Along for the ride / What is this thing?

Last year, concerts were my vehicle of choice for combatting my comfort zone. Well, they served me in that way all throughout college, beginning with my first real concert: tight standing room in teeny Chain Reaction in Anaheim for The Rocket Summer, Classic Crime and Joe Brooks.

This year, that comfort zone key was a pretty simple decision -- I also kind of lost steam on the concerts lol -- and "simple" is an adjective like a pebble dropped in a pond, pulled straight down by gravity.

Cameron's Books, Portland, OR. January 2018.

Cameron's Books, Portland, OR. January 2018.

So as March closes the first quarter of the year, it seems like a natural time to ponder the progression of 2018. Each month has brought some sort of tectonic change.

Instead of mapping out safe, musical prods at my comfort zone, I decided I would face whichever ones came my way like a friend and not a stranger -- not so dazzled by the good that I would not step up to serve the privilege of it, and not so alarmed by the difficult that I would count it unrecognizable or uncharted.

I'd like to say my West Coast travels so far (Portland, Berkeley) have been the next level up from concerts, but really those have been surprises I have been along for the ride for, and I am too quickly trying to pick up the pattern.

Strangely, the first signal of this hastiness is that to mirror that past experience is boring. Room has to be left for the unintentional, serendipitous, uncharted, and well, sort of better. Absolutely better.

So it's natural to look ahead and wonder, "What's next? Where is the next hold? What will convince me to extend my legs all the way from where I stand now?"

Recently I've been studying the web portfolios of artists and other professionals I admire, and one thing they nail is conciseness.

I am... not concise. I am long-winded and circling and I pull at the edge of a tablecloth of experience, ironically filter-feeding as I slowly knock all of a table's dressings from its edges. Toppled candlesticks and forks leave their mark in my story and may roll radially away and then swerve back, but I pull, and gather, and glean and I forget how in my mind that takes time. And words.

Mostly I don't want to miss out. But it really helps me breathe when I trust the peripheral vision lent to me by my friends.

It boggles me a little bit to see how quieted, resolved I look in this picture taken by my friend Lawrence in Portland this January. It's hard to deny a through-line of Life's faithfulness when somehow peace and joy still surprise you.

I don't always have sense or understanding, and that's good -- to know that and embrace it.

In a picture of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, perhaps that is exactly the strange middle in which I lie, running hard to one side and then the other, hoping the bouncing energy in between that keeps either side from winning out is what will keep me humble and human.

Home versus away, institution versus hooplah, silence versus noise, security in composure versus trust in patience.

So on pondering January to March 2018, perhaps it is all too soon to tell what's to come... aside from a future that seems to smile first and unflinchingly at this dare I've given myself -- to smile back.

Anyway, I suppose I am more grateful than confused (or I hope to return to that north star...), and at the end of the day, this win is enough -- to exhale in the kindness of the friends so carefully placed in our lives, who let us know that Faithfulness is still by and on our side.

Photo by Lawrence Yong