This week 2014, vol. 29

Foggy LondonThere was a hazy fog each morning the first half of this week, which can make you feel like you’re in a mysterious, magical sort of world. I feel like one of the only people on Earth awake each day, when I set out for work at 4:45am, and walking through the fog on dark mornings like these, you can imagine whatever you want, and there’s no one around to prove you wrong. I could be in Sherlock Holmes era London, and those campus lamp posts could be gas lamps as hazy as it is, I can’t tell. Soon enough, I’ll walk up to the Fine Arts Building and make my 8 story climb to WKMS, but in the moments leading up to that, I could imagine I’m approaching London Bridge, that the Thames is just a few hundred feet away, and my eyes can’t say any different.

It seems that the foggy mornings were chased away by even more humidity and temperatures that are flirting more and more with 100. I have been searching for the motivation to get back on a regular running schedule, and I chose the day our temperatures decided to skyrocket as the day I’d start back. It’s pretty amazing how a difference of a few degrees or higher humidity can drastically change your body’s ability to function. My run was good–I ran my planned 30 minutes, but when I got home every inch of clothing was soaked, and I reeked of BO. I also learned, it’s great to shave right after you’ve had a hot run–that stubble peels right off.

This Friday, I had a minor milestone at the radio station–I was on the air live for the first time. I’ve been training to do the All Things Considered Shift on Fridays, 4-6pm. I’ve done a lot of voice work on the air, but it’s all been prerecorded, so if I made a mistake, I just record again. I had no idea how I would do live, because I’ve never done it. I’ve talked in front of people plenty, but never over the airwaves and never with just 90 seconds to get out two underwriters, a station id, weather, and possibly some organic sounding pleasantry where I introduce myself. The first break began, and I read the script that I had rehearsed several times. It came out without a mistake. Through the two hours I stumbled a few times, mispronouncing and correcting a few words, taking a little too long to read during one break, but all in all, I came out sounding like a radio host, and now I feel like I can definitely do this. And, I want to do it more.

When we first moved to Murray, I daydreamed about all different types of things I might try when I got here, and most of them were just daydreams. I figured the idea of doing some sort of radio work was the same. I had no radio experience, and I was probably too old to get a chance. But then, the station needed someone to take a job with early hours and I thought, “why not? The worst thing that will happen is I’ll be terrible at it, and I’ll find something else.” But, here I am now learning everything I can about public radio, news, and getting your voice heard on the airwaves. I love to tell stories, and even though right now, I’m just telling stories about the businesses that support us and the weather for the next three days, I’m excited even to tell that story.

I was invited to lead a Low Ropes group at Lakeshore Saturday, and I decided to go up early to spend some time on my land. I just recently put a gate on the land with help from Travis, Lakeshore’s Maintenance Director. I was happy to discover the gate is still standing. I spent the morning, cutting out a new trail that will wind down the tall hill that borders the road. Currently, there is only a steep, rocky logging road to get down to the valley, and you risk serious skinned knees every time you go down. And, you always know that you have to make the straight uphill climb to get back to your car if you make the descent, which is pretty discouraging. I’ve been planning to make a trail that circles the hill, dropping gradually, staying in the shade, so the experience will be a little more enjoyable and friendly to those who aren’t so agile.

Not actually my new trail, but it looks something like this.
Not actually my new trail, but it looks something like this.

I stepped onto my hill with a hand saw and a pick axe and made my way around my future path, pruning branches and digging out saplings. I raised the pick axe over my head, and let the hammer drop, loosening dirt from the hillside. Then I spread the soil out to make a level, smooth path for walking. I sang chain gang songs to myself as I sweated out there in the sun, swinging the axe creating this new thing that wasn’t there before, winding its way around that hill, someday making it all the way to the valley floor. For just three hours, I felt good about my work–I probably got about a third of the way around the hill. Someday, we will use this trail as our primary way down, I hope for years to come. And, that Saturday was the beginning of it all. How long will that path that I just blazed be used? How many times will I walk it again in my life. What will I see along the way? What important moments of my life and other’s life will happen on that ground that was until just recently nearly impassable?

On Wednesday, I took my usual 6am break to look out the balcony from the 8th floor of the Fine Arts Building. The fog was so thick, I could only see a few hundred feet in front of me. Beyond, I thought I knew what was out there–experience informed me that I had been there before, and it probably would have gotten me around pretty good. But in these times when it is foggy and unclear, there is a magic in the air. There is the chance that beyond that fog there is something completely new. Let your imagination conjure something up. Give your memory a bit of a rest and just blaze a trail through that mist. It’s tough to know for sure what all is waiting on the other end. But, aren’t you itching to find out what it is?

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