Moonbox Notes #2: March 2022

Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.

Indian Creek Rec Area, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

From the Desk:

3.17.22. Cloud-filtered light drifts like the snow, in and around the floor, piling between the long curtains of the sliding glass doors. One of my rain boots is on its side, toppled yesterday during a frenzy to unpack totes of gear, clothes, and food before the storm. Patrick and I had just returned from a brief visit to the Ute desert, Indian Creek Recreation Area, Bears Ears National Monument, etc. So much red sandstone, and now, here, it’s back to the white winter…and emails. One of them, from WordPress itself, offers up a #WordPrompt for the month of March: bridge. And it’s easy to think about the physical span of a bridge, perhaps even the abstract meeting of ideas floating in space. My whiteboard is exactly that, which now has words on it like aphantasia and bookmarks, pool hours at the Rec Center, a reminder to at least try a sweet potato and peanut butter mash as potential fuel for running. The bridge, between all that is written here, there, is, of course, me.

Even the Gray Wolf with a dark, mottled coat that stares at me from the wall-calendar photo is a part of this metaphysical equation. The forested background is blurred, the foreground is soft in grass and wind, the only sharpness being the wolf: a premise, if you will, one that contemplates the viewer. Not unlike a physical bridge, where what happens before and after, or maybe even during the crossing, is specific to the user; the prompt is only ever a bridge.

And for all my endless bridging, it’s easy to scan my desk and my life and see things like eye exam and pap on the calendar, see the bullet lists of do’s and wants, see the scribbled papers, the coupons, the hanging headphones…it’s easy to conjure versions of myself for you, and it’s easy for you to conjure versions of me as well. The things that really matter, though, do you glean them from these details? Things like: I’ve been having trouble finding a true sense of belonging; I think I’m addicted to grief; do I really have what it takes to keep pushing through walls?

The future is perhaps the only bridge that still compels me. My curiosity for what happens next? The what if and why not? The I might as well try because the future will come regardless. I might as well get out of bed. I might as well believe that all this writing work, all this personal development, all this dreaming will continue to lead me to places and to people I want to be with. Joy with. Learn with. Cross spans with, like clouds and the light they softly pile through windows.

Indian Creek Rec Area, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

La Vida Mundial:

I find myself, as I imagine most people do, feeling the stress of world happenings more and more, not only because of current events, economics, and looming, doomsday futures but also because of age. As in, the more I age, the more I attune myself to global realities, and the more I’m able to fully acknowledge how connected we all are. From joy to despair to the unfathomables. It’s difficult to function sometimes in the day to day when you know what’s taking place both locally and abroad. There’s certainly a lot to say about this and how to cope, but nurturing whatever keeps you grounded is vital.

In my previous Moonbox Note, I mentioned wanting to see Gregg Deal’s art exhibition in Denver, and I finally made it down there on the final day of the exhibition. Gregg performed live with a band named Dead Pioneers and spoke afterward about his work and life, which was all really neat to witness.

In early March, the NoMan’sLand Flagship Film Festival took place, which I volunteered for once again. This year it was a two-day event at the Denver Art Museum and I was able to reconnect with or meet new people, THANK GAWD — something that has been largely missing from life (no surprise) due to the pandemic. I absolutely love seeing how the film festival grows every year and how it inclusively reflects the outdoor industry more and more.

ReNew Earth Running just closed their application period for year 2 of their Running Team. I reapplied, so we’ll see what happens. Either way, I plan to contitnue to support the organization no matter the outcome.

The North Face just launched their new Athlete Development Program: a more accessible way for people to apply for sponsorship and mentorship with the brand. They are offering 2-year contracts for 15-20 emerging athletes.

SCARPA North America is also seeking applicants for year 2 of their SAMI program, SCARPA’s Athlete Mentorship Initiative, where SCARPA Team Athletes pair up with athletes from historically marginalized communities to help expand their sport or career.

Wings of America is running a Pursuit Program Fundraiser Feb. 21st through Apr. 18th to “provide American Indian High School Juniors with an opportunity to broaden their horizons while experiencing one of the greatest foot races in the world, the Boston Marathon.” For 2022, Verna Volker and Dr. Lydia Jennings are volunteering to train for and run the race in order to help raise funds for the program and its future students. Additionally, they are chaperoning the 2022 Program Juniors that will be traveling to Boston. Consider learning more via the link provided above and/or click here to donate.

Birthday Shoutouts:

-My awesome California lady friend and massage therapist, who I call Rocky Racquel, had a birthday on the 10th.

-California homie-hermano Alain De La Tejera had a birthday on the 15th.

-My dad’s birthday is coming up on the 21st.

-Photographer and adventure friend Eliza Earle has her birthday on the 30th.

And HBD to all March birthdays (duh)!

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Recent Top Pick Reads:

+ “Reason Enough,” by Sherrie Weller, River Teeth Journal. Short prose about adoption and yearning.

+ “The Tree in the Back Yard,” by Michelle Yoon, Orion Magazine, with audio dictation available. Short fiction about a climate-changed future and the voices of the deceased.

+ “I didn’t know how to write about my sister’s death—so I had AI do it for me,” by Vauhini Vara, The Believer Magazine. Poignant vignettes of Vara typing longer and longer story prompts and an AI program protracting the reality of her grief forward.

+ “Running to Renew,” by Guarina Lopez, Trail Runner Magazine, Spring 2022. Essay about the #LandBack movement and the organization ReNew Earth Running.

Books on the Shelf: (same as last month — I’ve been very slow on the Book reading front, but I did finally finish Orion Mag’s 2021 Spring Issue at least, ha!)

+Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

+Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses

+Thin Places by Jordan Kisner

Recent Listens:

+ “Faith and Addie on the Identity of Being in Between…,” The Trail Ahead Podcast, Episode 13, March 2022. Diversity, identity, outdoor sports, etc.

+ “Sarah Manguso on the Coldest Silences,” Thresholds Podcast, Episode February 15, 2022. Writing craft, literary industry, race, etc.

Patrick ascending skyward.

Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)

+Short Creative Nonfiction Essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology: Finished Draft stage. The book is currently due to come out Spring 2023.

+Creative Nonfiction Essay for Alpinist Magazine: in edit phase, next draft due in 3 weeks. Summer 2022.

+I have three general submissions in the ether. A short prose piece for Western Humanity Review, a pitch proposal for Orion Magazine, and a prose poem for River Teeth. I received my letter of decline from Brevity Mag, once again, for a piece I submitted in January (I’ve submitted to this Mag the most I think, but it’s a bucket list magazine, so I’ll always keep trying).

+I applied for the Death Valley National Park Artist in Residence 2023 program at the end of last month. Notification will take place in October 2022.

+The hybrid essay I wrote last year, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some revision before I submit again.

+I’ve revisited my Science Fiction short story, which has been fun, so I hope I can keep up the progress and finish the manuscript this year.

MISC/Brags:

+ Photos from a shoot I was a part of for Swiftwick socks have shown up here and there on their website/Instagram!

Photo: Daniel John for Swiftwick Socks

Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.

Happy end of winter/Happy spring!


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