Thursday, December 6, 2007


I've been waiting all day to post because I'm so excited about what I found in my early morning pre-work treasure hunt. My day started out with me finding some old books I used to plan the trip. I also found some books that I purchased to read while on my trip. The even bigger find was that I found my old journal that I took with me! It is worn out and has survived at least 6 moves and who knows how many states?

Earlier this week, I shared that I was looking for freedom. I couldn't remember what I was really seeking. Well, I think I got a good answer today when I found the journal. Here is my entry I wrote inside the front cover.

"....I have forgotten the silence. I always do. It is like birdsong just on the edge of hearing, too sweet and too sad to be remembered fully. Even with the grizzlies, wolves and the strings of caribou, one of Alaska's greatest natural resources is it's silence. And, I come into it gladly. I have come to this place to hear the silence once more..." Jeff Rennicke, Backpacker Magazine, September 1993.

As I read through the opening pages of my journal, too many memories flashed back into my brain. Faces, food, smells, images and names of people from my past that I no longer remember.

I think one of the most interesting things about the human brain is how memories are lost if you don't share them or try really hard not to forget them. It is even more interesting how the brain works when you start to "remember" things.

Today, as I read my old journal, all sorts of memories came to mind and it felt like I was going through them again. Even though they are old memories, they felt like they were happening now. I really don't know if I'll sleep tonight because I just want to go page by page and read and take in everything.


MG said...

I sometimes wonder if the trend towards electronic journaling somehow loses something because you lose the ability to see how you form letters, or you stop and retrace over a word because you lose yourself in a thought, or you drop a piece of bacon on the page... the type of "story behind the story" that makes the memory all the sweeter.

What I'm really hearing your words say to me is that I need to be better at capturing my own experiences, because lately I've been somewhat of a literary robot.

I hope you got some sleep last night...

Happy Friday brother,

gNAT said...

MG, thanks for the comment.

I agree with you. While there is much freedom to the electronic media, there are even more creative freedoms in a written journal.

What pencil or pen you are using. What color. Sketches. Smashed berries. Stamps from national parks. I could go on and on.

You've got me thinking though that I need to find a way to recreate some of these things here. We'll see. I've got almost 4 months of journal along with several books and sketch books. Should be fun.

Jason said...

I did the hand written journal for a while too and it was pretty cool. I just never kept up with it like I do my blog. I think there are options to incorporate. Scanners, picts, links.

While I don't have the luxury of laying in bed reading my old entries with the blog I still find myself looking back at past years and seeing where I've been, and how I've grown as a person and a cyclist.

In some ways I can not believe how much my life remains the same and routine! Things I enjoy (and don't enjoy) seem to repeat through the seasons.
And of course it's always fun to see NEW places, friends, and things appear too.

Guitar Ted said...

You know, since this whole idea of yours was translated to me about a month ago now, I have been thinking about the two unfinished tales of my own self supported tours. Alot!

I've got the journals, the maps, yeah.....all that stuff too.

I can see and feel my own experiences in yours very keenly. Thanks! I think the memories are good to savor and especially to learn from. I'd like to think I learned alot.

The blog thing vs. written: I could never keep a written journal. Ever. Even after at least a dozen attempts. Hard to believe it, but I can write my digital stuff everyday. I think it's because I know folks are watching and reading. That motivates me. Just writing in a book that maybe no one else will ever see? Not interested. I like the accountability, myself, of the digital blog stuff.

I'm excited to see what comes next. Thanks Jason!

Oh!.......and you are going to have to explain the "gnat" thing, ya know! ;)

Jason said...

Yeah I was thinng Gnat should be explained but didn't want to say anything, but since G. Ted said someting... let's hear! ;)

MG said...

the accountability thing is key GT, no doubt. that's what's kept me in the blogging thing too, where i've failed miserably in the personal journaling department.

some need the glare of the spotlight to inspire them to bring their thoughts to the fore. others have a more inward motive for putting words onto paper (or screen, as it were). it's kind of a fun challenge to think of to see how to bring back that element of 'handwriting' to blogging. perhaps i'll take that as a point of contemplation for my own future work.

hope everybody's weekend is going swell.


gNAT said...

I don't really know why, but the accountability of the web thing doesn't really matter to me.

To me, the web thing allows me share my story with more people including my family, who all thought I was crazy to do this trip.

The main reason I am doing this is that it gives me a simple and effective way to channel some of my energy outside of work. By this I mean channel my energy into something that is 100% my own.