Sign – Posts – Along the Way from a Melancholy Enthusiast

PART ONE

Two weeks meandering along the bewitchingly beautiful highway 3 and then the peripatetic courtship of vibrant Vancouver and back again.

It had occurred to me to go to a psycho-therapeutic travel agency that may have been able to align my mental disorder with the parts of the planet that would best alleviate them.  Which is why I decided on British Columbia.  My ambition knows no bounds.

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But this time I have a NAV system and an I-phone map app that actually tells me in broken English that I am lost AGAIN.

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So I surrender to getting lost and then found (I hope) as a voyage should take you further than your destination.  Or as they say in Maine – you can’t get there from here.

It is only in the age of the seduction of Smart Phones that large numbers of people can finally figure out why monasteries were originally invented – as in  – a mesmerizing and libidinous escape from reality, culminating in involuntary twitches and an inordinate amount of time spent not sleeping.

But when you really want to disappear – is when you really want to be found. When you really want to run away from everybody – is when you really want to be found, by just somebody.  The things that were. The things that could have been. The rips in my clothes. The holes in my heart.

Thus, being temperamentally disinclined to keep any of my adventures and observations quiet, I beg your polite or not so polite indulgence.

So with life voyages begun so late, I felt there was no time to lose. And then again, there were a bunch of things moving at a speed that would even make a snail say, “Move along, Francis.”

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So I chose to put away the map to get wonderfully lost. (It wasn’t that hard)

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And then sometimes, a woman decides to leave – not because she has given up, but because she refuses to give up.  Who has decided that they will stay in the light no matter what it costs. They will stay in the damn light. Because they’ve fought their entire lives for that light, and they’re not about to give it up now.
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Ah…the pleasure of searching. The luxury of finding.  As the Mad Hatter said, “How you get there is where you’ll arrive.  IMG_2372

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it is. Dare to give up life road maps.  Dare to live without answers.  Dare to live by faith .  Dare to quit when you’re done.DSC_0201

 

 

 

And when you finally recognize that you simply cannot get enough of what you don’t really need – this is the cathedral moment.  There is no point beseeching heaven for a miracle that you would not recognize if you met it at high noon.  A mountain road may be steep but it is also a road up a mountain.

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I succumb to the philosophy that adventure  is one of the five necessities of the truly civilized, next after truth and beauty, ahead of art and peace.

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I drove on, (deliberately this time) to Naramata where I had spent 8 summers awakening.  A little more each time until it was safe to leave.  “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin.  The voices now soft as thunder.

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The past only asks to be remembered.

And it isn’t always darkest just before dawn. It’s darkest in the middle of the night. It’s a light grey just before dawn.

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Climbing back in my mobile hotel, I plugged my iPod in AUX, and pressed “Shuffle”to listen to whatever music came up.  And after a while I realized that I kept having to skip past all the Christmas songs. So many Christmas songs. Which is when I discovered I hadn’t actually put my iPod on Shuffle, but rather at the letter “C”.  And a LOT of Christmas songs start with the letter “C”, in case you didn’t know.The bigger question is why I haven’t taken the Christmas music off my iPod since it’s, you know, August.

Along the path were signs for my soul, guiding me forth to re-member.  (One may note that it is only been religions that have been able to turn the needs of the soul into large quantities of money.)  “You are never a great man when you have more mind than heart.”-Beaucher

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I eventually reached Vancouver and ensconced myself in the physical and psychological sanctuary of being two blocks from the ocean, generously allowing space for restorative  thoughts to hatch (or so I hoped).  I set about to let everything happen.  “Life was never meant to be safe.  It was meant to be lived right to the end.” -Caroline Myss

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Appropriate while sitting in a Starbucks sipping a 195 degree extra hot short mocha with light whip in a real cup and downloading heart rock pictures that I hear Cat Stevens croon – “Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy….”  God, is that not depressing? I’m asking them to change the CD.  I declare, youth is wasted on the young.

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And if you sit here long enough, all the lonely hearts hanging around like dim relatives, show up to talk and talk and talk and talk to you….and then talk about the Calgary Flames when you confess to your lineage.
He definitely picked the wrong person.
I thought that the Flames had been extinguished by the Flood or bad trades or something. What do I know.

And then in comes an eighty’s-something couple arguing very loudly in Estonian or Macedonian, umbrellas flying at each other and we’re-glad-we-can’t-understand-what-they-are-saying. And then again, it might be marvelous.

Four hours, four miles and four dollars later in another Starbucks, I saw her again.  Strange. But said personage bereft of husband/companion/paramour, or he of her.

If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, then we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated.

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I have always longed to meet someone interesting while sipping java in some coffee shop in some part of the world, like a man who just stopped in town to visit his wife and children, but had a second family in Los Angeles who knew nothing about the first. He had five children in all and two mother-in-laws, and his face baring no strains of his situation.

