This is part two of a longer story. Read part one here.

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In the middle of the forest, no one hears me scream.

I’m told I will know my corneal erosion healed from the anterior stromal puncture after about eight weeks. The procedure was seven weeks ago.

The Milky Way paints the sky with the absence of city lights, and the mountain is silent — minus the sound of my haphazard human howling.

I’m alone in a tent with zero medical supplies or mirrors, so I have no idea how bad the damage is. All I know is my cornea healed for seven weeks, and my eyelid just ripped off the healing in my sleep a few moments ago. I turn on my headlamp, but the light is too unbearable. …

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Buena Vista, Colorado

I turn into Leadville and my watch tells me that the air quality is “unhealthy.” I respond by pushing the gas down harder, which in a Crosstrek is more of a dramatic gesture than a way to go any faster.

The week is not going as expected. Due to several setbacks of no one’s fault, we just cancelled a week-long camping trip in Colorado’s southwestern area and now I have several days off without much to show for it. I throw together a quick solo hiking trip for myself as an attempt to salvage some of the time off.

As someone who loves finishing a good list, I have hopes to hike all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot tall mountains at some point in my life. So far, 16 are checked off, with 42 to go. (Note: The list varies by person, I follow the list of 58.) These hikes aren’t the safest activity in the world, so I go with others (or at least a dog). …

It feels like Freddy Kruger pays a visit every night.

In the era of BLM and COVID-19, my problems are minimal at best. I am fortunate enough to be in a safe home with a comfortable bed, and I feel confident that I will be healthy (and employed) in the morning. But morning is far away.

Eye drops, ointments, gels, and pastes litter the floor around me. I have a humidifier aimed straight at my face and I’m staring at the ceiling, afraid to fall asleep. …

Orange LEGO bricks from a LEGO pick-a-brick wall.
Orange LEGO bricks from a LEGO pick-a-brick wall.
Photo by Cameron Naish

What started as a plastic toy (well, wood toy, but that’s a long history lesson) is now a studded, plastic key to creativity. LEGO bricks are loved by all ages, and can play a pivotal role in a child’s upbringing and development. While the bricks are intended to help develop motor skills, creativity, and spatial reasoning, there is no doubt the life lessons of LEGO bricks extend far beyond the plastic studs.

1. You have to break down the good to build up the great

People often strive for good. Good is comfortable, good is obtainable, and good is better than bad. The only problem is those who want more than good often have to start making sacrifices. Sure, this lesson is best learned by people who are trying to thrive in their careers, or get into the best physical shape of their lives. This lesson is also clear at an early age with LEGO builders. Sometimes you have to take a LEGO set you really like and take it apart in order to build something even better. Did I want to destroy my LEGO Star Wars Episode 1 Gungan ship? Not really. But I wanted the awesome window pieces from the set to create a beautiful LEGO tower for my city more. …

Cameron Naish standing in front of mountains in winter in Golden, Colorado.
Cameron Naish standing in front of mountains in winter in Golden, Colorado.
Golden, CO on January 1, 2017. (Photo by Stephanie Davis)

My metal water bottle once featured an REI sticker in the shape of Texas. I tore it off one day, likely on a day I was frustrated with Texas summer heat. I’m picking at the sticker’s residue to avoid looking up.

“But what if you change things for just one person?”

This statement from my therapist makes me pause. About 70 percent of the sticker residue is gone, and now it looks like the remaining 30 percent is going to have to wait for another session where I don’t want to actively look at the person trying to help me.

I finally look up at my therapist and ask him to continue. …

“This is going to hurt. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.”

I’m staring at the Epi-Pen in my hand. The lid and case are below my feet, wobbling on the ground in the parking garage. I can feel my throat tightening, and focusing my vision on the bright yellow epinephrine pen in my hand is getting increasingly difficult as my eyes continue to swell.

Me, sitting on a bench in Friday Harbor, WA.
Me, sitting on a bench in Friday Harbor, WA.
I went to Washington to enjoy a relaxing birthday and it almost went according to plan. (Photo by Stephanie Davis)

I am not sure how and when I am going to die, but I am certain that moment is not inside a rental Toyota Corolla in the basement of a Seattle parking garage on the eve of my 31st birthday. …


Cameron Naish

Trying to live a life worth telling. New posts when I feel like it.

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