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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I chopped off my hair again.

It took me a few days to get used to it, but I like it. I'm living outside again, so I've been cutting down my material existence. Sleeping in the back of my truck or under the stars, these days.

Times are a'changin. And fast.

Well, I done graduated. There was this frenetic flurry of finals and parties and packing and parents my last week at school. I left the day after commencement to start my new job. I didn't really want to go. I've been so happy in Portland. So many of my friends are staying there. And we were keeping that beautiful old wood-stair house. Starting a garden. I hope it is growing well for everyone back there. I am sad I can't be there to tend it with you.

Commencement was sort of surreal. So much formality for a place that I love for its anarchy and iconoclasm. Well, I wore the gown and all, but I put a big bucket cowboy hat on the president's head when he handed me my diploma. Best to go out the way you came, I'd say.

That night friends passed in and out of the house for dinner and goodbyes while Scott and Lizard built an awesome rack to hold milk crates in truck for me and I finished packing. I left, feeling like my whole life to that point was boxed and stacked in the basement of that house.

I have been driving slower, recently. Oregon and Scott have taught me to take a little more time with things. Go the speed limit. It took me the better part of two days to get to Monterey that way. I had a wonderful stop for dinner in Ashland... started playing with a couple street musicians. Slept in the van on a dirt road somewhere and then kept driving.

The job is with an ecology lab in Monterey. They're basically doing a state-wide survey of how sediments are impacting the physical habitats and the biological organisms in streams. This is important because no one knows what exactly happens with river sediments when you dump a bunch of road fill, or mine tailings into a watershed, or when you log or graze on the slopes above a river. We have a crew of eight... all guys, all with masters degrees, and all but one over thirty. And me. They're good guys, though. I am starting to get to know them. The work itself is simple enough. Every day is five or six hours of standing in a stream and measuring several variations on how wide and how deep it is, and how big the rocks on the bottom are. Then driving to the next river, stopping for burritos in whatever town we pass. Getting to camp after dark and sleeping out under the stars. Bless you beautiful California weather. I haven't needed a tent yet.

The best part is how much of California I have gotten to see. We've been up and down some amazing roads around the coast. I'll be heading out to the Sierras tomorrow... more news from there.

Anyway, for the last week I've been at home. We had a break from sampling, so I went back to see friends and hang out with the family. It's been relaxing and rather lazier than I would like. But I have done many things I needed to do.

Mom and Dad and I did go out sailing to Catalina Island for two days. That was fun. Easy sailing in a light wind. It was a little too cloudy for the snorkeling to be good where we anchored, but the kayaking was great. We found an old wrecked boat on an empty beach. The hull was all buried and filled with gravel. I saw a sea lion eating a leopard shark. And dolphins, crossing the channel.


Anonymous Ross said...

Mmmm, biolomagiggy. I could go for a leopard shark, it's true. (Of course, I am a sea lion.)

Wait, no I'm not. But I am reading your blog and wishing you still lived in P-town. California is -much- farther away.

Take care of y'self, Jess. Expect an email soon.

9:48 PM


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