I enjoy writing almost as much as I enjoy rock climbing, skiing, and hiking. My writing started ingenuously with poetry. I was not very good at it but that did not stop me. I kept at it, eventually filling several spiral bound books with my meager musings. It gave me the ability for personal expression, to discover through paper and pen who I was, who I wanted to be, and to give a name for my emotions which consequently helped me to understand them. Some of the best poems are those that can document the writer’s inner turmoil and I tried to mimic that through my poetry. One of my earliest poems was simply entitled “Blossoms”:

Apple Blossom I did not mean to hurt you deep beneath your bosom.
Now you are a Lemon Blossom.

Sour but sweet.
You sting but heal.

Now I enjoy lemons.
But I will never forget the fragrance of sweet
Apple blossoms in full bloom.

– Isaac Tait

©Isaac Tait

That poem was born of my first broken heart. Unfortunately for me (and probably for my writing) it was not to be my last broken heart either. And so the poems flowed onto the paper.
As time went on I became more and more frustrated with writing poetry. Putting my deepest inner commotion on paper did not make the agitation subside; it only put a name to the pain. It was my darkest time as a writer.

©Isaac Tait

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;
– Robert Frost

©Isaac Tait

I was at a fork in the road of my writing pursuit: one path darker than the other and so I began to seek out quiet mountain places to ponder. I spent a summer living in my VW Bus in the High Sierra. As the days passed under the tutelage of Mt. Tom and Cardinal Pinnacle, without realizing it my path shifted and one morning I awoke and could not write a poem no matter how hard I tried. I have not written one since those sunny summer days.

©Isaac Tait

My focus shifted and I began writing longer pieces about my adventures in the mountains and submitting them to various magazines. My writing was still fragmented, disjointed, and entrenched in my poet roots so my efforts at publishing were not very successful. It was discouraging but if one thing can be said about me it is that I am stubborn. As a toddler I once sat in my high chair for an entire day because I refused to say “please” when I was ready to get down. I kept writing and slowly my writing became more fluid, smooth, and cohesive and filled with joy, peace, love, and hope. The mountains healed me and allowed me to go through a significant growth spurt as a writer. I wrote my first novel during this phase.

©Isaac Tait

On a recent hike in my favorite area of the San Gabriel Mountains, I was struck with the realization that my time and experiences in the mountains have built one upon the other. Each mishap, epic, and even the simple and easy trips where nothing significant occurred are chapters that are all critical.

©Isaac Tait

Once again I feel a change emerging on the horizon. This chapter of growth in my writing is ending along with new passions emerging that are awaking new possibilities for adventure in the mountains. I have come to realize that there is so much more beyond my horizon and my wildest imaginations. Likewise there is so much for me to write about that my mind sometimes feels like it may explode. Everywhere I turn, both in my writing and in the mountains, I see endless opportunity. I am inundated to the point where I find it hard to focus on any one thing. I will often sit in front of my computer ready to write and yet nothing will come forth. I feel like I am in a forest of writing opportunities but I just cannot make up my mind on which tree to climb.

©Isaac Tait

Whose woods are these? I think I know…

…The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

©Isaac Tait

So while my writing is beginning a chapter of refinement, my mind is filled with endless skiing, hiking, and climbing adventures. As I evolve as an outdoorsman, I am also evolving as a writer. And even though the woods feel unfamiliar and the path is unclear, my excitement is unabated, and the butterflies are just beginning to awake within me.

©Abigail Tait
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