(EXCLAIMER: I do not watch "Duck Dynasty", I do not follow the Red Sox, I would never wait til November each year if I didn't want to shave for a month, I love the people I meet at beard competitions but I'm not there to win and I am not "cool" or "the man" because I made the choice not to shave)
A few years back when I was discharged from the Marines my intentions were not to grow a beard. I had shaved every single day, sometimes forced to shave twice a day for the previous 8 years. Simply put, I just didn't want to pick up or purchase another razor ever again and the beard began to leap from my face...
You could say it was a rebellious act. I wanted to walk a path completely opposite from the unfathomable reality I had just endured for so long. I had an idea and pursued it with a sense of grandeur. Not once did I looked back and as my beard grew, so did I. Never having been off the East coast I traveled 12k miles around country with no plan but to witness these lands I had been "protecting." Then came the Appalachian trail, hiking 2,184 miles over mountains from Georgia to Maine. My journey spiraled from there, volunteering at a tree house hostel in GA, making 64k pounds of honey in the orange groves of Florida, spending a summer in my tipi on 40 acres of land I just purchased deep in the Southwestern Maine mountains, living a wilderness education in Northern Maine and undertaking a truly wild snowshoe expedition on the border of Canada and Minnesota. These recent few years feel as if decades have passed...
Upon my discharge I had no idea where I was going in life. Rather lost in this existence but I had a positive attitude, keeping my heart open and always smiling. Never did I say No to a new opportunity and I met thousands of wonderful, beautiful, inspiring beings along the way. Connecting with the natural world and all the people my path had crossed was astronomical to my physical, mental and spiritual growth in ways I never knew possible.
This is what my beard became a reminder of. A symbol of all the places, people, freedom, happiness, peace and enlightenment I had been awoken to. A new direction in truth and love discovered, budding from a time when I gave up the razor. I almost can't even comprehend my life before the beard.
I am not my beard. The beard does not define who I am. I know who I am, I am ME, I am aware and live by the natural order I know to be true. I no longer need this symbol on my face as a reminder, all I have discovered is within me.
I have transcended the beard...
(Well, this beard anyhow)
|Petrified Natl' Forest|
|A living Education|