All posts by killingernest

Journalist/Digital Strategist - Father of 3, married to their mother. A writer and traveler looking for new ways to tell old stories.

When decades fall like glaciers

An Alaskan glacier
Alaskan glacier

I felt optimistic when I turned 40. My partner and I drove down to New Orleans and spent a glorious few days enjoying that party of a city, which may have contributed to my optimism. Fifty seemed a decade away, and at 40, decades are still slowly crawling downhill. At 45, I started to think about what 48 would look like, gazing down the cannon barrel at 50, and I’ll admit, it sent shivers down my spine.

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Winter as a monthless Period

If you’ve read this blog much, you know I hate January. It’s my least favorite of the 12 months Julius Caesar’s astronomers gave us. Not even Pope Gregory XIII, in all his wisdom, saw fit to rid us of the month named after the god of beginnings and transitions. Before the Gregorian and Julian calendars, you had a blissful monthless period in winter.

Bleak and rainy January
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2021 Audio/Book List

2021 AUDIO/BOOK LIST

I started 2021 off with the usual plan to read more. Read, as in my eyes scanning the words printed on paper. God knows I do enough scanning of text on a screen for my job. Of course, that did not happen. Instead, I road my bike more than 4,000 miles this year, something like 291 hours in the saddle with Apple ear pods in my ears listening to audio books. It’s not for lack of trying. I’m desperately trying to complete one paperback in the next two weeks so I can say I read a book from start to finish rather than listened to it. But I’ve found that audio books work for me. They just do. Here’s what I listened to this year.

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Vaccinated: A plain, old view

I don’t remember getting my first vaccinations. I was a baby, and we traveled a lot, which meant that vaccinations were the norm and not the exception.

My partner Cheryl gets her first Covid-19 vaccine dose

I do remember asking my dad why he had a big, puckered scar on his upper arm whenever I’d see him in a tank top. He told dad jokes to explain it, as most men do. But eventually I learned it was caused by the skin’s natural healing process after recieving the smallpox vaccine.

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One last Hunt in the North Malheur

Three years ago, my friend David Lane and I decided to do our own elk camp. The idea was to hunt for cow elk to put some meat in our freezers and limit our reliance on store-bought meat.

Evening of the first day. Just about the time the coyote chorus begins.

That first year we borrowed a friend’s wall tent and set up camp in the absolute worst spot a person (me) could possibly pick. The spot was in the bottom of a canyon that saw just a bit of sunlight each day and seemed to concentrate the cold each night. We didn’t see a single elk that year.

We stayed in a hotel in Burns the second year. My two boys joined us for that hunt. We’d get up early, drag our gear to David’s truck and head for the hills with some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our packs and some beer in the coolers. The weather was far more conducive to camping that second year, with temperatures in 60 and clear, sunny views for days. My son Cole managed to surprise a cow elk, or vice versa, and she ran away unscathed. The rest of us saw no elk that year.

This year we stayed in an Air B&B. Mostly because I wanted to support the local economy in these rough times but also because our hunt was shortened by everyone’s work schedules. This year was an in-between year, with cool, mostly clear weather but a lot of snow left on the ground from a big fall storm a few weeks previous. We saw no elk this year.

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High Attitude

The Wallowa Mountains

After working a 15-hour day on Wednesday, I decided to spend Thursday morning taking a gondola to the top of Mt. Howard to get a better look at the Wallowa Mountains.

I usually see the range from my hotel room in Enterprise, and the jagged peaks known as the Oregon Alps always remind me of growing up in the little East-Austrian town of Richenau an der Rax.

Having been raised in an alpine town, I’m always intrigued by them. People living life at unforgiving altitudes yet surrounded by immense beauty that constantly makes you lift your head up to behold.

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In the tempest

Lightening over the Siskiyou

I watched a thunderhead build momentum over the Siskiyou mountains all day on Thursday. Up and up it went, 20,000, 30,000 feet into the sky, white, billowy protrusions folding and unfolding from its anvil base along a column that seemed to stretch from the earth to the high heavens.

The gleaming-white column softened and turned pink and then peach and then salmon in the glow of the setting sun. I drove along the upper Rogue River trying to think about fish and fat salmonflies, but my mind was on that cloud and its ominous intentions.

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The Unfriending

This morning I scrolled through Facebook and unfriended everyone that I saw who had posted something about getting the economy going again. It wasn’t very hard. Their posts usually went something like this.


“I don’t mean to sound insensitive to anyone who is suffering currently, but enough is enough. Let’s get our lives back. Yes, it sucks for people who are dying, but this is just the flu, and people die from the flu all the time. It’s time to get the economy going again, or we’re all going to be sunk.”


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Silver

Silver bullets, silverware, silver bells. If I stop to think about my first impressions of silver, it’s the little things like werewolves, fine dining and Christmas music. 

Silver bars from the Dennis s.k collection Wikimedia Commons 3.0

In reality, it’s still werewolves, but also tarnish on my grandmother’s heirlooms  and my childhood best friend’s greyhound that was neutered during the holidays. The dog’s name was Silver, and we sang Silver’s balls, silver’s balls, soon their won’t be any silver’s balls. 

Canyon Country

When you walk through the canyons of Chicago on a blustery day, not that Chicago is any windier than other American cities, you can feel like the walls are closing in on you.

Canyons of Chicago

Maybe it’s the hordes of people scrambling from the trains to their jobs at some perch high up on those canyon walls.

Maybe it’s the ambient noise of elevated trains, taxis and heeled shoes clipping the sidewalks.

Whatever it is, five-years-ago, I was a mess of a human being.

Canyons of Chicago

Daily panic attacks as I rode the trains to and from downtown Chicago. Elevated blood pressure. Irritability. Lack of creativity. Inability to be mindful. The list could go on.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love Chicago. I did. I had an amazing job working with some of the most talented people in public radio. I got to look at that amazing architecture every morning and afternoon. And I was part of this vibrant, thriving city for three years.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” 
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire