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.


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.


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.


Published: “Running in Circles,” Trail Runner Magazine

Excited to see my newest piece “Running In Circles” in print for the October 2015 issue of Trail Runner Magazine. A meandering article and photos about the magic found in choosing circuitous routes. Look for it at your local magazine rack. Excerpt below!    


“Throughout the day, I sometimes felt strong and sometimes struggled–this is the psychophysical interplay that makes circuitous routes compelling. How I felt on one side of the mountain reflected the behavior of the exposure itself–its contours, its trail conditions, its shade and water availability.”

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One Year Later: An Excerpt from “The Circles of Kailash”

A year ago this week, I joined an international expedition of twenty to travel to Western Tibet for over three weeks and participate in a 31-mile circumambulation around Mt. Kailash, one of the most sacred mountains in the world. The powerful journey was part of a larger creative project I’m working on now, so to honor this one-year “revolution,” I’d like to share a short excerpt along with some additional photos. The scene is set at Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple on my last night. 



An oversized prayer wheel stands alone and it does not spin. Mani khorlo, they are called in Tibetan. Mani—jewel. Khorlo—circle or cycle. A wheel of jeweled prayer. They are used in Tibet and around the world as ritual, like kora, to gain merit, symbolic of an ever-revolving cosmos. Often lining monasteries and temples, each wheel is usually covered in sheet metal and embossed with Sanskrit prayer. Passing devotees spin these small wooden barrels, skewered upright on an axle like rotisserie. To lubricate them, monks pour warm rapeseed oil down the shaft, leaving a dark pool at its base.

It can sometimes look like blood.

But this one prayer wheel, this outlier, is different. At over three feet tall, the Sanskrit-inscribed cylinder is bolted to a storefront wall, too high for a person to spin, even if the wheel were free. Decorative trim shines beet-red and new.

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