I fancy myself to be a bit of a traveler and the many places life's brought me so far have left an indelible mark on me. I'm a better man for having seen some places most people only read about and it's not something I take lightly. So whether it was trekking through a Panamanian rain forest or having the Spanish steps all to myself on a rainy Sunday morning, places and experiences stay with me.
I like to travel lightly and I'm not much of a shopper, but something I've been doing for the last 20 years or so is accumulating odds and ends from the places where I've been. These stones and sticks, bones and feathers end up in a jar on my dresser. That jar is my world in miniature it reminds me how fortunate I am every morning. The theme this week is What do You Carry? And my answer is that I carry with me every experience I've ever had. Some highlights:
|This is an ancient Roman bell, it's one of the three ancient Roman artifacts I own. That this bronze bell was once sewn into the hem of someone's clothes thrills me to my core.|
|These are shells from a beach in Honduras. If you ever want a get away for some solitude, Honduras fits that bill nicely. The Honduran people are amazing and they need your money. Go.|
|This is a piece of pumice I fished out of a hillside in Pompeii. This piece of pumice is one of the billions of pieces of pumice spewed out of Mount Vesuvius on August 24th, 79 and buried Pompeii.|
|This is pumice I pried out of the cliffs in Herculaneum. This stuff looks so harmless now.|
|This is a piece of granite from the summit of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. Mount Tam was the backdrop to an important period in my life and when I hold onto that rock it's like I'm there all over again.|
|This is a feather I found on Cat Island in The Bahamas. It once belonged to a common ground dove, which are the most comical birds I've ever had the pleasure to interact with.|
|This is a piece of quartz from Guanajuato, Mexico. Mexico is a beleaguered country and good news from there is hard to come by in the US press. Mexico is a wonder and it has a history that predates anything on this side of the border by centuries.|
|My great friends Bob and Rick live just outside of Philadelphia and this is a piece of mica I retrieved from their woods.|
|This is a shell from the beach in Positano. I've written about the wonder that is Positano here before and this misshapen shell is a perfect metaphor for the place.|
|This desiccated tree frog once stowed away in my luggage when I was in Panama. I never knew he was there and by the time I got home he hadn't survived the ordeal.|
|I bought this ring from an old woman in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica for around 75 cents. It's silver and I wore it for nearly ten years.|
|This is a piece of lavender I picked from a roadside in France in what seems like a lifetime ago. It's at least 16 years old and it still smells like lavender.|
|This is a piece of stainless steel I retrieved from a factory parking lot in Germany last winter.|
As the day goes on, the rest of the participants in today's Blog Off will appear miraculously at the end of this post. Keep checking back and check out everybody's postss. You can follow along in Twitter as well, just look for the hashtag #LetsBlogOff. If you'd like more information about about the Blog Off or if you'd like to see the results of previous Blog Offs, you can find the main website here.