Relentless Forward Progress.

Route 128 along the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. Photo by Lauren Daley

WordPress tells me it’s been since 2013 since a post or curated-anything appeared on what was once my only baby, Rise and Tide. For the four people reading this (hey dad!), it served as a conduit to work on some freelance multimedia projects and as a digital trail guide to some of the outdoorsy corners of the internet that bring me inspiration, peace and connection.

All in all, 2013 served as an amazing year of transformation for my wife and I.

We relocated from the city of Pittsburgh, leaving behind friends, really solid and wonderful jobs, my family and city-life to head to upstate New York.

At the time, every time we would cross the border from Pennsylvania to New York, I would feel like I could breath again. The grind as an investigative reporter and a rapidly-filling reservoir of cynicism toward the world, the man, the system, and whatever you want to call it just got too heavy. You are taught to question everything, and then question that again. That makes a great journalist. It makes for a shitty empathetic human, at times.

The moment that cemented the decision for me came in an Allegheny County Courtroom, when a judge dismissed a police brutality case allegedly because of a typographical error on one of the witness’s certification forms. It’s not that my mind was made up on the accusations or innocence of either party. Due process couldn’t play out and the system failed everyone, so what the hell was the point of any of it.

Enter New York.

We got great jobs that gave us great friends, some of the most amazing people we’ve ever met. We got a chance to build relationships on my wife’s side of the house and my wife and I bought our first home, that was full of the promise of every new chapter we ever hoped to start.

I’ve said it to my brother ever time he asks if I’m going to move back to Pittsburgh: it feels like a vacation since we packed up a U-Haul and barreled north on I-90.

And it did, for a really long time.

Until the morning I woke up and my legs were permanently and painfully asleep but also, inexplicably, full of molten lead. The feeling rapidly raced north until it moved past my hips into my stomach and it became clear to many of us something was terribly, terribly wrong.

Diagnosis 1. Diagnosis 2. Rediagnosis. Limping. Shitty vision. Shitty feelings. A miscarriage. Running out of time to get pregnant. Getting pregnant. Tumors. Premature baby. Surgeries on the baby. Tumors Coming Back. Developmental Delays. Dozens upon dozens upon dozens of appointments and specialists and MRIs. Imaging for the baby. Imaging for me. Figuring out the mom-job. Figuring out the wife-job. Figuring out the life-job.

Somewhere along the way, I let it all get to me.

Other then social drinking, I stopped doing things that were important to me. Like writing.

Before we moved to New York, I had been a huge ultra marathon and endurance sport junkie. I dabbled in triathlon as a weekend warrior and before Shit Hit the Fan in the health department, I had been training for a really rad and beautiful half-Ironman distance race in the Finger Lakes. Beyond doing that stuff, reading about that stuff, man, that created the fire in my belly, a feeling I get religiously reading (more on that later). I also read an ultra marathon blog iRunFar and its author, Bryon Powell, wrote a book called Relentless Forward Progress.

Relentless forward progress. That phrase burned itself into my mind, and I’ve called on it hundreds of times when it – whatever “it” is – gets to me.

In a stronger moment, I bought back this domain and promised myself to dump some words on here knowing it would just be me reading them, months ago. But then, you know, it – whatever it is – came back.

So here we are today, writing on here for the first time since 2013 for what will undoubtedly be just myself, which is ok.

Maybe because it’s a weird time. There’s a pandemic. Movement is restricted. And sometimes as my dear, dear beloved obsession of Joni Mitchell wrote, “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone” (I realize how beyond cliche’ it is to quote that right here) Maybe that’s the loss of freedom to move around, or go to the places I always tell myself I want to go but can’t seem to get myself there like the climbing gym or the library or to set up interviews for freelance pieces.

Who knows where any of this will lead. We’ve got to try, right? It’s all about relentless forward progress.

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