Thursday, December 01, 2011

En route from Aroostook County, Maine, to Chattanooga, Tennessee

So that's one reason for my continued silence. The other is endless computer challenges, to use a polite euphemism. I'm writing now in the Boston airport, whence my plane departs in twenty minutes. What is it about travel that always makes me want to expound with annoying verbosity to the universe? Maybe it's because travel is still the thing that makes me feel the most existentially alive. That's not redundant, is it?

What I mean is--alive in an existential way. Every inch of me on edge in every bus station, airports, or train station--alert to any change in my environment and those surrounding me. Speaking foreign languages does the same thing, forcing me to be aware to the subtle nonverbal cues I generally ignore.

Maybe it's because I've been traveling alone since I was eleven, or maybe it's just because I can be so oblivious to my physical environment in my daily life. Maybe it's just good for any of us, at any moment, to take a step outside of our normal. So the experts say, at least, if the change is only a different way home from work.

I'm beginning to come out of my fog of loss, a depression lasting an inordinate length of time. Luckily, a month of explosive creativity and the last week of giving thanks have allowed me to move past my grief. My Thanksgiving was small, just three of us plus Shadow, with a wide happy smiling mouth at all of his ham fat and turkey bones. It was intimate but joyous--the first Thanksgiving where I've brought food from the earth to the table myself. Our harvest included leeks in the stuffing, mashed turnips, roasted carrots and parsley roots, and acorn squash pie. It's a microcosm of how the Pilgrims must have felt, looking at the laden table and realizing--this is the fruit of this year's labor.

And now the winter. In traveling 1400 miles, I'm gaining two hours of daylight and thirty degrees of warmth. Part of me feels guilty for abandoning the frozen north at this time of year. A different part of me believes that it's precisely the Maine winter giving me an excuse to wander.

Bringing in tubers from the soil and soaring at 30,000 feet are two things that could not be much more different. How do I reconcile them? I'm not sure I do. I don't know if I'll ever be able to cure myself of wanderlust. I do know that I don't want to.

Maybe I'm just profoundly damaged from being uprooted at such a young age, as any leek or turnip would be. But it's now change that I long for, small adventures to stave off despair. All I can hope for is a balance between movement and stability, my lifelong quest. Now, at least, I have a place that is becoming the stable center around which I move.

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