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  • One year ago today I quit a lucrative job. With savings, I had freedom to sand down the layers of my life, get to the real surface below, and explore what colors to apply.

    Or just to leave the bare wood exposed.

    In cowbirding here I hope to peel back the story I thought I was living, peering back through the lens of the experience.

    A gift of time I was given.

    The giver was my Aunt Martha, who technically was not my aunt, but my godmother. First grade teacher, author, traveler, avid reader, student of the world, what I always knew of her was how avidly interested she was in my development. Her presence had not wavered in intensity from her encouraging commentary of my fourth grade writing to my geology research in grad school.

    She passed away a year ago; months later my mailbox revealed a letter from a lawyer informing me I was a beneficiary in her will. Will? I'd only seen that in movies.

    Always gracious with her gifts, I hoped maybe it would provide a new camera.

    When the word came a month before this day, I dropped the letter in the road. Between my savings and Aunt Martha's gift, I had banked the equivalent of my take home salary for a year.

    Like a cartoon, the bulb went off over my head. Why not-- *not* work? In "these economic times..." was it wise to blow my savings?


    On the first day of unemployment, I hiked to the bottom of a canyon. On the second day, I took out the sander, and began stripping the layers from my back deck. My own layers too.

    I am using Cowbird to share the story of a 15,000 mile road odyssey I took in 2011, which started with my quitting my job in March and setting out in June for a loop around the US and Canada. It's less of a day by day narrative and more of an attempt to tell a story of the story, with some amounts of imagined bits that emerge on looking at the media from the trip, including the more than 1400 images, videos, and audio files collected in my digital time capsule, the Storybox.

    cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by me:
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