I spent the better part of the day rummaging around through piles of forgotten things in my old bedroom. I had broken down the task of cleaning up after decades of memories to a few hours here and there that were taken away from occasional visits to my last childhood home. This time, I turned my focus to the drawers and my closet. Dusty yearbooks were peeking out from underneath mountains of old notepads filled with scribbled interviews in shorthand. I found extra camping dishes waiting patiently in the corner to be used out in the wilderness. However, the most important thing that I had found among the forgotten items was a lost old letter addressed to me.Continue reading “How I Uncovered History By Finding A Lost Old Letter”
From the corner of my eye, I could see the sun that slipped slowly through the blinds begin to bleed from a discolored off-white into an eggy yellow and wane further into a blood-red orange. However, I couldn’t turn my attention away from the words that populated my head. I was sucked into a literary flood of adventure and chose not to grab onto the raft that would drag me back to reality. Nothing else existed while I ventured deep inside the novel.Continue reading “The Life Cycle of a Book Lover”
My boarding time had inched close enough to the present that I began to sweat a little. It was only after I had to remove a pair of shoes from my oversized travel bag at the check-in counter that I became nervous.
“See, I told you taking out the boots would help cut enough weight,” my dad said as he grabbed the pair of shoes I removed from the large purple bag. I rolled my now 50-pound bag through that little section of the airport check-in counter. I just kept throwing in extra stuff that I thought I would need during the summer abroad without thinking about the overage charges. Nearly everything in my room was able to fit in that mobile monstrosity. I had just enough time to get rid of a perfectly good water bottle and take a deep breath before stepping into the back of the airport security line.Continue reading “Why Crying In The Middle of An Airport Was The Greatest Moment of My Life”
I wore my mask outside this week for two reasons. One was because of the ongoing global pandemic that has killed more than 905,000 people worldwide. The other was for the billowing smoke from the nearby wildfires in California that killed at least 12. The mask I wore was a coral color that nearly matched the hue of the midday sun sitting high behind the smoggy film of a dingy orange sky. I took my mask off when I got in my car and placed it next to my hiking bag that would never leave the passenger seat. As I drove past my usual hiking spots with closed signs and warnings of mountain lion sightings, I couldn’t stop staring at the apocalyptic landscape.
I couldn’t drive anywhere that day to find a safe place to hike nearby and realized that I would have to drive more than an hour to find a trail that hadn’t been closed off to the public. I continued to drive while occasionally glancing up at the strange blood-soaked sun and decided hiking wasn’t in the cards for me that day. However, I did see a handful of people creating their own hiking trails just outside of the closed ones and briefly thought about doing the same. I confess that I even pulled over once to consider it before I thought about all of the displaced mountain lions in search of land that wasn’t scorched by raging untamed flames.Continue reading “Hiking In Fire”
On a hot sunny day in July, I took my sister into the woods to hike for her birthday. I understood that she probably wouldn’t care for it, but everything was closed due to a global pandemic. I knew she loved seeing beautiful waterfalls and what she referred to as a “crick,” or what the rest of the world called a stream or river. I had chosen a trail well known to have flowing water year-round, and so we packed our hiking bags, grabbed extra water, and headed out in our ball caps and sunglasses. However, the well-intentioned birthday trek went a little different than expected.
About three meters into the hike, we found ourselves surrounded by vibrant poison oak. The leaves from the unwanted sticky oil-covered brush had left us ducking and scooting through the forest like two overzealous participants in a cheap laser maze. Still, we pressed on with our goal set on the beautiful stream–I mean crick that we were promised. I looked back to check on the birthday girl whose expression was contorted into a gnarly game of face Twister. It was then that I knew I was the worst gift giver.Continue reading “The Birthday Hike Through Dante’s Inferno”
It took literally getting hit by a small boulder in my left leg to check back into the “real” world mentally. You know, the one where people live indoors and are accustomed to interacting in spaces with more than two other people in them. The amount of time I had spent on my own in the outdoors allowed me to nearly escape the pandemic entirely. The hiking buff that covered my face reverted to its intended summer use as a shield between my mouth and nature’s most annoying flying insects (sorry entomologists). However, a recent hike with a friend helped knocked me back to reality.Continue reading “Back To The Real World”
I saw a post on Tumblr four years ago as I scrolled down my dashboard feed. Decorative text in textured appearance sat before a bright white background. “The 26 LGBTQ terms you should know.” I clicked on the post and followed the blog.
The Tumblr was run by a friend from college who spent her free time educating curious individuals about the queer terms and labels they didn’t understand. Each post took a letter from the alphabet and defined a queer term beginning with that letter. It was a fun project between a small group of friends that eventually evolved into something more.Continue reading “Q26 Origins: How We Built A Creative Community”
I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.Continue reading “Why I Kidnapped My Friends”
How Briefly Getting Lost In The Wilderness Made Me Realize We Should Be More Like Ron Weasley
I heard rustling from the freely growing shrubbery that lined the dirt trail, and then I saw it crash from seemingly nowhere about 20 feet ahead of my trekking poles. The crash sounded like the moment a riding horse shifts from a trot to a full gallop. I could hear the sheer power of the hooves and the weight of the large animal as it slammed onto the narrow ledge of the rock face several thousand feet above the last human I saw. The doe quickly rolled from where it landed on its side and shot up before staring in my direction. I froze. The deer froze, and we made eye contact for what seemed like a full 20 seconds.Continue reading “Finding Courage”