I began my career in wildland fire on the Mendocino National Forest way back in May of 2016. At the time I didn’t know anything about fighting fire, and I was unfamiliar with poison oak, God’s devil plant. Working in California, overall, has been a damn pleasure. I’ve learned skills I never would have acquired on my own, met some good people, and worked harder than I have at any other job (not every day, but the tough days were always the most rewarding). The MNF also gave me the opportunity to detail on a helicopter in Twin Falls, ID, which turned out to be my favorite fire season thus far.
Now it’s time to drive east to begin a new job at the Huron-Manistee National Forest. I’m excited to check out a new region, even if it means I’m going to miss the California mountains I love. I’m also going to be much closer to my future wife, which is something I’m extremely thankful for. Cheers to new beginnings in the state of Michigan.
People ask me why I’ve chosen to live a life without roots. Why keep changing jobs? Why keep moving? Don’t you like a town/city/state enough to stay in it?
I spent years living in Texas, and though I love the state, it’s such a small part of a wider world. Moving to the Outer Banks in North Carolina gave me a chance to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I swam in the blue and didn’t even get nudged by a shark (thankfully).
Now I’m in Nuevo Mexico, the land of green chile. I was finishing up work on a particularly cold day when snow began drifting down from the overcast sky. On the walk to my car I opened my mouth like a little boy to catch a flake or two on my tongue. As I drove home, closer to the Sandia Mountains and higher in elevation, I saw something that gave me a big goofy grin. Inside a schoolyard kids were rolling up a snowman. A snowman! I’ve never seen anything like it.
That’s why I’m living this life. Sure, I’ll settle down and grow roots eventually. But for now I have this, and along the way I’m becoming more of the person I want to be.
“Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowin’ / I took a wrong turn and I just kept goin’.” – Springsteen