How the hell did I wind up back here, in this tiny, dark space covered with growths of unread books, stray socks and unanswered correspondence? I actually had some ideas to better myself as I was rocketing across the country at the end of my vacation. I would get my license to practice counseling. I will finish the application for Irish citizenship. I will date, I will, I will, I will. When I was a kid I made similar promises. I will get married. I will have children. I won’t dye my hair. I’m still working on those. Unfortunately, my will power is not enough. I can’t make myself married. I have long stopped forcing myself on men so that I could have children. The hair dye no longer works after you reach a certain percentage of whiteness. My biggest wish is to keep the spirit of possibility which blooms on vacation alive. At least I’m not in some crystal house with a big snake after me. Crisis has a way of crushing the spirit of most, but not all folks.
There is a sadness knowing what I didn’t know when I was young, like when you’re lucky enough to grow up somewhere nice, you can’t just automatically return. It takes an investment of time, weathering ups and downs of relationships and the economy to establish yourself as an adult wherever you go. The sea air smells so much better than city air. I was aware of that in some ways but I didn’t know that you had to pay for it! The birds know the best places to live, follow them. Note: only the ravens and magpies seem to be hardy enough to live in great numbers year round in Alaska. They would be great mascots for the oil companies.
Some places, like Alaska, are beautiful in a different way than New England but the value of the beauty is constantly being weighed and broken up into parcels. New England has the sea. People buy up land which sits on the sea but the sea itself is free and it is a treasured right to be able to walk anywhere under the high tide mark. Alaska has seashore, but like the mountains, it encourages exploration only with the utmost of skill and preparation. Everything else is for sale. If we could sell the mountains we probably would, we have plenty of them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of them shaved off in order to sell any number of minerals which would allow us to continue receiving the permanent fund dividend.
My sadness comes mostly from emotional/geographical distance. I know my relations would get tired of me after awhile if I moved back East but my economic exile has been so prolonged I can’t really tell if I would see them more or not. All the theatre groups, book groups, mental health activities I’ve tried to start here, would I have more participation if I moved to a bigger population center? The grass is definitely greener in some people’s yards but it’s not their yard I want. It’s my own peace of mind that I am where I should be. I guess the need for emotional support, laughter and kinship has never been an easy one to meet, unless one is open to finding it in unfamiliar forms. The trajectory of a human life has never been predictable. There is a probability that one becomes like one’s parents or relives one’s birth order role on a daily basis. But what I find worse is that no one will even notice. If Dumbledore or Snape didn’t notice Harry Potter’s eyes then the story becomes less grounded in the complexity of personal history. All these small details, the smells, the birds, the color of one’s eyes can be taken for granted. I know, I done it. It takes other people who care to remind me that love is even present in the vicinity of the raised tone of voice, in the meal, in the silence. This is why I stay close to one place when I travel. I takes that investment of time to get through the attractions and see the color of peoples’ eyes.