I went on a poorly conceived 3-day camping trip in the Catskills with a friend. Wilderness, campfire and star filled sky was what I had in mind. Except my trek mate’s ODC got the better of him and a simple weekend unraveled. We called it quits after two days and came back into the city. I stayed with another friend for the extra night; I had rented my apt to Aussies touring the US for the long weekend.
I walk across Madison Square Park with my pack on, a purple 65-liter Osprey, she has travelled the world with me. The random holes and the sporadic mending jobs marks the roads she’s seen. Dressed in fleece and cargo pants and the backpack, I am suddenly anonymous and I see the city with new eyes.
“We already are. Do you not see that?” Those words ricocheted around knocking me loose from this neither or place I’ve been stuck in. Yes. I am. I see it now. I am what I am. I wouldn’t love being the road as much if that is not where I belong.
Dear Box of Should(s),
You are filled with lovely things: children, family, 401k, single track career, paid vacations, stability and more. Except you are not for me. We all live in boxes of some sort, I’m not that delusional, but I will create this box myself. I cannot be contained in you, contorted out of shape, and poking at you from within. Let’s call this for what it is… you are not meant for me and I am not meant for you.
The final bell has rung. This thirty some odd year fight is over. I am what I am. I am an explorer. I belong in the world, not inside of you.
A woman named after Charlemagne
Searching, exploring, thriving, questioning. These are character traits and people don’t change that much. I will be like this the rest of my life. It’s time to accept that.
I drop my passport off at the Pakistan Consulate. A short two-week stint through the Northern Tribal territory with a friend who is made of the same things as me; dangerous and remote, chasing goose bumps. What will my box look like? Love and partnership, fortune and legacy, children and home —- I don’t know and I might not find it all, it will be different than advertised —- that much I know.
Disguised as a traveler, I hop on the A train and head home.
Part 1, The problem with re-entry
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."