Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I drove through the Arboretum on my way to work this morning. As I was waiting to get onto the highway, I saw a woman out in the rain playing with her dogs. It was quite picturesque; the dogs running, the woman standing tall and attentive in the rain.

Somehow, it got me to thinking about my life. About what it is now, about what I'd like it to be.

These days, I am disconnected from the earth around me.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the people I surround myself with and the full and busy lifestyle that I have developed. I enjoy being hooked into society. But throughout my life, whenever I have stopped and allowed myself to hear it, there has been something else which has called softly to me. Some disjointed song about rain and wind and hills, an abstraction of sky and stars and open spaces.

I am scared of being alone with myself, away from people. Despite that fear, the thought of becoming fully my own person, of extracting myself from all the ties of society, well - it holds some mystical allure. There is a bit of a hermit in me.

So, as I watched the dogs running about, I thought of the remote places that I know; northern Minnesota, North Dakota. I thought about remote places I've heard of but never seen. Montana. Alaska. Alaska, in particular, caught my fancy.

I entertained thoughts of moving out to some backwoods plot, purchasing a small plot of land and building a cottage near a lake shore or a river bed, close enough to some small town that I wouldn't be cut off from necessary supplies but generally removed from all of society. Keeping a garden. Spending a large portion of time outdoors. Living simply and frugally, communing with the earth around me. None of these fancies included another person. Just my dog, my birds, myself. Perhaps another dog.

Were I ever to make such a move, I'm not sure how I would support myself. I'd like to do something on my own, some work that I could do on my own time, in my own space. Perhaps I'd paint. Or I could even write. I've never been overly happy with my writing skills, but I do write all the time. This is only one of my journals. Whenever I experience anything, I run it through my head over again and again, wondering how I might best put the experience into words. In grade school we heard often that we should write what we know. Well, my life is ripe with experience. If I could somehow get a handle on all of that experience, find some way to adequately shape it into language, I would not be at all lacking for material to work with.

Neither pastime would earn me much, I'm sure, but were I to save up my money for a few years first conceivably it could work. My cost of living would be low. I wouldn't need much to get by. And if I had to, I could always find some other skill to market to anyone living nearby or traveling past, to earn a supplementary income. I am adaptable and I would find a way.

I don't know that I will ever take such a path, but there is possibility. It is not infeasible. And I find such a life compelling; I believe I would do well and would achieve contentment. It is not the well traveled path, but perhaps it is a path fitting to my gait.

No comments: