Episode 055 – 1000 Years From Now
“There’s a certain intimacy or familiarity that comes when I find myself in a place that I’ve read about. When the drive has been as long as this one, it provided a bit of comfort to be honest.”
I know… we’re supposed to be in the in-between, in the season break, but I have to clear the air. I have something to share with you.
But first, a question.
If someone said they were going to take a picture of you and a thousand years from now, the photograph will still look as it did the moment the photographer took it, would you feel any pressure?
Would you travel 2,000 miles by car to sit for that photo?
Just listen to the episode, I’ll explain everything.
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Until next time… Be nice. Do good stuff.
Hey everyone… Yes, we are still in the in-between. Season 5 hasn’t officially begun yet but I wanted to drop in here for a quick bit. This week’s podcast is just a little update, stories from the road…
What! You didn’t know I was on the road? That’s because you’re not on the email list!
Update: I’m on the road – but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I was a little vague in Episode 54: You Gotta Go To Know when I talked about change and didn’t really explain what was going on. I didn’t explain because I didn’t really know – Some of you took that to mean the podcast was going away.
I got a ton of emails saying thank you and farewell. Let me tell you, the podcast is not going anywhere, at least not at this moment. We’re just in the usual break.
If you’re on the email list, you already got the news that Melody and I have decided to leave Mexico. It was an incredibly difficult decision but one we made quickly. Sometimes what is the best move isn’t always the move we want to make.
If the show sounds a little different, the room a little bit live, it’s because I am recording this from my airbnb… in Bismarck, North Dakota. I know…I took a wrong turn in Albuquerqe.
I will tell you, a man wearing a deep dan and flip flops will cause a commotion in North Dakota. That is also a sign to the extremely pregnant mother of three boys that I am a sympathetic ear when it comes to her lamenting the lack of pumpkin spice at the coffee station in the truck stop.
I expressed my condolences when she informed me that the attendant would not make the pumpkin spice available until the S’mores was gone. I tried to ease her pain, gladly offering her my pumpkin spice if I had one… which I didn’t because… S’mores.
Chivalry is not dead…
She nodded with a tight lipped smile, said she was due in 5 days and then quickly apologized for over-sharing. Being home with three young boys was…she paused, diverted her eyes and said something under her breath about the real world.
It has been over 20 years since I’ve come this way across the country. In the past is was to play a show in Fargo and then south on interstate 29 to Souix Falls, Omaha, and then west. For this trip I tried to stay off the interstates. Our little Honda Element is loaded down and airs her subtle grievances when the speedometer gets above 70. I don’t mind.
I found myself in small towns like Julesburg, Colorado and Paxton, Nebraska. And in case you’re curious, just west of North Platte, Nebraska you’ll find Scout’s Rest: Home of Buffalo Bill.
And just a few miles west of that is Sutherland – where you’ll find the truck stop with the strick pumpkin spice policy.
It’s at this point I realized I was traveling along the Lincoln Highway. You may not have even heard of such a road. Most folks in the U.S. think of route 66 as the mother road when in fact, the Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental route for automobiles, dedicated in 1913. Route 66 didn’t come into being until 1926.
I only linger on this bit of history because I just read a book by (AyMore Tolls) Amor Towles of the same name. Lincoln Highway.
And there’s a certain intimacy or familiarity that comes when I find myself in a place that I’ve read about. When the drive has been as long as this one, it provided a bit of comfort to be honest.
But I didn’t come this far to wax sentiment over the Lincoln Highway or to chat up expectant mothers.
I came to Bismarck to meet and have my portrait done by an amazing photographer named Shane Balkowitsch. You may remember Shane as he was a guest on the show back in Episode 20.
What makes Shane so special is his portraits are printed on glass in pure silver.
If you aren’t familiar, the process is called Wet Plate Collodian and it was invented back in the late 1840’s and all but abandoned in the 1880’s.
Shane’s revived the practice and his work is featured in museums all over the world. His most famous works feature Native American Plains Indians. When we spoke on the show, he invited me to come up to sit for a portrait.
Honestly, I’ve been terrified at the thought. You see, this type of photography captures something quite different from modern photography. It’s as if he’s looking into your soul.
Something else astonishing about the wet-plate colodian process is that the image is so high rez, you’d need a micron telescope to get to the pixel. And… the image never degrades. 1000 years from now it will look as it does the moment it’s captured.
What would your image look like? Would you feel this pressure? Am I being unreasonable?
Here’s where I crossed the Rubicon. The reason I embarked on this… call it a vision quest?
With the year I’ve had. With the lightning, the transition, the change…Christmas Eve. The Essentials. If there was ever a time to capture something… This is the time.
I think I’m ready.
Now… a fifteen-hundred mile diversion… from southern Baja to almost the Canadian border is no small go around. Especially when Melody and I don’t even know where we’re going land as this next phase of our lives begins.
On one hand, it feels a irresponsible but on the other, it feels as if it’s the only thing I absolutely need to do right now.
I’m trying to keep it together because i don’t want what I’m feeling… this displacement, this unsettledness…to come through in this image.
I didn’t drive 2000 miles to a place where I can already see my breath and have to wear shoes. Xero Shoes by the way to capture that image.
Yesterday, I met Shane, in person, for the first time. We went to lunch. It was as if we’ve known each other for a long time. I’m not surprised. If you listen to the conversation we had on the show, it lasted over an hour.
But I almost cancelled this trip. With all the emotion around leaving our home in Baja and after a few long days of driving, I just wanted to get home. I haven’t seen Mel in over a month. She is my home and I want to get there.
But right now, I’m fighting that feeling of being adrift.
I have often said that living on a sailboat for a decade taught me that home was no longer a physical place it was a state of mind. Home is something we carry with us. Always. Everywhere.
Recently, that assertion finds itself on shaky ground.
I know it’s just a stressful time. I am in a stange town. A million miles from where I was a few days ago. Phyiscally and metaphorically. A million miles away.
It’s pitch dark until 7:30 in the morning. Cold and my morning walks are so different from the ones on the malecón. I have no fishermen to wave to, no street dogs to pet. My bicycle friend is not going to pass me and salute my effort.
My routine is disrupted and I have never considered myself a routine guy.
I have three days to pull it together. Three days to muster an expression worthy of lasting 1000 years. No pressure.
Okay y’all. That’s all I got for this week. A short little update to let you know the happenings. The podcast is not going anywhere. Season 5 will be back before you know it. If you want to listen to back episodes or get on the email list, head on over to themindunset.com.
Leave me a voice memo drop me a line, I answer them all. Thanks for listening and until next time, you know the drill… be nice. Do good stuff.
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