It is my birthday. Fifty-one spins around the sun and who knows how may more I get to take. The journey is still interesting. Slowly I am getting to be more comfortable with who I am as I begin to unravel that who I am is not at all what I thought it might have been and yet everything I have always been. Makes no sense at all, does it? My mantra: I don’t know.
Eight years ago, somewhere over Texas…..
New Zealand already seems like a lifetime ago even though it has been just 24 hours since we left the ground in Auckland. Here we are, still in transit.
After so much time invested in the last two months, it seems unfair that the memories, the feeling, of being there can pass so quickly. More lessons in impermanence, a reminder to take care of each moment because it is already in the process of dying. Travel only takes us away during the time it is occurring. As soon as we stop moving, the old, sedentary world comes rushing back into all the spaces that were so recently filled by the wind rushing past as we soared down mountain passes in the Southern Alps on our bikes or bloated by views of an endless blue sky set against the green of the sea and yellows and browns of the land.
Below us now, the Mississippi is meeting its end in a tangle of channels, lakes, and marshes splatter painted in a fan across southern Louisiana. Its waters are becoming a part of the Gulf of Mexico. Our path will likewise be splintered as the demands of jobs, others, and our own distractibility, plugged in once again, take us out in many directions at once. We must strive to find the channel, the depth in our lives that can guide us to what is true and of value.
Like drops of water on a heating skillet, the piles of things scattered across the floors of the house are finally beginning to coalesce. If only they would just evaporate. Most of it I don’t need or even want. But there is attachment. A gift from a trusted friend. Letters from a past life lover. Wedding presents long-stored but never displayed or utilized. Art projects that remind me of how creative I once was.
I read about people who live with very little, even going so far as to erase the hard drives of their computers once a year so that they can start fresh. I know that living lightly brings me joy and freedom. These objects merely reinforce a sense of self that is constantly in motion despite the constraints they attempt to impose on it. They represent a me that is no longer me.
I want to let the waves of change wash this sense of self away, as they inevitably will despite the efforts I make to stop them. I want to be able to shift and change like the shoreline, the storms radically reshaping me, and the calm winds of summer smoothing my contours again. But the self is a beach house, standing in defiance as the waves methodically wash its foundations out from under it.