trevien Stanger moved back to Vermont, Chris and I still grab food and talk life once a week without fail (technically, our dinner quorum was two—at least 2/3 had to get together if in the same town that week.)

May the circle be unbroken!  

In Photo: The Circumambulation of Mount Tamalpais

A photo essay from organizing the 50th year anniversary circumambulation of Mount Tamalpais, after poets Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Philip Whalen made their historic walk in 1965.

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This past weekend, I organized the 50th year celebration of the circumambulation of Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco, California. On October 22, 1965, Beat poets Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Philip Whalen ceremonially walked around Mount Tamalpais to “open the mountain,” and pay respect to their local bioregion. The three stopped at 8 self-designed stations along this 14-mile loop to conduct prayer and mantra.

Since the historic circumambulation, a dedicated group from the area have done this ritual walk every solstice and equinox, starting and finishing at Muir Woods National Monument. The leader of the tradition, Matthew Davis, (co-author of Opening the Mountain) recently died, so this walk was also a celebration of his life and dedication to place and practice. His son, Oren, led the circumambulation in his honor.

Here are some photos from this incredible day, paired with words from The Living Mountain by Nan Shepard, an absolute lyrical masterpiece. Organizing this circumambulation was part of a larger creative project, and an article will be coming out January 2016 for the inaugural issue of We Move Magazine. Stay tuned.

May such place-based traditions continue, and with their continuation may they remind us to slow, to inhabit our local woods and hills with greater intimacy, curiosity, and humility. May we continue to develop our kinship with ever-revolving change.

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“The talking tribe, I find, want sensation from the mountain — not in Keat’s sense. Beginners, not unnaturally, do the same — I did myself. They want the startling view, the horrid pinnacle — sips of beer and tea instead of milk. Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.”

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Cold Water: Reflections of Baja

A short, 4-minute film update “Cold Water: Reflections of Baja,” expressing gratitude for all the support for our documentary “The Crossing.”


Super excited to share with you “Cold Water: Reflections from Baja,” a short, 4-minute update and thank you for all the supporters of our film “The Crossing.” Includes some great video from our Spring 2015 screening at the Todos Santos International Film Festival, giving a $1000 scholarship for Ecology Project International in Mexico, and me awkwardly attempting to play the ukulele. Thanks again everyone for helping make this project happen. It’s been incredibly powerful. Much more to come.