Christmas. A Detour. A Company of Witnesses.

Christmas morning, we got up and hit the road south on I-5 with the intention of hiking Jawbone Trail but ended up cutting the trip way short at Willamette Mission State Park just north of Salem. The idea of driving for over two hours for a short six mile walk didn't seem all that enticing once we got started. Plus, I just wrapped the season for the year at Portland Saturday Market, which is always physically taxing at the end, dealing with the holiday rush. Needless to say, the mojo for Jawbone fizzled out pretty quickly. It ended up being a good detour though. Don't you love it when the plan b works out just as well, if not better? It being the Christmas Day where most normal people sleep in and have a lazy morning of gift opening and celebration, we had the acres and acres of the watershed park all to ourselves. At the end of what turned out to be an extremely trying year, it was just the thing I needed — s p a c e.

There were many magnificent and gnarly old growths spread about, providing perfect refuge for the birds that I've never seen before getting chased by my playful young border collie. Looking up at these statuesque limbs, I recalled to mind many Korean poems that personify old trees as wise sages or silent witnesses of sorts — the verses that I didn't even know that I still remembered.

Why has this year been so rough for me? How has it been for you? There were many highlights for sure, and it would be very ungrateful of me to characterize the entire year as bad. It wasn't all bad but it was undoubtedly challenging. A lot and often. It's the business of making art. Or it's the business, period. A friend who has a thriving business, though in a different field, shared with me recently, that it took about three years before he started experiencing real growth. This year being the second year since I got thrown into a situation where I had no choice but to make things happen all on my own, if I am even remotely like him — for whom I have nothing but utmost and almost biased respect — I only have one more year left in the furnace before I come forth as the owner of a flourishing business at the end of the tunnel. Right?

Yeah, I'd sign the dotted line for that deal. 

I've learned a lot this year — about myself and about being a creative entrepreneur. I paid a steep price for all the real, heart-breaking lessons. As a result, I have never been more clear as I am now. So once again, I will take these invisible gains as a profit and press forward. I'm aiming to write a very different post at the end of next year.

There always seems to be a point on any long walk in nature, where you lose your sense of time and space, and feel very keenly in the moment. Just you and the present. I think it was there that I might have said audibly, "You just wait and see. I'll show you what I'm made of." And then I was startled that there were witnesses to my rather bold proclamation, rows and rows of them, waving their Yoda arms back to me. And as if I was preaching to the choir, they echoed back in unison, a beautiful Amen.

Shoot... No taking my words back now.