Coffee and Hitchhiking Songwriters

Today was a typical spring break day. I woke up at noon, ate some breakfast, and realized I didn’t have any shampoo for a shower, so I headed to the store. As I arrived at Safeway, a man was sitting outside the door playing guitar, singing Beatles songs. I immediately thought I needed to do something for him, so I went inside and bought some shampoo, and decided I’d get him a coffee. As I walked outside to ask if he wanted a coffee, however, I chickened out and left, while making myself feel OK by telling myself I would have interrupted him in the middle of Eleanor Rigby. As I left the parking lot and was on my way home however, the feeling came back. I needed to do something for this man. That’s when I realized I had to return a movie to the Redbox. . . which was inside of Safeway. Chance number 2. I headed home, picked up the movie, and made my way back to Safeway. This time I didn’t chicken out, and he wanted coffee, so I bought it for him and brought it out, and we started talking. He told me he’s from New York City, and he used to play guitar in the subway stations. He got laid off from his job, so he decided to hitchhike out to California. He was an aspiring songwriter, and told me about two brothers he knew that wrote “Like a Virgin” for Madonna and how filthy rich they are now. He was now on his way back from California, and got stuck in Laramie for a few days because of the weather.  He got a hotel room for the weekend, but was going stir crazy sitting still that long, so he figured he might as well try and make some money. Later he was gonna go to the library and find some sheet music to learn some more songs.

After about 5 to 10 minutes of conversation, I left, and couldn’t help be a little bit jealous of this man. He had no other options, so he’s chasing a dream, hoping to write one big song to sell to someone, and live off of it the rest of his life. I also couldn’t help but think of how lonely that life would be. Traveling the country, alone, every so often getting a ride with a stranger. I thought to myself I want to be able to help people like that more. I thought about my dreams and ambitions; about how much further I could possibly go if my dreams were in place. I could have invited him somewhere, a place to sit and talk, out of the cold, yet a place where he’d still be close to  the action, able to pull out his guitar and make some money. I thought of how I want to do what he does; probably between 35 to 45 years old, he still has the resilience to chase a dream. I want that resilience. I want to see something I want for my life, and never give up until it’s mine. I want to find something I love, and try to make a career out of it. Something that has a bigger influence than money, although money can do great things. I want to affect people’s hearts and personalities. I want to think of everything I do with the view of how it will affect eternity and God’s kingdom. God has a plan for everything; even for guitar playing hitchhikers.

Apparently I’m a decent writer. . .

For those that don’t know (even though not many people even read these random observations of mine), I was accepted into a writing program in January, and am doing that right now while also doing the whole school thing. Out of boredom, I thought I’d share the essay that the writing school apparently liked, because it led to me getting accepted. They really just told me to write about a memorable moment in life: a moment that stuck out and I’ll always remember. I’ve always been amazed with the beauty of nature, so I wrote about a new experience with nature’s greatness and beauty. I hope you enjoy:

1000 Miles From Serene

Have you ever seen something so beautiful; so majestic, that it takes your breath away? Have you ever experienced the beauty of nature on the open road?  Last March I took a trip to California, and had a moment I’ll never forget. I was going to a town called Redding, and was on my way from Reno. The drive was on a small, two-lane road, and it winds through snow covered mountains the last two hours of the drive. As the road winds into the mountains, signs start to show up announcing the upcoming volcanic national park, Lassen Peak. I wait anxiously to experience the volcano, envisioning a big cone sticking up into the sky, with a cloud covering the top. I start to picture a science fair project, with lava running down the sides of the cone, destroying a popsicle stick village below. My imagination was building, bringing me back to middle school geology videos; to videos of Mt. Saint Helen’s. My imagination had no idea what to expect.

As I drove on, I started getting more and more anxious as to the appearance of this volcano. I started seeing cone-shaped mountains off in the distance, covered in trees, and getting the idea that the biggest one was Lassen Peak. It seemed so unspectacular. It definitely didn’t seem worthy of a national park, and I started to get confused. Time kept passing without a definite peak; without anything snow-capped or picture worthy. I started to wonder if I could even see it from the road, and then I rounded a corner, and Lassen Peak made its introduction before my eyes. I stopped the music, just viewing the behemoth of a mountain before me; covered in snow, piercing the perfectly blue sky. It wasn’t anything like I had envisioned. It was actually very peaceful. There was a tourist village just below the peak, as if the mountain was watching over its awe inspired spectators. It demanded attention, and it was impossible to look away. I found myself drifting between lanes on the road; fixated on the volcano’s beauty. I wanted to drive past, so I could concentrate on the road, while simultaneously wanting the view to last forever. It made me realize how small I was; how insignificant I was in the big picture of life. It made me realize how we can never top God’s beauty, no matter how hard we try. Growing up in Wyoming, nature shows its splendor often. Yellowstone, Devil’s tower, and the Tetons were right out my back door. Lassen made me realize how much I was taking the beauty around me every day for granted.  We have so many things in our state that so many others will never see, things that happen only a few times in nature. We claim over half of the world’s geysers, and I was still amazed by the beauty of a volcano in California.