I was Scrooge, yes that Scrooge. Not for the moral of that classic tale that says to not be a selfish greedy jerk… as I am a generous person. But the visit of the Past, Present and Future this weekend was real. Some Holy Trinity, or maybe part of the Hero’s Journey sat with me on the recent road trip home, home. The remembering, the fear, the smiles, gratitude and joy. The uneasiness that made me feel like the power lines you hear when you stand too close, my bone marrow vibrating and nauseated, uneasy to my core. The million mile stare owned by a warrior returning home from the front all around me. The subtle childish hope that things could get better…
I saw it this weekend. A dying of the light within. It is a place, the old home full of nostalgia, palpable teen angst, and the place where it all began. A remembrance of my stories, that at the time filled my journals in print so big because the words needed to be as angry as I was, but truthfully I could barely write at all with my shaking hands. Sitting on the front porch, a cigarette in hand for the first time since then, and a beer in the other recalling and reliving hysterical laughter that was once good enough in the actual moment to be a stomach workout when we had metabolisms good enough not to need the gym. The comforting nostalgia that only taste can generate, from a proper tortilla…with butter. The favorite places now closed down, with newness in place. A different set of lights, homes with pitched roofs rather than flat. All around me, grocery stores where sage used to be, and new neon signs reminding me brightly that it is different now. I was where I once was. The ghost of the Past.
I felt it this weekend.
For the first time, I felt it. I will never really fit in again, though I am never going to be completely…out. Stepped into a time warp, an alternate dimension of time that has with professional obstinance refused to progress. Picking up where you left off, the trailing conversation that we all seem to remember as though it was Netflix asking us if we want to continue. Good question. Some things never change, never grow? I was surrounded by different, but it was me. I sensed and felt for the first time that I can’t fit there. This was not a sense of here or place, but a knowing that I was the one who outgrew.
A bonsai tree will be forever beautiful, but forever small. Trained in life to live contained with deliberate and often delicate concentration. Deep strong roots of diminutive growth restricted by… home. But beautiful in its own right, still art, still beautiful but a prisoner to place. I felt it, no longer my home. I felt the simultaneous constriction and relief in knowing that my discomfort and true discord was a blessing, and temporary. I felt, finally felt, like I had truly grown, outgrown. The ghost of the Present.
I had compassion this weekend.
The future is frightening, unknown. The ghost of the Future is what scares us all, and we tend to cling to what we know. Bonsai, the frog in boiling water, maybe crabs in a bucket. There are so many examples in nature of clinging to the known. It must be natural. Right? But, in order to branch out and expand horizons, sometimes we need to take that risk, to uproot. Find a new place to set roots, one that we choose rather that where we were planted. Our world seemingly forever, has been filled with songs and stories about running away. Uprooting to heartbreak, disasters and…epic adventures. It is clear now to me that our fear of the unknown has to excite rather than terrify, or we stay. Our cultural heroes whether tragic or not, and our beloved protagonists have a grit. A gift to channel the ability to concentrate on what could go right instead of what could go wrong, to take those first leaps of faith and those first steps. Our heroes in so many ways, uproot.
I get it, I understand now.
The truth is you can’t go back to some old things, and we probably shouldn’t. Be it the high school thing, the old stomping grounds or those jeans you used to have. Sometimes we just don’t fit anymore. It’s not a bad thing to finally know at least part of you has grown up or at least out.
We all have them. We take them with us wherever we go, there is no denying the power they give us. But we have the power to move too. A tree I saw recently literally walks. Instead of being grounded by roots, their roots are the strength that allows the tree to thrive. Going where they need to go, they use the roots to move toward water, toward the sun, they move to where they need to grow. Knowing that even in nature there are roots that move, gives me a strange strength to go were I need to grow. Knowing that sharks have to move forward or they die, reminds me to keep moving on…to just keep swimming, and of course riding. I would be silly not to admit that I think of motorbikes in almost all I think of…
There are no rear view mirrors and there is no reverse on motorbikes. Good reminder for me to keep moving forward and allow my roots to give me the strength to do both.