Who am I? This is a question that I ask myself daily, but if you will consider the spiritual questions as being out of context, at least for the purposes of this home page, here is some general info.
See the man in black in the photo? That's me, hiking happily in the mid-1990s in the New Hampshire White Mountains near a place called Bridal Veil falls. If you look closely, you can see my walking stick, a favorite companion on many journeys across the country. You see, first, and foremost, I am an avid lover and defender of Nature. We are a part of Nature, and we shall return to Nature when we pass on to the next world. It feels wonderful to be "out and about", breathing in the fresh air and seeing the wonders of Mother Earth in all of its splendor.
But enjoying Nature should not be restricted to hiking! I love hiking and backpacking above all else, true, but any chance to be "out and about" in the wild appeals my inner adventurer. I love to hike, backpack, snowshoe, run, bike (both mountain and touring), swim, kayak - all of these forms are wonderful. I plan on experiencing canoeing and other similar activities at some point in the future... always more plans than time, alas! I think the best way to enjoy Nature is to be physical - to exert the sinews and muscles, to breathe hard and know what it is to be alive. But, just so you don't think I'm some kind of adrenaline pumping madman lol, I also thoroughly enjoy just driving through the country (especially the old Columbia Gorge Highway), seeing the sights and people of our world, experiencing new forms of culture and learning more about myself in the process. I am a Nature lover, and I am an adventurer; fortunately, the two go well together.
I have never been a hermit; I live for social occasions whereby one can meet new and old friends, to interact and share life's experiences with each other. The sharing of experience is important for adventurers like myself - you can never do it all, but we can share in the journeys of others. The Arts play a crucial role - nothing portrays experience better than the Arts, and this is why I so dearly love music, theater, cinema, literature, and all the other artistic forms of expression. Favorites include Sue Coe, Rapoon, Dead Can Dance, Ingmar Bergman, Wallace Stegner, Harold Budd, Robert Pirsig, Death in June, Biosphere and Zoviet France, although I do not limit my cultural intake to these artists exclusively. "Variety is the spice of life" - I agree with this maxim absolutely.
Fortunately, I have a job which allows the freedom of expression and adventuring I dearly crave. I began teaching chemistry at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon in September 1997, and I have found the teaching experience to be quite rewarding... Chemistry has always been my calling; I received my B.S. in chemistry from Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) in 1990, and I received my Ph.D. in analytical inorganic chemistry from Dartmouth College in 1995. I had not really planned on being a teacher, but my teaching experience from graduate school launched the idea which led to my present career. Teachers must never stop learning; I have learned much from my students, and I hope I have returned the favor.
Whether it be by backpacking, swimming, biking, dayhiking, snowshoeing, stargazing or just plain being outside, nothing makes me happier than being in Nature. I love the mountains dearly - not only for the exaltation felt when a high mountain peak is climbed, but also for the myriad of waterfalls and mountain lakes the high elevations invariably bring. The oceans stirs my heart deeply as well, and I return periodically just as the tides. I am learning the joys of the desert and prairie. And, of course, nothing is better than being in the company of great friends and loved ones - we are all social animals, and we must constantly renew our ties to one another.