30 Years to Finland

30 Years to Finland

by ERIK ORTON

It’s been 30 years since I’ve been to Finland.  My mother is Finnish.  She moved to NYC at age seventeen to be a nanny.  A few years later she met my dad and they got married.  I’m half Finnish.  I used to spend summers in Finland as a kid.  My last summer there I was fourteen.  My mom worried I would be bored spending all day in my grandmothers two-bedroom/one bath apartment, so she signed me up for a cycling race.  I was big into cycling at the time.

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Wendy and the Surface

Wendy and the Surface

by ERIK ORTON

My favorite part of the class was to lay on the ocean floor and stare up at the surface.  The light shimmered across it, the same way the water sparkled from above, but with a muted, quiet kind of beauty.  I was taking a scuba certification class and I was swimming along thirty feet below the ocean’s surface for the first time in my life.  My body drifted with the surge in unison with the school of yellow fish.  I looked a sea turtle in the eye as it swam toward me.  We stayed below for the better part of an hour.  I was in another world.

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

by ERIK ORTON

El Capitan is 3,000 feet tall, the largest single monolith of granite on the planet.  Climbers come from around the world to attempt an ascent.  It rises straight up from the Yosemite Valley Floor and dominates everything else.  The most prominent line runs straight up what’s called The Nose, the corner where the East and West walls meet.  This is what I wanted to climb. 

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