For all its sucking, firefighting—hotshotting, specifically—is the best thing I’ve done, even if I can’t fully explain why.
While assigned to a fire in New Mexico a few weeks ago, my crew was standing by to allow a storm cell to pass over the fire area. I was on my phone, having already finished the only book I brought on the roll. I was admiring a friend’s life, the husband and house and her innate ability to rock sundresses and red lipstick. I’ve never been able to rock red lipstick. Man, I thought—this broad has it together.
As I often do in moments of mindless social media admiration, I glanced up from my phone to consider all the things I have going, all the things that make me feel, however infrequently, like I have it together. I look up and note that I’m sitting in the sun—a brief moment of sun in a day characterized by torrential rain, and just as I considered my good fortune a guy on my crew asks another guy how he's been pooping today. Neither of them laughed or made any indication that this wasn’t a serious, compassionate inquiry. Guy one was genuinely curious about the status of the other’s bowel movements.
I laughed to myself and started writing, because the moment felt perfect and poop is always funny. I don’t have a lot of things—a desk or a house or the ability to wear cute sundresses—but I’m surrounded by people who care so deeply about each other that they check in on how everyone’s pooping. I have nights in a wet sleeping bag on a plateau in rural New Mexico, where I’m certain the stars are brighter than anywhere else that I've been. I have happy tears from laughing at stupid jokes over a game of euchre in the buggy. I have dinners of cold chicken-fried-steak and breakfasts of dry cereal. And that might not seem like much, but it feels like enough, and I guess that’s what matters.
A New Mexico Morning
I’ve been in South America for just under two weeks now, and one thing has become abundantly clear to me.
I’m a dumb American.
For me, this weekend at Fresh Coast Film Festival — and arguably the last two years — has been a lesson in newness.
Isn't that what blogs are for? Bragging? So anyways, here are some projects I've worked on in the past, as well as some other fun things I've done recently that you might be interested in:
Let’s get one thing straight: your mom’s not going to like this.
Deciding to be a firefighter is a tough decision, made even tougher by the look your mom will inevitably give you when you first tell her about it. I spent years conditioning my mother for this moment — extended climbing/skiing/backpacking trips without cell phone service, cross-country road trips with people she’d never met or heard me talk about, childhood shenanigans involving concussions and scraped knees and outdoor forts made out of her favorite blankets.