Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Who Knew?

Moose Hill Journal is two years old!

I just read the first post on the Moose Hill Journal written two years ago and I am quite surprised that this effort has turned out much the way I had imagined it on that early spring day in 2006. I still can’t explain exactly why I felt a need to walk and sit in the open to explore nature and explore my thoughts. Most likely, it was just my version of a mid-life crisis; another case of Boomer navel-gazing. I had recently passed 50 and my wife and I were rather new empty-nesters. I felt an urge to reflect on my life – what it was supposed to be, what it had become, and where it might be headed. I wanted to reconnect with the outdoors. Life in the woods had been such a vital part of my identity as a youth and I had let that part of my life slip away. I wanted that part of me back.

I can thank Julie Zickefoose (See sidebar.) for a big part of the inspiration. I heard her NPR commentary on blogging just a few days before I had that first breakfast on the hill. I found her blog and a whole new world was opened to me. Not only was I moved by her stories, photos and art, but by following her links I discovered a web of connections among dozens of thoughtful and talented souls. When I was thinking about how I should record my Moose Hill observations, a blog seemed like the perfect medium.

I am surprised that I’ve kept at it this long. I suspect that one day I’ll just stop. Perhaps I’ll simply exhaust the supply of things I feel like talking about. Maybe all the walks will start feeling the same and offer no new surprises. Or, maybe I’ll wake up one day and ask: What’s the point? For now, a new season is arriving and I want to be there to watch.

I’m also surprised at how quickly and thoroughly this blogging experience has become an important part of my life. I spend a lot of time thinking about my time in the woods and about things I might want to write about. I’m constantly scanning my thoughts and experiences for post topics. I think of it as exercise for an ageing brain. My wife likes to do sudoku puzzles. I ponder essay topics. I’m always thinking about my next trip to the Hill; where I might go and what I might see. In a way, for me, Moose Hill has become more than a geographic location. It has become something of a state of mind. Maybe if I keep this up for a few more years, I’ll be able to explain what that means.

Finally, I want to thank my readers. These days, I get about ten hits a day and most of those are click-throughs of people searching for something like information on “cheap tequila.” A typical post might attract five comments. About ten is the most I can hope for. I benefit from low expectations so I have learned not to dwell on or obsess about these things, but I value readers and their input. To the handful of readers who read and comment regularly: Thank you. Knowing that you read my posts helps keep me going. I try to return the favor and I truly enjoy the windows into your world that you open with blogs of your own. To those who may read but don’t comment: Don’t be shy! I want to know who you are, where you are, and what’s on your mind.

Well, the sap has been rising, the peepers are peeping and the timberdoodles are peenting. It’s time to go for a walk. Won’t you come along?



At 7:51 AM, Blogger Mungo said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts - congratulations on your two year anniversary!

I find writing is a good way to balance my 'life-of-words-and-communications' that I engage in at my I.T. job - I am able to exercise other bits of my grey matter by scribbling about my musings and photographs and more. Who'd have thought?



At 8:20 AM, Blogger nina said...

What's the point?

I ask myself that sometimes, too.
But questions kept within your mind are yours alone. Without voicing them or passing them on to others to ponder, they drift off like fog.

Writing preserves thought in the way photos preserve a special moment.
And your thoughts are first-rate.

I race here as soon as I see you've posted something new.
I know I will always find something to take with me.

Julie's my motivator, too.
Next week I hit the 1-year mark.
April must be inspiring.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Lynne said...

"In a way, for me, Moose Hill has become more than a geographic location. It has become something of a state of mind. Maybe if I keep this up for a few more years, I’ll be able to explain what that means."

I believe I know what it means. Hasty Brook is my Moose Hill. Having turned 50 last year I also understand the reflective turn in my life. I feel more able (and willing) to be still and simply watch my surroundings. Watching and learning about the natural world has made me a better participant. As have your words here. Often your posts challenge me to think hard and critically about issues that, honestly, I'd sometimes rather not. Uncomfortable. Too much work. Always, you take me outdoors. You share your Moose Hill with all of us. Your awe and reverence for that place are clear. Like Nina, I always take something with me.

