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Category: Van Life

haiku: 12 August 2022

free wi-fi & a place to poop
all roads lead back
to this suburban library

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12 August 2022
Colonie NY

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POEM: Fitchburg Metta Sutta

Fitchburg Metta Sutta

Kannon Bodhisattva looks down on my van
as I pass below an outcrop of rock
so I do a u-turn & head back for a visit.
The Vietnamese Buddhist temple sits on a steep
hill overlooking a small post-industrial town
somewhere near the middle of Massachusetts.
A journey of two thousand five hundred years
from India to China to Vietnam to the U.S.
ends in the driveway of a 19th-century house
that’s been put to a new use.
Kannon is the embodiment of compassion;
a being who has reached enlightment
but has chosen instead to stay here
with the rest of us until we can go, too.
That kind of work needs to be done everywhere,
& Fitchburg, Mass. is as good as anywhere else.
I walk around the building taking photos
of the statues & the flowers & the signs
(none of which I can read) & then I stop
& bow before Kannon to show my respect
& because I could use some compassion.
A light rain begins to fall.

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6 July 2022
Pittsfield MA

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haiku: 17 June 2022

he looked through
this missing windshield
as the wave broke over the bow

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17 June 2022
Provincetown MA

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haiku: 13 June

to see the van as a ship
the road as a sea
the drive as a voyage


13 June 2022
Pittsfield MA

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haiku: 11 June 2022

a yellow-crowned night heron
gives me side-eye
in Shakespeare Park

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11 June 2022
Pittsfield MA

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To van or not to van?

After yet another van accident last year, I decided I’d had enough. It was time to move somewhere, find a job, and get out of van life and back into an apartment. Eventually I moved to Pittsfield, MA, where I got a full-time job and started saving for the roughly $3,000 it takes just to move into an apartment these days.

After a month or so I realized I should have moved to State College instead to be near my son as he finishes high school, so that’s what I decided to do. I’ll be headed back there late in July. And again my plan has been to find a job in town and an apartment.

In the past few weeks, though, I’ve started to wonder if that’s the right plan. Not the State College part — I’m definitely doing that. I mean the apartment part. I want an apartment because I want my own toilet and shower and kitchen. I’m tired of showering at the gym and pooping at the grocery store and eating mostly prepared food. (My current van set-up doesn’t have a stove, although it used to and could again.)

All those things, though, could be present in a better van or a tiny RV. My son plans to leave State College when he’s done with high school, and I plan to leave then, too. If I could find a remote job, I wouldn’t even have to start the dreaded application process over again when it’s time to move. And if that were true, and I had a better home on wheels, maybe I could live the nomad life I had hoped to live when I started this whole journey in December 2020.

Nobody to whom I’ve said any of this has supported this idea. Everyone just reminds me how much I want to be out of my van. But I don’t know. Do I want to be out of a van, period, or out of my series of busted minivans? I have more thinking to do, and in any case I won’t be able to act on either path until I’ve saved up more money, so some thinking time is built in.

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haiku: 24 May 2022

sparrows in the trash
breeze moves the bushes
my towel is nearly dry

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24 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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