the ides have come, but not gone.
17 March 2012 § Leave a comment
Two days ago, on the Ides of March, Julius Ceasar’s deathday, I opened up my email inbox expecting to find little more than a newsletter or two, perhaps a wordpress reminder that someone posted a new something or other, and maybe even a note from someone I liked telling me about their day.
What I found was immense. It was a city block of letters and love from all the lifetimes of mine that I’m most nostalgic for, a veritable scroll of good wishes and how-are-you’s, with a few I’m-sorry’s and I-hope-you’re-well-but-you-still-owe-me-money’s tossed in to make things interesting. I looked at the bold-text list of people I hadn’t spoken to or seen in months or years, felt my heart jump once, twice, and then skip as I saw names of past lovers and smiles next to them, people whose lives had made mine better to celcius degrees unimaginable, and some whose paths I had crossed mistakenly and later never once had a problem admitting that I was wrong.
One reminded me that a year ago tonight we walked the streets of New York City, post-travelphilosophy over Jameson shots, waited in Central Park, backs to amphitheatre concrete, for the sun to rise, it’s solid focus over the steel mirrored buildings of the Upper East Side almost more than our chattering teeth could handle. The city was waking up, unfortunately so soon, but we had places to go and things to learn, like how to cross a street in commuter walking traffic and to not smile so much at the hotel security guard on the way to the elevators – it was New York, and they get suspicious there.
My first year commercial fishing in Alaska was exactly what I needed then – I’d let my whole life collapse around me, sometimes helping it along with a sledgehammer, and I’d found refuge in solitude and work on a remote part of Kodiak Island, on the west side, overlooking the grand and lovely mountainscape Katmai National Park and coyly looking at the girl who worked at the Larsen Bay Mercantile, at the cannery a forty-five minute boat ride away from our cabin, Larsen Bay a population-50 village the only civilization nearby. We traded letters – delivered by seine boats across the bay – for the summer and good wishes later, when she went off to study something meaningful in university, and I started traveling as a newly discovered technique for breathing. Six months ago in San Jose, in a moment when I’d had it with the study-abroad crowd and wanted familiarity, I found our string of emails from later that year, when I had ventured off to walk across Scotland and hitch around Ireland, and wrote her a note. She got back to me, too.
And so it goes.
Since Heather and I got back from the festival and visiting my friends in Costa Rica, I’ve been reveling in the wonderment of my life (and trust me when I say that it has been bloody extraordinary).
Before, I thought that I’d only just now reached this point of relative happiness – living in the mountains in Panama and working for fifteen dollars a day with locals with whom I get along well, being in a relationship with her that stretches my soul in directions it does not always want to (like Out and Up), but is better for nevertheless, and gaining a comfort with myself, with whom I am and for what I have to offer – stories, perspective, and hard questions, to name a few – supported by a community with every necessary element to balance and support itself: craziness and peace of mind, bravery and fun, a sincere want to grow and meet its potential with all of its great heart, and lots and lots of love.
I was convinced that I am the best, and by far my favorite, me that I’ve ever been – up until I looked at my inbox and saw that I’ve been that me all along. I’ve taken what I’ve had to work with – which has been not much at times – and done everything I could with it. I once claimed contempt for people and society, but feed and thrive off connection. When I needed to cope with myself, I found my drug. When I needed to travel, I went, and when my quench for exploration didn’t work, I went into myself to see what was there. While it wasn’t what I expected, explore I did, and therefore learned, which is a high enough purpose when others are lacking. Some of those I love have been subject to this quest, while others co-conspirators. I’m grateful for all of them. For you.
I suppose that it’s time to reply to some emails.