Congratulations Mojoman! You're one of the best writers out here and I always look forward to your words.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Julie Zickefoose said...

Turning 50 soon, feeling reflective, constantly mulling on the next topic...yeah, I'm with you, Mojo, Nina, Lynne. Please keep it up for those of us who hungrily devour your posts. I wish everyone could have the pleasure of meeting you as I have. I just wish we could have gone out for a latte. Heads up, Al: Bill of the Birds will be speaking at the same Harvard Museum of Natural History series where we met, on April 13 (Sunday). Please, if you can, go give him a holler. I'd love for you two to meet.

The point is, I agree, is to keep your mind working, and keeping the writing muscles oiled and strong. Need there be any other? Comments are nice, but you're wise not to make them the end-all...that's a bad psychological trap that always yawns. I can foresee the day when I'll get so much spam that I'll be forced to disallow comments altogether--which would be weird and empty for awhile, but I'd probably find a way to get used to it. Keep going, keep sharing the things you know. With one email, you completely changed the way I look at "selective cutting," and you have a powerful and persuasive way with words. I'm cheering for you. And thank you for humbling me completely. Happy blogaversary!

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Penelope said...

Congratulations on two years of pondering what to write about next -- and then writing it! Sometimes it flows and sometimes there's nothing for a while and sometimes it's like a mosquito bite and you can't rest until you've scratched it most thoroughly (an image borrowed from a poem of my mother's, "My Muse Is a Mosquito"). I appreciate the idea of immersing oneself in a particular natural place, always look forward to your thoughtful, eloquent posts, and hope your font of ideas doesn't run dry for a long time!

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Congratulations on the two years. WOW. I am coming up on my two month anniversary and have found many kindred souls. Since I am retired, it is a great way to share photos and thoughts and see other people's perspectives.

I usually don't use a lot of words but let my photographs speak to the subject. I have a lot of respect for those talented people who can paint great pictures with words.

Hope to read many more great blogs from you.

At 4:43 AM, Blogger T.R. said...

Congratulations on your two years! When life on the road gets weary -- I love to return here to Moose Hill if but to dream.

For me, your life on Moose Hill is the grass that seems much greener on the other side of the fence.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Larry said...

I think that bloggging is a nice way to express yourself.Does it really make a difference if 5 people are reading it or 100? The fact that one person might come by and find your posts inspirational seems wothwhile to me.-Congratulations on your two years.-As long as you are writng-I will be reading.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Larry D said...

Congratulations on two years of excellent posts. I enjoy reading them and probably dont do a good enough job of posting comments. Ive been at this since last summer and I agree it has enhanced the experience of being outside.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger robin andrea said...

Congratulations on two years of blogging! I always know when I come here to read that I will find something deeply considered and profoundly pondered. Your insights about the natural world spring from a place of love and wonder. I often think that I will stop blogging, but I realize that would be like no longer looking deeply at the world, no longer be moved by its beauty or its pain. I hope you stay connected and writing for as long as this venue goes on.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Crayons said...

Happy anniversary! I agree with much of what you say, both about the need to blog, and about the needless attention to numbers. I know one well-known blogger who simply turned her comments off because she was overly focused on them.

I really enjoy visiting you blog, partly to see what your life is like out there, but also because I'm the same age as you. I can relate to much of your content.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Maryanne Stahl said...

happy anniversary!

I enjoy your words and admire your life. I am your age but not as far along on my journey, having only begun fully supporting myself 5 years ago.

I long for time in nature. I will make it to the woods (or the edge of the ocean) someday. soon.

thanks for inviting others along on your journeys.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Shellmo said...

Wonderful blog. You have a new fan!

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Deb said...

Congratulations on 2 years! Your posts are always thoughtful, as are your comments. I am thankful for all the souls out there who take the time to share their world.

At 2:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Look at all your well deserved fans! You're becoming quite the celebrity blogger!

At 3:13 AM, Blogger Wenda said...

Sorry to be so late in getting back here to wish you a happy blog birthday. I've beem here often in the past, but haven't been getting around to much blog reading lately. Not much blogging lately, either, and I'm working on rectifying both situations.

See you again soon.

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