Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My life lately has been one big hairball, conflicting feelings tangled together, too matted to rip apart. Part of it, I think, is that I'm getting antsy again. Restless. Montana is calling to me, staggering mountains and cold trout streams with the morning mist settled over them. Utah, too: I want to explore canyons, pick my way through green chasms in the desert. I don't want to go on vacation; that's never been enough. I want to know a place, to feel its mornings unfold without the rush of trying to squeeze a month's worth of exploration into the brief space wedged between bookend workdays. I haven't left North America in four years.

The time I spend driving or laying in bed is filled with daydreams about the places I haven't been. I devour stories and poems and essays that other people write about these places, but they don't fill me up – they only make me more empty, full of longing. There is another part of me with a space to fill too, a space can only be satisfied with a piece of land, a cabin or old bungalow, a garden, a kitchen and a bed that stays in one place. Are these two conflicting desires, or are they one and the same?

I've been hypothesizing lately that some people, including myself, have become addicted to change. Change sets off endorphins or some sort of chemical reaction in your brain, doesn't it? Change the channel, change your shampoo – instant satisfaction. We come to expect new styles and new flavors, we get used to the constant parade of novelty that the media marches in front of us. It's accepted that you can become addicted to gambling or to the internet, but no one mentions an addiction to change.

Some people satisfy their cravings by going to the casino or going shopping; I satisfy mine by seeking out new places. I rarely cry when I say goodbye; friends and family cry for me, but when I get on a plane, all I feel is relief, followed by a rush of adrenaline.

That isn't wholly true. I mourn the past as well. I mourn what I leave behind.

But I usually go anyway. Up until this point, I haven't seen it as running away. I'm not running away from anything – I'm always just running toward something else, grasping for some glimmering speck on the horizon, golden in the setting sun. I've been traveling west, toward sunsets: away from sunrises.
Maybe I have been running away, escaping a fear of being stagnant, stuck, boring, placated. This year, I came back to a place that feels like home, hoping to give myself the chance to fulfill that other desire, the one that wants to stay put, but I'm already daydreaming about leaving. I don't question that I want to stay in one place and cultivate a life from it – I question whether I have fortitude for it. Can I defy the part of my brain that screams for change, and quietly tell myself to stay still? I'm pulled in two directions. My biggest fear is an ordinary life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Nature Blog Network