Never in step

Stagnant mediocrity at present; a likely side-effect of runaway ambition… Sundry avenues for tomorrow, seldom a worthwhile replacement for meaningful existence…

I am currently visiting the place I recently called home. A sensory overload of mixed emotions; some thankfully forgotten, others regretfully abandoned – has me irrevocably stuck in my own head. I realize with rare clarity the extent to which I’ve allowed my reverence for here/now to become a fault – to reverse itself into something of a situational lapse.  I cannot visit without wondering what life would be, could be if I hadn’t left. Or if I returned as though nothing had changed, foolishly forgetting the roots presently establishing themselves in that chosen “elsewhere”.

The vast majority of my friends and acquaintances have gathered in a house long-established as a landmark gathering point. Adjacent to a sawmill and cow pasture, altitudinally below a horse pasture and in the heart of breathtaking Appalachia, this house of wood and stone encompasses much of what I love and despise there. Housing brilliant minds, unbound excitement and yet untold adventure. But also dreams lost, the basement a physical manifestation of its transience, a reminder of friends once had, projects abandoned, the wreckage of more dramatic fallings out. Piles of garbage represent past roommates, respectively – containing snippets of once-integral members of the group, remaining as a reminder that integrality is but an illusion. Constituency consists of existing members, pushing on with little regard for those past.

Some new drama has materialized since last I visited. Some new members have filled the gaps left by those of us who’ve gone AWOL. But fundamentally, for better or worse, it remains. New relationships have emerged, adding little to the group save a dizzying timeline of intimate associations amongst its members.

There are two extremes, not dichotomous, but easily organized as such. At one extreme is the complete resignation of ones’ mental capacity to the infinite “what-ifs”. On the other sits the state of total forfeit of ties to time or place. The latter amounts to traveling in the time and space immediately before oneself, the smallest and simplest conceptual “now” – around 3 seconds. Between the two exists the spectrum that is life. Each tiny point representing a unique, hierarchical aggregation of “now” and “later”.

More often do we eternally look to the future, allowing a list of “to-do’s” to remain indefinitely. That plane ticket that needs to be bought, that garden planted, those books read. “But what if I move?” “What about my job?” “What else could I, should I be doing?”  This is what I have historically plagued myself with. But here, now, I am struck with throbbing nostalgia thrust upon me by my very presence – (should I have stayed?). I’ve shifted closer to the other end of that spectrum. Only upon reflection do I recall the circumstances within which I exist, outside of this weekend that is.

It is increasingly easy for me to drop recollection of the intricacies of daily life here in the mountains, the more tedious or quotidian of tasks receding in favor of tranquil, peaceful moments cherished. I can grudgingly recall the undesirables, at times lending themselves to a vehement unwillingness to consider moving back; this ability to forever rationalize itself becoming somethign of a schizophrenic internal discourse. I too can similarly consider my ordinary life now – my physical and mental separation forgetting what it is I love and hate. For this moment, home has become a muddled memory, falling lower on the hierarchy of prudent thoughts.

They way in which we (subconsciously) choose to approach and react to life certainly cannot be deciphered in full by the simple spectrum and hierarchy described. But in some way, they are helpful in realizing a hint of pattern in more emotional moments.

As the August sun falls beneath those Blue Ridge mountains, the crisp air makes it hard to rationalize ever leaving. But the dust never settles…

2 Responses to “Never in step”

  1. 1 lissathegnairy
    August 29, 2008 at 12:32 am

    There will always be an infinite number of what-ifs in our lives. We always could have done something different, could be somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else. The future will forever be spilling over with possibility and the past slipping between our fingers. Why waste time and brain space endlessly considering all of the infinite options, especially if it is emotionally taxing. Sure, it is beneficial to reflect upon past decisions, but only in order to learn from mistakes. Daydreaming about the future is only relevant if we can use such musings to inspire us to gleeful action. The minute we get a sour taste in our mouth the endless thoughts are becoming destructive, we are judging without compassion.
    The only way that we can move forward is to accept what is, and love it for being that. For simply being. If we judge our present situation against the infinite myriad of what-ifs we are eternally doomed to be disappointed and emotionally depleted. Its the curse of humanity that we want to want far more than we want to have. And this cannot be overcome, in my opinion, with the mind. Presence is never a fault if we can remain firmly planted in the now while we muse on past and future possibilities. The key is non-judgment. If we can’t fully accept where we are we will be forever trapped in our minds and unable to look and go beyond. We must stretch endlessly in both directions. Feet firmly planted and sprouting roots, head in the clouds.
    … Remember the Tao, Hold Everything Dear, Fight Foul and Faster…

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