WOW: the Walden On Wheels project
Waiting for the other shoe to drop is not the same as it dropping. I knew it was coming; it almost never fails. One sets the internal compass, casts the die; digs out the sextant and calibrates to the North Star. From the moment of inception, excitement builds and the world begins shapeshifting to accommodate a new birth. Manifestation.
And then it happens- the inevitable moment of truth gone wild. As if a hiccup in the matrix, the infantile colic kicks in, disrupting any chance of serenity or celebration. Yes, you have arrived, but arrived to what, exactly? To where? Florida to Chattanooga in February to help an ex-girlfriend and beloved friend through a health issue, then up to New York late May for ordination and seminary school commencement. Hung a left first week in June and headed out to Chicago to have lunch with a fellow seminarian, down to Denver to hang with an old band mate from LA and then further west to meet up with high school buddy, Mark K, at my ultimate destination: Salt Lake City. All that cross country driving with nothing edging me forward but an abstract idea and a slight, inexplicable compulsion that something there was to be unearthed, explained, brought forth, shit out. Brigham knew.
And what of it? If wherever you go, there you are, then what does it matter if you travel the entire world or sit your fat ass down on the Lazy Boy and never move again? Break out the bonbons! Or maybe there’s a correspondence, an exchange between interior and exterior spaces, a multidimensional, mirrored disco ball of reflections-at-the-ready, perspectives to be had, plums so sweet and so cold and which you were undoubtedly saving for breakfast? This is just to say that maybe that ubiquitous quote is wrong- or incomplete, at best- because it matters where you go and, yes, you are there- assuming there’s a there there- but it’s context, stupid. Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. So get over yourself, Jonz- wherever you go is a far more intricate and interesting tapestry of existence than the tattered little flag you’re used to flying, and if you can just manage to keep that in check then maybe there are possibilities for new growth and expansion the likes of which you may never have imagined had it not been for the going. The actual agency of movement, I mean.
Therein lays the conundrum, the rub- it’s the going I actually enjoy, but the arriving? Not so much. Because to arrive implies or demands a certain sense of grounding and purpose and, yes, the dreaded R word: responsibility. Or the A word: accountability. Or the C word: commitment. Many such words exist; words that strike me as anathema to the very principle to which our hero HDT spoke, that of sucking the marrow out of life. They’re all four letter words as far as I’m concerned. F-bombs, mostly. Yet there’s something to be gleaned, methinks, in all of this roaming. (Roam wasn’t built in a day, after all.) This particular configuration of a lifestyle (#vanlife)- however temporary or permanent it may become- is serving as both petri dish and microscope with which to examine the mildewy minutiae of my existence.
Of note was the way Mark took me to task a few days ago when arriving to the work site in my characteristic laissez-faire fashion- which is to say, late. What resulted was a well-deserved parental style lecture from him (worse yet that he sat high atop the scaffolding as he delivered it with gravitas) which was on one level humiliating and embarrassing and on another level the very thing I needed to launch me head first into self-inquiry mode, paying more mind to how I go about life and the ripple effects of my actions and decisions. Not to mention he pointed to a sort of defacto victim mentality I seemed to be operating with, a kind of programming that didn’t factor in the series of choices I’ve made resulting in my litany of complaints and worm-ridden apples. A hard horse of a pill to swallow, but definitively a red one.