Category Archives: Long walks

No vlog today. Not for a couple of days. Maybe not for  a couple of weeks.

Going on hiatus. Unplugging from the internet for a while. Except, I think, for twitter and the occasional blog.

I need to concern myself less with presenting what I’m doing and actually get busy doing what I set out to do in the first place.

I hope the first ten vlogs were a good look at what the next few weeks might be like; not glamorous, not adventurous, not really worth documenting every other day. Just getting down to work. On the road. Sitting in libraries and looking for ghosts and surfing friend’s couch to friend’s couch. Vlogs might still surface, but when they do I hope they’re more illustrative and interesting. If you’ve watched this far, thank you!

and no worries, big things in the next few weeks

Across the street from the west side of the Colorado State campus is a Planned Parenthood center, tucked behind a Qdoba and a travel agency. Outside it, on the street, when the temperature is over 45 degrees, moralists stand with signs condemning abortion.

I don’t play politics. I think politics is a hateful and toxic realm. I like constructive discussions, but even then they have to be approached casually, open-minded, and usually with some degree of meta-awareness to help keep folks from getting too heated. Most of the time I avoid opinions because 1) I usually don’t know enough about the matter or 2) because whoever I’m discussing the issue with will likely not want to change their mind, and frankly, I probably won’t want to either.

One of these moralists was standing lonely by the brick wall today with a sign reading “Be thankful that your mother chose life.”

And from this I was struck, not in a political sense, but in a cosmic one, where the grandness of the universe dwarfed both moral debates, or late-night heart-pounding decisions, (or next-morning heart-pounding decisions, or next-month heart-pounding decisions).

My mother indeed chose life. As did yours. Whether it was an accident, a plan, a pleasant surprise, or a stressful decision.

But she was one of a series of decisions. Stray bullets missed, ill-timed illness dodged, a “holy shit!” moment and that kind of awkward laughter when you ran a red light and narrowly missed collision, when your horse threw your greatest grandfather and he lay, broken, wondering if he’d be found in time, a long walk on a cold night.

Further still, atoms colliding, hydrogen and helium in supernova spectacle, manifest oxygen, carbon, bubble forth this life, your parents, their parents before them, gasses of space, light years and that perfect distance from a star.

How many hundreds of trillions of voices of those who could-be and could-have-been cry out,

thousands lost in a stray bullet, the silence in the space after shrieking metal where the laugh should have been, the chill wind across cooling skin, a baby’s cries each time the deed is done or a box of contraception purchased.

I don’t know when contraception turns to abortion, where prevention becomes killing,


that death so empty,

the part that draws tears, for me, at funerals,

of what could have been,

rings in silence the same way as any other death, but more universal, more pressing,

and so surrounding, emphasizes both the

vastness, our own insignificance,

does it matter anyway, so long as we are alive, were alive, will be alive?

Because equally, from this vastness we came

by design or guide or happenstance or

from gasses we emerged, and somehow beat the odds, and someday too will be

what could have been.

Be grateful your mother chose life,

be grateful the universe so aligned, that from one ripple you rose,

you. only you.

and wonder if it would be a different you had they waited, killed, miscarried, later conceived,

and then wonder at the others until you join them anyway.

But if it makes you feel better, wonder of the ripple, study your hand or your skin or your lungs or just the fact that

you’re here at all.

What Could Have Been

The October Collection (november has come)

“Something is starting today
Where did he go? Why you wanted to be?
Well you know, November has come
When its gone away.”


Well you know, November has come.

Copyright 2010 Karl Pfeiffer

The October Collection (part 4)

The children are excited for the night. There is some rush that gives their bloodstream a special energy and they stare eagerly through the windows at the dusk. Vampires wearing gym shorts without cloaks stare through blank window panes at the gray of the twilight. Their hearts race. Their feet dance on the ground with impatience.

Doorbells ring, interrupting toasted cheese and soup dinners, early tricksters arriving on doorsteps. Children strain their necks to see who is there. Parents dish out candy. Anticipation building, they eat their food all the faster in order to journey into the shadows.

Screams and laughter echo through the neighborhoods. The smell of smoke accents the air.

From Hallowtide

Copyright 2010 Karl Pfeiffer

The October Collection (part 3)

“A child looking at ruins grows younger
but cold
and wants to wake to a new name
I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring…”
W.S. Merwin. The Love for October



Copyright 2010 Karl Pfeiffer

The October Collection (part two)


What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted specter, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scouring!
– – – Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“)



Copyright 2010 Karl Pfeiffer

The October Collection (part one)

“The sun sets on the fall afternoon, lighting the grass, trees, and plants with a golden orange hue. The sky is that perfect purple shade and the air has a nip in it just warm enough to keep the shiver from coursing through your body. Dead leaves litter the sidewalk. The grass is neat and the trees that have not lost their leaves are the rich rust color of late October, before the dead November. It is vibrant, warm and alive, yet whispers, hinting at the cold that night will bring.”

from Hallowtide


It’s early, still. October is only still in its infancy. There are still trees unlit, the pumpkins are still waiting. There is a breeze on the air that still smells of summer, and every so often the lightning will still flicker across the eastern sky.

Give it time, relish in the color, the richness, the warmth.

Autumn celebrations were about preservation, about hope, about facing those fears of the dark and cold that the winter would surely bring.

More in time.



Copyright 2010 Karl Pfeiffer

The Great Gray Beast of February

Thought I might get out of the house today and take some more pictures. The haze outside that kept the sky a flat bright gray darkened over the hours into an overcast we’re not generally used to here in Colorado. They’re calling for flurries later this evening and tomorrow.

After playing with settings and toying with overcast lighting versus normal outdoor lighting, I’d taken upwards of 200 pictures by the time I wandered down the street back home. After endless tweaking and staring at the preview screen in the brightness, sunglasses dangling from my mouth, I’m really overjoyed to see my camera has come through in brilliant fashion, finding color where even my naked eyes couldn’t.

There’s something about a gray February, after the used, hard snowfall of January starts to seep, after the snow tries to melt but is still hindered, too many of the days dropping temperature to keep frozen patches. The tree branches are barren and brown. The grass has yellowed and the weeds are dead.

I focused on those places that reacted like February, where the water reflects, the sidewalk cracks, the color drains. It’s more than just a season waning. It’s a dystopia longing for a Spring refresh,

a world waiting for a surge below its surface to send shoots of blossom, new skin below a scab, a warm breeze from the west, that taste of something sweet on a wind and the way the air tries to tease at your hand, the evenings stretching to make room for more days.

But for now we have February and it’s supposed to snow tonight.