Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Out of the fog

The city was shrouded in a high fog this morning, thick enough to shorten the tallest buildings by half, altering the landscape of my morning commute. Rare to see... 

A couple days ago I was talking with a good friend of mine, who has known me for over I guess half of my life now, about my wanting to move, to leave my current home. She reminded me, saying so as if it were just a well-known fact, that I am “not a city girl”. 

I forget that sometimes. This city has worked its good and dirty magic on me for a long time, and it has certainly changed who I am, in many respects, not all for the worse. But in my heart of hearts, where I am happiest and most at peace is not here. I don’t remember the feeling—it’s been so long since I spent any stretch of time in a natural state—but I remember the thought, upon returning from weeks on the trail, on one island or another, outside for days on end, breathing freely and seeing clearly… it was so obvious, and without question I knew, that for all my doubts and reservations, all the uncertainty and challenges…my health and well-being, my senses, my life depended on getting out of the city, for good. 

In and out of dreams this morning, as I was waking up, that question crossed my semi-conscious mind… where do I really want—perhaps need—to be? I saw the city skyline, so familiar in its shades of brown and blue, the green rooftops of city hall, buildings stacked upon buildings…and suddenly they began to recede, passing below me as though turning with the Earth, changing form and scale, as on the horizon there appeared a body of water, expanding until it stretched as far as sight... In a moment of recognition just before I woke, there was a large splash, as though something had just dropped out of the sky, or come up from below. A stone, a whale, a dream... 

It was slow morning. I put the kettle on, brewed a French press full of tea, with yerba mate for energy and nettles for nourishment, and went out to gather some bright new shoots of lemon balm, for its calming properties. I love gathering plants. Perhaps that is where I am most at home: foraging in the garden, in fields and woods. Coming back into the kitchen with a bundle of leaves, I was met at the door by the memory of picking thimbleberries last summer, scaring up a mama bear and her two cubs on a gravel road, and that sense of pure possibility…of living where and as I ought, as I want, as I need to, with a free heart, and all my senses engaged. 

For now, I am here, still digging into my little place. But this call, from somewhere deep within or far away, asks for an answer. There are many things to consider, about where and when and how to make this change, but “if” no longer seems to be a question. 

And I have a boat now, with which I intend to travel those waters, wherever it is they might be.

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