Saturday, May 10, 2008

Desolation Alaska

I'm just lazing around Saturday putting things away, packing, pondering the next phase of life. And I needed to write, I mean really needed to write, so settle in and open up cuz this is gonna be a long one.

I used to have a fantasy sort of ethereal feeling about my dreamy summer coming up. Like how spectacular it was going to be finally getting off the island for a while and being in the sun with friends and family. But right now, in this moment, with my house all destroyed and my life on the pinnacle of yet another change, I find myself yet again worrying about how things are going to turn out. I hate worrying but it is something that defines who I am.

You see, I used to use the thought of this summer as my rock, my safe haven of thought, no matter what was happening here in the thick of all the efforts and trials and lessons and mistakes, I always had summer to keep me grounded and firm. Now as the lines between the trials of now have meshed with the dream of the future, I realize once again the dual necessity and danger of plans and dreams and hopes.

I am a firm believer of trying to be happy now (because its hard and if you can do it then the rest will work out). And, right now, I am anxious, nervous and stressed. I don't even know if its like a bad stress, its a good one too. There is just so much sensation, and people, and moments, and time unraveling right before my eyes. We wait for these keystone moments all our lives and when they happen we wonder why it doesn't feel like we thought it would, we want something different than what we dreamt.

The grass is always greener on the other side, or at least it is in your mind, and then when you're skipping through the other sides grass basking in the greeness of it all you think "I don't even know if this green thing is what I was looking for." And you look to another other side of grass seeing a new shade of green, a new inflection of a hue you never noticed, and that grass isn't greener its just a different green, and you want it. The grass isn't greener on the other side, its just grass, but its not the grass you're standing on and that is important for some tragic reason.

I am also very aware of some new things that are happening as a result of this big change. People have come into my life, or just started to appear again. With more people brings more interactions and also the eerie realization that not only have they been a part of my dreams but that I may be a part of theirs. And, if this is causing my nervousness, anxiety and stress (good or bad) then they must be experiencing it too in some form or fashion.

Alaska. Man, what a trip. I know what it is about this place. This is a state of separation. An almost alternate dimension or reality where everything is separate from the past or future. Its possible to forget about those things, and lull yourself into a new sort of sedated experience of life that doesn't always include your real life from before or after. Alaska is a lost world of now. And, everyone I meet here is part of it. They're either just beginning to walk through the timefield of Alaska from "somewhere else," or they're leaving it for "down there" or "somewhere else" and then there are the people who are totally here born into it, or completely in it, with no concept of leaving for somewhere else or coming back from there, and when new comer people come from in these other dimensions and point out differences it stirs that cold dark realization that this place is a separate world. In my opinion, this is truly why outsiders are often met with caution. People don't like to be reminded that they are not truly a part of the global experience by a person meandering through, or in opposition that they have chosen to leave the global experience and someone is bringing it to their door. The only true way to integrate in Alaska, with people of Alaska, is to kind of forget about other time and other worlds.

This is something I just can't do. Fortunately, wait I'm not sure, or unfortunately maybe, I'm always connected to the global experiences I've had, the ultimate infinite possibility of life. The concept of being local is something I've sadly forgotten. I don' t feel local anymore. I just feel like a wanderer. And I remember being local at times in my life and seeing a wanderer cruise through, almost leaving contrails of something incomprehensible in their wake, and being interested and scared of them and their movements simultaneously. Fundamentally, outsiders move different, look different, smell different, talk different and if they stay long enough melt into everything around, locals equally absorb the difference that the wanderer brings into their own world in a small undetectable way and the wanderer too absorbs quantities of the local essence into his/her vast library of collections of other locals and their ways.

The ultimate truth though is that a wanderer will always move on. I have so many parts of me in different locals around the world, I have small inflections from all the small places I've been. The words I speak, the clothes I wear, they all come from somewhere, the music of my internal soundtrack comes from all the parts of my life, little things and it blows my mind. And the thing is that I think the truth about wanderers is that they are in search of something incomprehensible. A place to call home, their home, their local place on earth, where they can call it their time. And its a blessing and a curse. Wanderers get to pace the world looking and taking in all the amazing things about everything in different places of the life, while also being cursed to realize that it is, once again, not their home. If a wanderer is lucky enough to find a place where they fit well enough to stop then they miss out on all the wonders of places yet to wander.

What do we do? I look so hard sometimes I can't see the obvious. And then it hits me, this driving force, this genetic need to move along is what has propagated the human race across the globe. Some of us need to stay put and some of us need to move on in search of a non existent home so that we can spread ourselves into every corner and orifice of this earth. And that mechanism frightens me.

And so I leave it, Alaska, again, to return apparently in August, and I don't know how I feel about that. I've never returned to a place treaded before like this. I've never been back to somewhere far away. I just move on because I want to find a location that is me. And I don't also because I want to keep pokin around this big world there is out there. Either way I'll still be looking at this big ass field of mega ultra green grass on some other side that is definitely greener than the one I'm in.

Jack Kerouac writes this as he leaves camp at the end of "Dharma Bums" after spending a whole summer completely alone in a fire watch tower on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades of Washington going crazy:

"I don't know when we'll meet again or what'll happen in the future, but Desolation, Desolation, I owe so much to Desolation, thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned it all. Now comes the sadness of coming back to cities and I've grown two months older and there's all that humanity of bars and burlesque shows and gritty love, all upsidedown in the void God bless them, but Japhy you and me forever we know, O ever youthful, O ever weeping."

I would like to rewrite this for myself:

"I don't know why we'll meet again or what will happen in the future, but Alaska, Kuskokwim, Nunivak, Mekoryuk, the bush, I owe so much to you, thank you forever for guiding me to the state of mind where I learned all about myself. Now comes the reality of coming back to the cities and people and I've grown almost a year older and there's all that humanity of bars and concerts and shows and reckless love, all inside out and in chaos, I hope for them, but bush wanderers you and me forever we know, O ever adventurous, O ever apart."

Like ol' port drinkin' Jack, I too say "Thank You" gratefully and "Blah" with a sly grin as I also head down my trail back to this world.

1 comment:

Susan Iverson said...

I can't decide if you will ever really leave your Alaska adventure behind, even if you never return I believe it will always be inside of you. I am so proud of the way you have taken on the challenge of solitude and become so self aware and at the same time, so aware of those around you, near and far. You are a special person and I can't wait to have you home, even if it is a brief moment in time. Love, Mom

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