Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I want to tell you the story of this weekend, but in doing so, I'll have to tell it backwards...
I'll start at the end, by way of explaining the beginning. I'd stepped off the bus, you see, coming home from a trip to an upstate New York farm. And the requisite smile from the calm I felt from just leaving the jostling city was about to be wiped, if not knocked, off my face.
It was all backwards, you see. Those people in the city, they all had some place "important" to go, the ones who knocked past me in their rush, into a world probably too fast to recognize them as humans. This world was a robotic crush. They needed to be somewhere yesterday, and they looked right past me, the girl with a rolling suitcase, not caring whether they jostled me or not. Or the woman who stepped on my foot, because she was too busy texting, but glared at me huffily, as if it were MY fault that she bumped into me.Or the trio of men who blocked the entire sidewalk, not bothering to politely step aside (yes, chivalry, m'ladies, is dead here).
New York City is like that, convincing you of this mindless business, this chaotic way of being. It's energy used to enthrall me when I was younger, my muscles more limber, my focus elsewhere. It's glitter is bedazzling, but by now, I'd seen it all, and it's glare was white-hot blinding and my focus had long ago blurred.
It's a funny thing, to be utterly aware of HOW foreign everything can suddenly become. Scratch that--I am the foreign one in this strange equation. I realized that, on my slow travels homeward, that day, that I am the wayward traveler, even on the sojourn home....
I am backwards, you see, so utterly out of place everywhere, that I am a walking contradiction. I am, at times, the most shyly conservative hippie, of international birth and yet never quite identifying with those original people, while yet constantly being mistaken for any nationality. I am the most serious artist you will ever meet. I am a responsible dreamer, who has three different jobs, but could be penniless on any given day. I am the urban farmer, the writer who has no patience for writing, both loud and loudly silent.
It's lonely at times, trying to belong everywhere, doing everything, and constantly feeling stuck in a rut. Who the heck wants to deal with me, with my weird ways? Who do I talk to, in this concrete labyrinth, about digging in black soil, establishing roots, literally and figuratively? I am a traveler, but I long for a bit of earth at times, away from concrete, just to know I can DO things, I can take care of myself, I can live the way my grandparents lived, and I can be happy about the simplicity of it all. This is the world of the farmer, the world I advocate to others consistently, but which feels just out of the grasp of my own fingertips.
Backwards, these ideas are: the feel of lanolin from freshly shorn wool, the smell of various types of lavender or garlic, the sounds of hooves calmly clomping on packed soil, or the breath of a gypsy cob horse in the winter morning ....these are strange memories of things I've never purely been a part of, of things in the future.
I long for a tribe of people who know these things. Sometimes I think I will howl at the moon, looking for this lost part of myself, or some semblance of belonging to a breed of people as strange as myself. Perhaps amongst stars and clouds I will find the answer, the beginning of the end of this backwards-ness.
I know this much to be true going forward: there is another adventure to behold. There is a place for me. And this place most likely utilizes a horse. And probably uses the word "FARM" in its title.