Why does it surprise me when each year is so different than the last? My days feel so linked by routine that I barely notice things are changing unless I look backwards.
This was 2012.
This was 2013.
And here are the 10 defining phenomena of 2014:
We barely glanced at a guidebook before we left, we just went. We didn't kayak, work, teach or do anything useful at all. For the very first time, I drank coconut water out of a coconut. It was monumental.
In June, on the outskirts of Yellowstone, the Academy at Adventure Quest had its first reunion in twelve years. Everyone who showed up was happy and healthy, with good jobs and pretty spouses and lives still filled with adventure. For the very first time, we talked about what happened there, why the school dissolved. We had a memorial service and kayaked the Gallatin river. It was strange and wonderful and a little eerie, like we had all suddenly found ourselves in the same dream. But that's how it's always felt with that school.
3. Riding on Trails with Women
Mountain biking was a new phenomenon to me in 2014. This year was all about the women I rode with. They were my trail guides and technical coaches, and they fixed my chain when it broke. They knew more than me and I liked following them as they darted through trees.
4. The Remodel
David bought a house with holes in the walls. It was filled with shot guns and assault rifles. We emptied it, skinned it, wrenched the carpet off of the floor. Our friends stopped by to pull out hundreds of staples. We yanked out appliances as if they were teeth and replaced them with new ones, bright white and shining. The painting was the easy part, the crumbling kitchen was not. For a while we had no bathroom and no shower, but the work we did was so satisfying that for the most part we kept very cheerful. By the end of the summer it was fit for living, with a polished wood floor and new locks on new doors. I've never done anything like that before.
After the floors were done, but before we had an indoor shower, I moved in with David. Since then we've been living out that particular portion of life that older people look back on with nostalgia- we filled our house with second hand furniture, we're always happy to see each other and we make our own broth to save money. I've never done anything like this before, either.
6. The Obed
Where the climbing is so good that my friends make the trek all the way from Seattle.
I will remember exactly two things from the basic chemistry class at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College: one, I got an A, which felt, as my friend So so eloquently puts it, like "sweet revenge." Two, my teacher spoke with such a strong southern accent that when he said "Flourine" for the first time I burst out laughing. It sounded like he was demanding the attention of a surly waitress at a Waffle House. It was the only time I laughed that semester.
8. The team that couldn't win
My fall league ultimate frisbee team had the big idea of donating a canned good to the food bank for every point that we scored. It was a hungry, hungry season for Asheville. On the field we were a weekly disaster with flashes of brilliance; on the sidelines this was the warmest, friendliest team I've ever known. We became the kind of friends who would plan a pizza night and then actually all show up. This was as novel to me as the coconuts.
In my first six months here, I don't think I got it through my head that I was really going to stay. I felt like a happy tourist, always a few weeks away from flying back to my apartment in Seattle. Then one day I had a house, and a student ID, and a boyfriend who speaks with a heavy southern drawl. The ribbons of trails that surround the town were all of a sudden familiar. Then, as if to drive the point home, I got a writing job as the 'local expert' of the outdoor scene here in Asheville; the organization is called Roots Rated. When I go out exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, bizarre thoughts float through my head, things like "This will be a good spot to take our kids in a year or so."
10. Make more mail
|follow the make more mail initiative in 2015 on instagram @melinadream|
I finally figured out the purpose of this blog.
What's on your list from 2014? Tell me something new that you were introduced to in the past year, and you'll be entered to win this week's mystery prize. Which, I have to say, is so incredibly appealing that it's difficult to not open it myself and dig in. It will be the Best Thing Ever to find its way into your mailbox. And the brand 2015 Wilder Coast photo thank you cards turned out pretty well, too.
Happy New Year my friends!! I can't wait to read about your phenomenal phenomenons.