The etymological roots of the word vagabond lead to the Latin word vagari, meaning to wander. A related English word is vague. Often the purpose of my wandering in the wilderness is vague. This is occasionally a metaphor for my writing style too. I don't necessarily expect my wanders to always take me back where I started. The lack of purpose itself is the real joy of my own explorations. I'm often comfortable leaving things unanswered for a while when I write. Sometimes just asking a question (or setting out on a wander) is enough. If I have a core philosophy in my wandering it is probably this: Too much attachment to a predetermined outcome clouds the mind and obscures other possibilities that might be more desirable. That is my own personal moral/aesthetic imperative derived out of the observation by Robert Creeley that The possible is more important than the perfect.
The name wildernessvagabonds.com is also a reference to a book of Everett Ruess' works called A Vagabond for Beauty. Some might protest that Everett's wanderings through wilderness were usually solo, and that this is a site about the plural word vagabonds. I do in fact wander with others in the wilderness at times, and there is an art to sharing solitude. Perhaps that describes some of what I'm after here on this blog too. I may respond to my own posts and even argue with myself. I'm adept at seeing many sides when I choose and sometimes even when I'd rather not. Ultimately we need to see things from our adversary's perspective because it is the only way forward, whether we choose compromise or confrontation as a means to resolve conflict. We don't have to validate an offensive perspective, but being able to at least see the basis of it clearly will teach us something important about opposing it. In the ancient Greek comedy The Birds Aristophanes wrote that The wise learn many things from their enemies. That has been an operating assumption for much of my adult life, in combination with a couple other important quotes. This one regarding compassion by the poet Denise Levertov has also never been far from my mind:
There can be no self-respect without respect for others, no love and reverence for others without love and reverence for oneself; and no recognition of others is possible without the imagination. The imagination of what it is to be those other forms of life that want to live is the only way to recognition; and it is that imaginative recognition that brings compassion to birth. Man's capacity for evil, then, is less a positive capacity, for all its horrendous activity, than a failure to develop mans most human function, the imagination, to its fullness, and consequently a failure to develop compassion.
This site is dedicated to my love of the beauty in nature, but I will also venture into the political, artistic, historical, spiritual and personal. Science is always on my mind because it reveals so much of the hidden and often unexpected beauty of our universe. The subtitle of the site Multiverse in Here is a reference to my love of cosmology and also homage to an older website I had years ago.
So who am I? Well this site is partially about the exploration of that idea so if you read it long you may find out. The bare biographical details aren't terribly interesting. I was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1968 and grew up moving around the northwestern part of the state. We lived in the inner city and out on a farm and I appreciate things about both lifestyles. I also had a combination of public, private (non-parochial) and Catholic education growing up that gives me a unique perspective on the process of education. I ultimately studied Creative Writing and Film at Ohio University in Athens but dropped out before finishing my degree in 1993. I was briefly married then and we moved to Colorado. After a couple years managing a B&B in Boulder I started my own business as a computer consultant. By 2000 I'd given up that business and become Technical Director for an Internet Service Provider called Rockynet.com. Today I live relatively car-free in Capitol Hill near downtown Denver with a cat named Luna. I'm able to get away without owning a car in part thanks to new services like the one provided by carshare.org.
Lately I find myself writing about sex, gender and marriage rights, so it is probably reasonable to answer the obvious question- am I gay? I'm definitely not. I'm also very secure in my conventionally assigned sexual identity. But I've been aware of the effects of homophobia in our culture for 20+ years and have met many people who self-identify as queer. As a result, the issues have become ever more important to me over time. I'm willing to disclose personal details like this because in speaking out for the rights of gays and lesbians as a heterosexual man I hope that I can help people better understand that these truly aren't gay rights but human rights and that is the reason to care about them.
In fact, I'm single and really quite happy now after so many years of dating and looking for happiness in a relationship. I enjoy my freedom today because it gives me the time to focus on my various interests without creating resentments against someone else for taking my time, or against myself for giving it up.
I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update- August 2010 - I've accepted a new position at Radical Honesty Enterprises. I've given away 95% of my possessions and chosen a new life of transience. Many future updates will be posted from Virginia and other locations along my journey. I still think of Denver as my home and will be returning at least once a month for the forseeable future.
November 8, 2009
Standing above the Green River in the San Rafael Desert of Utah from the October 2009 fall trip.