1. 6/16. Over the stones the tree-line breaks for a few hundred yards. Evan follows the trail northwest where he catches his first impression of the bowl. August begins its bow towards autumn in the golds and ambers intermixed with the heavy injections of chlorophyll that have kept the leaves green throughout the summer. Light fades quickly at this elevation, and the ravine does not aid in the slowing of its departure. The Hermit Lakes’ caretaker hut allows time to rehydrate, eat a bag of jerky, and scout a place to sleep. We stick with the forgiveness policy and continue our search. 

  2. 5/16. At four forty-five p.m., Evan breaks the peak of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Starting late in the day, we begin to scout a place to pitch for the night. One sign advises that all campers must check in at the visitor’s center, and that shelters are on a first-come, first-served basis - unless hikers came from a different angle. Kyle says it is better to follow the 200 feet off trail, and no campfire policy. Filtering through the deep evergreen branches of the foliage, the sun hovers above the bowl. August will close out in four days. Up here, this far north of the city, the allure of fall has begun to show its luster in amber hues. The leaves of deciduous trees have started the final phase of their seasonal lives. Squirrels become more active as they chase one another and the food that will help thicken their coats. Stepping into the light, the stinging warmth of sunlight illuminates Evan as he crests the trail at the Hermit Lake Shelters. Tomorrow, the remainder of the hike will reveal the downturning of seasons. 

  3. 4/16. If there are any streets people outside of Massachusetts know by heart they are Yawkey Way and Lansdowne. In a sentence, either one of these streets - when spoken by a Boston sports fan - usually concludes with “guy” or “kid.” For whatever reason, Lansdowne will be pronounced Lands-down, and kid is spoken as it would be spelled phonetically, guy. Inside the walls of Fenway, Jerry Remy or Dennis Eckersly will spout off facts and statistics about what they consider to the most beautiful game. At sundown, near the end of summer, the outside of the ballpark hosts the beauty of what Boston offers. Backlit, silhouetted, and crowded shoulder-to-shoulder, Yawkey and Lansdowne fill with vendors yakking about Fenway Franks, sausage and peppers, and how the boys will beat ‘em next time, kid. The mainstream, over-marketed, highly-branded, merchandise consuming fans walk through this gauntlet spouting off how the boys could have done it better, and that the one hit from Big Papi was wicked sick, guy. What they won’t see is that the sun’s angle, as it approaches autumn, has illuminated the streets in an orange veneer, or that the humidity has been blanketed by an early harvest chill. They won’t recognize that the days are getting shorter, and the water in the Fens has fog hovering above it during the morning hours, nor will they notice Lansdowne is actually a one-way, and there is no need to look towards Jillian’s when crossing the street, kid. 

  4. Dear mother, this is just survival… #againstme #rocknroll #transgender #punk @againstme

  5. 3/16. Posted downside-up behind the driver’s seat, the 5’9’ hull has become a permanent fixture in the wagon since the water reached 66 degrees and the air stayed above 70 for more than two weeks. Thick through the middle, its mid-point an inch above center, and a blade-thin tail balanced with Skip Frye flex-fins, the 2 + 1 setup pushes through the waist-high sessions. If the buoy readings blip up to four feet or more with a fourteen second or higher period, she holds her spot in the pocket, and drives head high plus sessions down the shoreline. Surfed from the middle, then out to the nose or tail, the width and volume allow for riding styles to vary depending on the wave. Fast, steep, and short, set the trim, stay in the pocket, and hang a cheater five. Slow, rolling, and empty-shouldered, work it from the mid-point to the tail, up then down. In New England, where conditions are never perfect and everything always changes, having a shape like this to pick up the slack or feel the drive coming through a set of flex-fins makes reaching for the skateboard an after thought. 

  6. 2/16. “Well, alright.” Evan takes a look at the waist high chop and shrugs his shoulders. Over the seawall there isn’t much to look at. The tide is running out, and a micro, wind-licked swell breaks on the sand bar. At least every six months we book a flight, board a train, or get in the car to something new. A change of jobs and apartments stymied my end of the deal. On this run I play host. Evan waxes up the BoCrawn - a board passed down over the past decade. Surfing this side of the Atlantic together is our something new. In an hour and a half we take two dozen waves. Most consist of a drop, turn, fizzle pattern. Each is supported with laughter at how absurd it is for us to be getting these little waves. The air hangs at 80 degrees, the water is 70. It’s not Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, or Liberia, it’s my backyard, and sharing that with my best friend magnifies what is important. It’s not where you are. It’s who you are with. 

  7. 1/16. On shore. 3.5ft at 6 seconds. 15 mph. 70 degree water. 80 degree air. It’s dumpy and chunky on the other side of the wagon. Dana flips through the most current issue of Mother Jones. The succulent that has spent two weeks too many in the cup holder gets a dose of salt air to quell its center console woes. Regardless of the poor wave quality, we get back in the water for another thirty minutes. There are more laughs and body-boarded waves than two turn, one hack waves - and that is fine. Waves don’t hit this section of the Atlantic with any form of consistency. The slightest flicker of potential to get in the water is all that is needed for a session in waist-high chop that is as fun - and exhausting - as any session in wind-groomed head high peelers. Whatever washes up quells the lack of wave woes.  

  8. 6/6. In corners and on tables. Nailed to walls or leaned against windowsills. Knick-knacks. Odds and ends. A thrift store here. A yard sale at the intersection where a wrong turn was taken. These objects that hold memories come in different sizes with the strangest of meanings attributed to them. But, they stand for something. A photograph of a friend taken in a cab on a dusty afternoon during the early weeks of the West African Harmattan. The globe that lights up when the switch is pulled, found in a garage sale somewhere on Cape Cod. A Panama hat at the hospital thrift, $8 dollars, worn to keep hair and sun out of the eyes on long beach days. There are more to come, and many still in boxes under beds. Each has its turn on display, some are waiting for more rooms, and longer bookshelves to be propped on. Others are exposed, open to interpretation, always serving as a reminder from that time. Whenever it was. Whatever it meant or means. It is there. 

  9. 5/6. Home. A place to hang one’s hat. A place to lay one’s head. A place that looks different to anyone who enters. A place that means something different to everyone who has one. In each home there is something that stays the same. A picture. An art piece. The table passed down. In Brighton, or a tent, or a stucco apartment in Sierra Leone, it’s east and west facing windows. To wake with the sun. It’s slow delivery of day into a room. One crack, then another, snakes of light climbing the walls until it has become filled. And then. Then, in the afternoon, no matter the hemisphere or latitudinal parallel, it recedes. Slithering down the walls and away from the center, drawn out through the window and onto the sidewalk and into the shadows. Sunglasses, candles, a jar of lint and coins each grasp the retreating day for a moment, bright, full - as though maybe, in this instant, it will stay longer. The one thing that stays the same, always changes.

  10. 4/6. Almost ready. Always almost. The frame before. The one that didn’t make the cut. Dana snuck a kiss. Her face close. My face confused. In this we wait. Expectant faces. Unsure of what, or how many, red dots have gone by and will be the last, long blink before the shutter closes to capture our anticipatory looks. Somewhere between smile and expectation the shutter goes off. Clouds swarm in the background, following the sun to its predictable death in the Berkshires. Below, the Connecticut River sways under the shudders of the highway. Ripples form on the surface where a boat has cut a wake. Still. We wait. Almost ready.