Dining in solitude…
differs little as dining in restaurants, as these institutions are not adept at gathering people into the same space and encouraging them to make meaningful contact with one another once they are there.   Patrons leave restaurants much as they have entered them. After all, there are few more effective ways to promote tolerance than to force the bipolar with the balanced, the geologists with the gentry, the Mohawk with the matronly – to eat supper together.

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By the way, if I had read the above on the inside jacket of a book, I might have searched for a lightly used copy on Amazon.ca.

Signs signs signs.  My world lies upward.

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“For women, the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time.”― Isabel Allende, Of Love and Shadows

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Although this may be at odds with the Jewish legal code, the Mishnah, which commands the following:  ‘For men of independent means, every day. For labourers, twice a week. For donkey drivers, once a week. For camel drivers, once in thirty days. For sailors, once every six months.’

One does not apologize for self discovery.  Or overcoming little bits of soul suffering akrasia –  the perplexing tendency to to know what we should do combined with a persistent reluctance to not do it.

“It takes so much damn courage to be solely responsible for ourselves. And it is so often lonely.” James Hollis, The Eden Project

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And then there is nothing I can do now about the fact that I sold an idealized life to myself, one indisputably at odds with reality. It did not show up.  Maybe it just got tired. Or considering its vast responsibilities in the Maldives, Argentina, Minnesota and Syracuse, it may also have seen something shiny on the road and got distracted.

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I suck at enlightenment.

And yet wine barrels burst if from time to time we do not open them and let in some air. Thus a decent amount of debauchery ensued and was necessary. Seduce and destroy.

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A SECRE   T

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Something he fearfully harbors.  I know what it is.  As if you can lift the thin skin of things.

Truth Telling is good for nothing if we only tell the beautiful and leave out the brutal.  We must be bold or die inside. No one was ever bold without sometimes being wrong.  The truth is the only thing that really serves us, especially when it is difficult. I am not talking about what is true for you and what is true for me, I am talking about Truth.

(If you’re reading this and feel confused and have no idea what I’m talking about, then just skip ahead because it doesn’t pertain to you.)

So I discover and recover and uncover.

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Not one for spending an inordinate amount of time perusing supermarket tabloids while waiting for my peaches to be weighed and accounted for, I nevertheless made an incalculable observation.   Many of the magazines have an inordinate amount of feature articles on how to look good after forty. Advice  predicated on the assumption that one’s appearance had been pleasing at thirty nine.

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But I digress.

Don’t just do something – sit there. Benches I have known and loved.

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Walking miles and miles and miles most every day tripping the light, I-Pod in one ear, the ocean in another. “What a feeling.Took my passions and made it happen – dancing right through my life.”   “Bein’s’ beleivin’.”  Laugh that you lived and dance that you dared, say I.

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“I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want!
Lets do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me…”
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance

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Your life doesn’t sing unless you play.  And you can’t really play — unless you know how to play through the hard parts. And it’s only when you believe that you belong, that you believe you are  beautiful.

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They are under seven and over four and when they ask why you aren’t married and you explain, they said, “Huh. If I were grown up, I’d marry you.”  A genius not understood by mere mortals.

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Speaking of rings (were we?) and baubles and clothes and furniture and lamps and shoes and shoes and accessories and shoes, there is no city ever entered where I did not lay siege to any and all of the above.  Beauty is my religion and it christens me with wonder.  “The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven’t had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there.” ― Yves Saint-Laurent

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And wouldn’t it also be wonderful if one had feet that can wear a shoe without any problems instead of needing shoes made of dragonfly wings that have been hand-cobbled by elves?

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“The present is all that can really be known, and though it is perceived in blocks of time, not moments, dragging around the future wears upon it as much as dragging around the past.  Anybody with common sense looks a little to where he is going, but not so much as to mortgage the present to a dubious someday.” -Michael Drury, Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress

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Going home.
Kamloops will forever more be known to me as the City of Good-byes.  And they are not Good. Painful.  Little pieces of my heart are being driven over daily by Mack trucks along Columbia Street. As I have had to say goodbye to two daughters  when they left home for the first time, twice again when Tessa went traveling and twice again while visiting.  But  I recognize that moments like these may be some of the highlights of my life, as I have raised young woman to live their lives with passions – coincidentally some akin to mine.

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“The greatest success an artist can achieve is the regular practice of his or her passion. If you can’t go after the very thing that you were born to do, you witness the withering of your private dreams, and you suffocate.”  -Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes

And yet it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and buy bread, only kindness that raises its head from the crowd to say, it is I you have been looking for, and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow.

Happy trails,
Karyn

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