Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Dreaming of home
Right now, I have a headache. I am sitting in a cinder block room and my eyes are sore from the light that glares through the clouds. It is fall in New England and the leaves have gone past their prime to a point of sickly yellow green and brown. Why am I here? What circumstances have led me to find myself in this particular location? Where would I be if I could be anywhere? I looked at my atlas for a long time last night. What a tiny world. What a big world. No place looks "just right". What an odd place to find myself on the globe. The US looks rather stupid when you look at the flat maps. That this shape, like some bloated running animal should dominate so much of the world's attention in this day and age. I have been dreaming of moving for that past few years- my wife and i fight about it from time to time- she is settled and happy in midcoast Maine. I'm not unhappy, but I have the heart of a rover- and so much about living in the dominant world power leaves me feeling hollow and burnt out. I'm not home with so much of America and I do want a home. My dream place involves a climate, but it is more a culture I'm looking for- a pace of life and an outlook. Unfortunately, most of the planet has been corrupted by the capitalistic foolishness that infects the US. I am of two minds. One part of me tends towards Europe and its cities. I would love to have a garret apartment in Paris or Rome. I would frequent the corner cafe for an expresso in the early morning. I would wander the streets and bridges and museums at my leisure- contemplating the achievements of the major and minor artists of western civilization. I would return to my cozy nook overlooking the busy city and read the new-old book I discovered in my favorite used bookstore- the one with the dog who sleeps in the doorway and the couch with the broken springs. I'd work on my screenplay with Hodding over the internet and write a letter to my sister in Colorado. Late afternoons and evenings are when I would earn my keep, tutoring a variety of young and old people in English. With some of my clients, I would barter. I'd especially love the fresh vegetables I get from one young farmer who comes into the city on Saturdays to the co-op. In the evenings I would stroll to a jazz bar or go to an all Bach concert in a cathedral with my sculptor friend Jedd. But when the weather got too hot and the tourists began to arrive, I would jump on my motorbike all the way to the coast, where I would jump a sailboat as a crew member heading east to my shack in Micronesia. On the tiny island I have my surfboard and my only clothes- flip flops, three t-shirts, and two swim trunks. THe grey ones are starting to get a little too worn and I have to think about replacing them. Maybe I'll swap my friend who owns the surf shop some labor,though I still owe him for the used board I got last year. It's hot out, but not so hot that I'm uncomfortable- not an oppressive heat and not overly humid. Just right so that if I lay in the sun for a while I'm ready to paddle out into the current and catch a few waves. Thee waves aren't really all that big. I'm not looking for a thrill after all. I know I'm no accomplished surfer and the lack of big waves means that this is no surfer's hotspot. That's fine with me. I like the solitude and the uninterrupted landscape. The beach is not picture postcard perfect which means no high rise tourist hotels. There are 607 islands in Micronesia, but only 65 are inhabited. There are only a few thousand people on my island, Yap, and most of them are indigenous. I love exploring the native culture and though I'll never be a native or truly accepted, I like that i have chosen this. I give and take on a purely local level, and I spend a great deal of time meditating and doing yoga- focusing on my breath and tuning into my soul. I wander through the forests and when I get island fever I hop in my dugout and paddle to other islands. I'm getting old now, but I am content. I can feel my life force gently joining another, greater one.