24 December 2007

I cannot be played in record player X


I'm trying so hard, honestly. It's just that complications are so tempting and ingrained. I'm king at fretting over trivial decisions. I figure I should eliminate the decisions entirely.

I used to live in the most beautiful place in the world. I grew up there. Funny how I had to move away before I could understand. I'm visiting home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, now. I go for walks at night. It's so cold and clear and dark and crisp, I try to burn the mountains into my mind, and the snowy piƱon-shadowed hills into my veins. The only sound is the muffled crunch of my boots in the snow until I stop and then I'm left alone with my heartbeat and the wind drifting through the trees.

This is where I find contentment. I don't need anything. I don't want anything. My hands and face are so cold they hurt, but they're part of the scene, part of the landscape. I could walk for hours here, where there is more sky and stars than land and lights, I could walk the rest of my life here.

It's so calm. It's not happiness, it's space. Remembering for a moment how to take a breath in a whirlwind. Why shouldn't I spend the rest of my nights walking, breathing? La Llorona, wandering the hills, arroyos, and dirt roads...but I wouldn't be crying, I would just be there. I wouldn't need anything else. No other contact. No other adventures. No challenges, triumphs, failures, or trivialities. Just space.

Simplify. Is that why some people become monks and nuns? To spend the days meditating or praying, to strip away layer by layer to find bare contentment?

If I decided to, I think I could do it. Walk through the nights and eat just enough and sleep just enough in the day that I could continue walking.

Funny how I'm not wired that way. Funny how it's always such a struggle to get myself out the door, to jam my feet into boots and throw on a coat. It's cold and wet outside. Why would I want to tear myself away from this warm couch and warm computer where I atrophy and worry and decay and agonize and and bloat and stitch myself into a pile of discontent? Funny how I never stay walking for long because there are other things I must do, projects that are calling, obligations I must answer. I wasn't wired to mildly step out of everything. Humans weren't wired to be content. We have to keep moving, we have to try new things, find new niches, anything we achieve is forgotten as the next patch of greener grass comes into view. We weren't wired to stand still and catch our breath. Evolution marches on. Our genes march on. Our memes march on. They won't propagate if we remove ourselves from everything to find bare contentment. I'm here because none of my ancestors removed themselves, they kept marching. And by marching, I mean thrashing wildly at the world, life is never ordered.

One day, when I'm old enough, and wise enough, and strong enough, I'll step away and spend my life walking nights. But now I'm young and foolish and brash, and I can't shake the feeling that maybe there's something I should be doing, that maybe I can change something, that maybe someone needs me, that maybe I'm wasting everything by just walking.

Oh man, and in the meantime, sometime soon I'd better spend an entire night walking, just as a nice little reality check to knock some sense back into my head. Or knock it out.

1 comment:

nikki said...

Very peaceful. I haven't felt that kind of contentment of just existing in a while [you know how it is at Olin, the good days are just as hectic as the bad].

I suppose you could do it if you wanted to, but there's something in living a more dynamic life as well. It's all a balance, I suppose. Do we owe the world anything anyway? Is it our obligation to do instead of be?