Tuesday, December 3, 2013

it's not an adventure until something goes wrong.



I sat on the cliff and watched the fog roll in towards me. You weren't even able to see the horizon line, the mist was so thick. It was turning pink and purple with sunrise and for a moment, I imagined that the sea ended right there--a perfect crease; a folded corner in a paper earth.

Veda stretched out her legs and pressed closer into my side. I thought she was dying the other day and the world became a lot scarier and darker. I had held her in my arms, buried my face into her chest and sobbed as we sank deeper into the back of my car, parked somewhere in a neighborhood I didn't recognize. She's my partner, my sidekick, and more than I could ever explain to you, she is what I love most in the world. It was the loneliest night I've ever had.

The fun of traveling, at that point, had ended. I had left Southern California to escape to the wilderness of Big Sur when Veda got incredibly sick. And after a hellish couple days of vets and plans of emergency surgery and medication, everything became balanced and we made our way to collapse on the coastline.

My hair started to turn to wispy, sea-air infused curls when I was sitting in the grass and drinking the last grittiness of my black coffee. I picked out the things I loved most about being on my own and about being on the road. I love the sound of the camp stove flame roaring, screaming my favorite songs at the top of my lungs with my arm out the window, how my cold hands fumble in the morning through the moves of getting the coffee started. Right at that moment,  I loved how scared I was of the sea beneath me, looking black and swallowing the rocks I had sat on the afternoon prior. But as much as I loved those things, nothing seemed to compare to the idea of home in those moments. I missed the creaking of the floorboards and the woodstove in the living room. I wanted to see the sun creep it's orange rays through the window in the morning and throw my fly line into the Yellowstone River. As most people know, I love the road. I find answers there, and have, most of the time, felt the most like my own self while travelling. But my heartstings ached for home and the comfort of the familiar. I felt like I had been stripped of everything- down to my barest of bones this time around and I was ready to be back.

On that cliff, I made a list of things I wanted to do in the next year and a list of things I wanted to do in my lifetime. I made a list of things I wanted to get better at, and things I'd like to improve in myself. It's been awhile since I've re-assessed my goals and dreams, or at least written them down. Sadness has a way of wiping the slate clean, like starting over. I wrote "Day 1" on the top of the page of my notebook above the list.

Only days after I sat on the beach, my car died. It was a mountain burial, and she decided she was done when we were in the middle of the National Forest. For all the places for her to die, I'll take that place. For the most part, she was great. She had character right up until the end.

I'm sitting in Montana now, 29 days after I left to California. The feeling of restlessness that I've felt for the past 8 months has subsided into a dull whisper. I feel different now, and like I needed a trip like the one I just had to remind me that traveling isn't always the answer.

For now, building on what I have here is more important than seeing something new every day.

I've always been good at travelling and leaving, but on the top of my notebook list of things I'd like to improve in myself was this: to grow where I'm planted.

1 comment:

  1. The famous quote of Muir's about needing places to play in, pray in, etc.. (you know the one) is a wonderful sentiment in many ways. When one is restless it can inspire you to get out the door. It happened to Muir himself, he worked in toxic textile factory and was almost blinded in an industrial accident. Upon recovery he decided to try and walk to the Amazon river and travel it's length. He became very ill (malaria I think) before he even left the country and turned his feet West. He landed at a sawmill in Yosemite Valley. He had traveled as long and as far as any Western explorer. Yet, when he found his home he lived there and explored it and fought for it until he died there. It was in his home, that he authored that famous quote.

    Travel guided John Muir's ideals and gave a tumultuous life direction. But ultimately it was where he made a permanent home that impacted him the most.

    Some people are born with direction, others need to do a little searching. But once you know where you're going it's nice to have a place to leave and come back too that you can call home.

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