Looking back, looking around.

This morning, as I sat reading Simon Armitage's Walking Home, it occurred to me to articulate the central question, yet again: What am I doing with all this time? And--no doubt in part to distract me from getting too thickly into an answer--my mind skipped back to the places I've been in the past year.

Also, because my brain continues to be stocked with songs, I skipped back to CSN's "Southern Cross," which I've always loved, and its chorus: "I have been around the world / looking for that woman-girl / who knows love can endure / and you know it will." I've always thought "woman-girl" was pretty awkward, but if I sing the song in my own voice, and sing it about the search I'm on, it starts to sound less so.

It's been four countries (England, Ireland, Iceland, the U.S.) and I can't even count how many mountains and rivers and seas. I may remember 2012-13 as the year I really started feeling how much I love rocks and rocky landscapes, mountains and semi-deserts: landscapes of solitude, landscapes of fierceness. And also feeling how much less afraid I am of climbing on things than I'd ever have expected I could be. I have climbed more rocks in the past twelve months than I'd climbed in the thirty-six years preceding them; at times I even feel my imagination groping along for the foothold that will get me closer to something adventurous like bouldering. (It would seem only appropriate, given where I've landed for now.)

See for yourself: the first of these pictures is from 7 April 2012, and they come on forward, in chronological order, to this weekend.