Tue 11 Dec 2007
i had to drive today, for work, an hour westward and back in the sparkling cold of a sunny December morning.
i forget that i live on a beautiful piece of earth. i live my life these days between my house and the sitter’s house and the campus i work on, with occasional forays to the grocery store and other such exotica. i stay within the city bounds, quaint little slush-bound urbanite that i like to imagine myself, and forget that on a crisp winter morning there are snow-covered fields only twenty minutes away, and stands of pine with pillows of white blown onto them, rail fences breaking the winter sweep of rolling hills into perfect, shining patchwork.
i forget that i live in a frigging Christmas card.
the change of scenery made me draw my breath in, hard, and open up my eyes despite the glare from the snow.
i have been antsy the past few days, unsettled at my core in a way i haven’t felt in years, the familiar ache of wanderlust and anywhere but here washing over me, taking me out at the knees. i sat at work yesterday afternoon, the mail server down and thus me temporarily semi-incapacitated, and langourously browsed the facebook photos of friends in other places, full of longing for elsewhere, for the other lives that i could be living right now. that longing was once my status quo but it scared the living shit out of me to find it again, just under my breastbone, alive and well, singing its siren song of discontent and disdain and pain that can be outrun.
and yet it was freeing, like a fleeting full circle, to find the ghost of that longing, too. because it was once so much a part of who i was that i thought it would never stop dogging me, that it was as much a part of me as my scars, my tattoo, my laugh. maybe it is, in the sense that it seems to be my default setting. but i have moved beyond it, since i chose this place to come back to almost three years ago, this pretty, secretive, insular place i finally accepted as my home. i learned, years after i left and tramped around forever looking for the Place that would Make Me Happy, that discontent can find you anywhere and every place is worthy of its own special brand of disdain, and most important, pain can never be outdistanced… but can be survived, if one abides. i have not tried to run away in a long, long time. i had forgotten, almost, what it felt like to be in constant readiness for flight…and i didn’t enjoy the reminder, though it brought its own adrenalin to the party, and that was kinda fun, for a minute. it is not elsewhere i was seeking, really….not all those years, not yesterday.
i am learning, always anew, that it is that sense of coming through the other side that i am longing for.
so i abide, tempting though it may be in moments of December slush and the crush of seasonal ridiculousness to run off to Thailand and start a whole new career as a lounge singer.
i am lying fallow, these days, like the land beneath the snow in those fields. i move towards the darkest evening of the year and watch the woods fill up with snow, and am quiet and still, abiding.
but not oblivious to the beauty, even of this place that is not elsewhere and this sadness i cannot yet escape.