Undiscovered islands

Long have I served as the navigator to undiscovered islands.  For more than seven and a half years I have guided myself on a journey with no map.  Much to my surprise I found others following, reveling in the discoveries, enjoying the travels, waiting for the next experience.  Thus is the public nature of blogging.

Through the writs and images here, I have met some of the most influential people in my life, some of the most important people in my life, some of the best teachers I could ask for, and some of the dearest friends I never expected.  I have learned and I have taught.  I have seen much and I have shared a fraction of that through this blog.

As catalysts go, xenogere ranks as one of the most influential in my life, a personal endeavor I began cobbling together in December 2002 with the idea of practicing my writing and providing a communication medium for friends and family.  But it took on a life of its own.  The depth and breadth of the experience grew to encompass far more than I thought possible—or had even imagined.

Throughout this intellectual exercise I have seen life and death in all their splendid glory and all their horrific terror.  I experienced the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows.  And I learned that sorrow is joy unmasked, that the wellspring of happiness is the selfsame chasm from which pain erupts.

Throughout this journey I have learned more than I could foresee when I began.  At the birth of xenogere, I could not have differentiated a great-tailed grackle from a common grackle, I did not know a cuckoo wasp from a sweat bee, and I thought any snake in the water had to be a cottonmouth.

Throughout these literal and metaphorical travels I have seen the best and worst of people.  I found that some wear the internet like a mask so they cannot be recognized as they troll the world looking to tear others down in an attempt to lift themselves up.  But I also found that some wear the internet like a beacon so they can be recognized as they attempt to experience and appreciate this global bounty.

Throughout the personal interactions made possible by xenogere I have discovered kindred spirits worldwide.  There are people out there who approach every personal encounter with the goal of teaching or learning, or the goal of making both parties better for the time spent together.  There are people out there who see nature as art to be appreciated and protected rather than a disposable resource to be squandered.  There are people out there who practice reason and compassion out of habit rather than for selfish ends.

Yet one belief I hold firmly is that all things are made to be broken, that all things end in time.  Hence more and more of late I have contemplated xenogere and the whole of its life.  I have wondered if—or perhaps even assumed that—the time had come to focus elsewhere.  I still have unfinished book manuscripts.  I have travels that dangle like carrots in front of my face.  I have energy that seems destined to push me in other directions.

This feeling of wandering through the final moments of blogging has had me asking if there are no more undiscovered islands.  Has the hour grown late?  Have I lost my way in the twilight of blogging?  Or more simply, have I been at this so long that I’m burned out?

It behooves me to admit that my recent wasp experience was as close to death as I have ever been.  Melodramatic as that might sound, it’s quite true.  My reaction to stings grows exponentially more severe each time it happens, and three at once had me stumbling along the precipice.  Such moments have a way of making us look differently at the world.  No, I didn’t find any gods in the experience, though I do admit wishing for the skeletal hand of Death to pull me away from the worst of it.  And in the end it did give me pause to consider things in a very different way.

At the behest of full disclosure, I must also admit that the potent mix of medication I have to take in response to that medical emergency has always caused erratic and dramatic shifts in my mental and emotional states.  Because it will be several weeks before I finish the regimen, now is not the time for any major decisions.  The heavy fog through which my thoughts now travel could easily lead me astray and leave me lost; therefore, I must not act but must instead wait.

Nevertheless, I cannot deny what I have felt these past few months.  Is this all?  Am I done?  Do I now stand in xenogere’s autumn of years, limbs turning bare and life migrating to other places?

This will be the final post here for a few weeks.  For now, I am simply taking a sabbatical.  I will use this time to focus on getting better.  I will use this time to ponder where I intend to go with xenogere.  Perhaps rest is all I need to discover a newfound passion for this, to realize there are yet more undiscovered islands to be found.  Or perhaps I will discover a permanent silence.  In any case, I’ll post an update on or about August 7.

To those who visit, who read, who comment, I say this: Thank you!  All other remarks from me would be dry platitudes falling at your feet like dead leaves.  So again, thank you.

And to those whose blogs I follow, I’ll still be haunting your digital doorsteps.  What happens here changes nothing about what happens there.

Meanwhile, take time to look for your own undiscovered islands.  Nature is full of them, life is full of them, the cosmos is full of them.

8 thoughts on “Undiscovered islands”

  1. Jason, you made me cry. I am sharing similar feelings and have been wondering, too, what will happen to Mary’s View… Your blog has substance and always provides good food for thought. I’ll miss it here but we’ll still be in touch. When you decide what you want, go for it.


  2. I’m heartbroken to hear that xenogere may be ending its run, so soon after I found it. Good wishes to you, whatever your eventual choice.

  3. Best of luck no matter what your final decision, but “sabbatical” sounds good to me. I appreciate your unique perspective on natural history.

  4. In the relatively short time I’ve been following you (still it’s an eternity in internet time!), I’ve really enjoyed your voice and your amazing eye for photography. I’ll miss it.

    If you come back renewed and better than ever, that’s fantastic, but if you don’t, know that in the sprawling hive of the internet your departure leaves a real void. All the best to you, Jason!

  5. What you’ve achieved here has changed things for the better. Whether it stops now or goes on in a changed form, you’ve created something wonderful. I hope that you may always feel able to share your thoughts and photography with us Jason. But even if that’s not what you eventually choose to do, we’ll all be so grateful for Xenogere and the wealth of knowledge and beauty you’ve imparted on it.

    And if you do decide to travel, put Wales on your list. You’ll always be welcome at Ty Isaf.

  6. Wait, what?

    You’re leaving us? Say it ain’t so!

    We’ll miss the amazing photos and updates. Come back when you’re ready and we’ll keep reading!

  7. I keep returning to see whether there’s anything further from you, and it’ strikes at my heart that there isn’t. I hope that you’re OK and progressing well after your run-in with the wasps. You are sorely missed Jason, though everyone will understand your need for a respite from blogging, and you’ve already prepared us for the possibility that you may decide to stop all together and go in other directions. I’m sure I’m not the only one regularly checking to see whether anyone is home at Xenogere. I mainly come, just at the moment, so that you’ll see a presence at the site and know that we’re keeping watch to see what you decide. Keep well.

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