Throw My Suitcase Out the Window

Sometimes I find myself wrapped in envy for those who seem to possess a sort of natural foundation to their lives. Not the ones with the two-point-five children and a house in the suburbs, no. That holds no allure for me whatsoever. It’s more a kind of self possession – a poise and grace – that seem to seep from their skin as sap from a sugar maple in springtime, running freely into buckets lashed to their sides to be rendered down into a divine elixir. It’s as if these people possess access to an abundant stamina – paradoxical restraint resulting in a protracted harvest, a nurturing sort of aura to be drunken in by those fortunate enough to encounter them. An ex-husband yearned for this from me, as if it could be coaxed like water from a dry well. As if water could be exchanged for fire.

For better or for worse, I am not one of these people. Instead I’m rather like a stately redwood nurtured by the mist – reaching, reaching massive fertile branches upward, snatching segments of brilliant sunlight, irrepressible as the fog is furtive. I want full disclosure of and for myself and others while guarding a thick privacy like a bear holed up in her den. Yearning for both complicates the structure I seek to establish – I keep wondering if I’ll ever grow up and into one of these steady folk. Then I gaze about me at the wilds of my existence – the freedom of both inner as well as outer Creation – and I begin to breathe like a bellows gulping air, and it feels right somehow. As if to roam is my home.

Perhaps I kept bumping head-on into the American Dream, inculcated in me from that early age of the dawning of an emerging sphere for women, the mid to late nineteen fifties. The free spirit taking root in youth from that time period forward presented me with a house-wife-less archetype, that of the Wanderer, carefree flower child moving through fields and forest, gathering harvest and shelter from the good earth. Donning the cloak of the Faery Queen, I broke faith with a stoic upbringing and, covered in loam and moss, rolled like the proverbial boulder, clumsily careening around sapling and stream. I learned to survive not in comfort but in ever-changing conditions, settling my restless spirit like a hen sitting on her eggs.

More circumspect now as expected, given a distant view of the gates. Yet I can’t remain in the manse, however tempting – there is ground yet to cover. And though I might long to thrust my feet by the comfort of the hearth, there is danger that I might languish too long, become too complacent. If I lose apperception for the vibrating thrum of birds’ wings or the smell of leaf mulch, I let go of life. A steady inner world is ever at the ready, but my time here as an explorer will end, and right now I don’t want to miss a thing.

 

2000 - in the redwood forest

 

19 comments on “Throw My Suitcase Out the Window”

  1. Loved your piece…my daughters and I used to look for gnomes in the forest. It’s so beautiful to actually speak to one. Have you always had that free spirit as a young child? It must always have been your natural inclination, but so many of us feel we have to grow up. Keep writing.

    • Thanks so much for dropping by, and for your encouraging words. Yes, I’ve always been inclined toward nature when it was available to me, as you’re bound to notice if you read more here 😉 When older and given the choice, I ran for the woods and never looked back.
      Great you and your daughters looked for gnomes! I too was able to validate my daughters’ imaginations and their place in nature’s scheme.

  2. A fellow worker – a man – once chomped down on me, “Oh for God’s sake, Amy, when are you going to buy a house and settle down?”

    To do these contracts with this married man whose wife looked after hearth and home for him, I found house-sitting more practical than renting. This man (one of a group of 6) seemed quite peeved. His “chomp” came out of the blue during “happy hour”. I turned to him and asked, “What on earth upsets you so about my life style?”

    He never did answer. I was blown away. I decided he was green with envy because I was content. I suspect, in his mind, I was not entitled to be content – living so precariously outside of conformity.

    • I suspect you gave the guy a tinge of envy that he couldn’t just pick up and abandon his wife and/or family for the kind of freedom you represented. Just guessing. Good that you’re leading the life you choose!

      What I was trying to explore was more an ‘inner’ freedom, which of course then does play out into roles and situations and such.

      I have been nonconforming for most of my life, but I am (happily) married and do own properties which we care for like responsible adults 😉 Still my life is, as I’ve said before, steeped in paradox. My inner Sprite pushes me from within, longing to get out and enjoy what freedom she can garner. And I try, oh I do try, to give her all the rein I can. Right now she’s about to pop my skin wide open.

  3. Another great piece. Very well said Bela. As always, I love the way you weave the post – fill with grace and class. Meanwhile, have a great day ahead Bela and Blessings. !!!

  4. interesting essay, as it made me think about whether all my wanderings in and out of places during my life is indicative of a restless spirit or a thoughtless one. Thoughtless appears quite calm sometimes as i wander in and out of stuff without thinking.. hmm.. lovely words bela, have a great evening.. c

    • Well luvvie, as I said on one of your posts, take it easy on yourself – you do so very much for so many creatures, animal and human! Nobody can be ‘on’ all the time with all that going on … you’re entitled to being spacey now and again. I’m struck every time at how you keep all those plates spinning in the air!

  5. Bela, beautiful post. As usual, your words resonate with me and relate to much of what I’m facing recently. Thank you.

  6. Yeah, I’m this guy. “It’s more a kind of self possession – a poise and grace – that seem to seep from their skin as sap from a sugar maple in springtime, running freely into buckets lashed to their sides to be rendered down into a divine elixir. It’s as if these people possess access to an abundant stamina – paradoxical restraint resulting in a protracted harvest, a nurturing sort of aura to be drunken in by those fortunate enough to encounter them”
    In many circles I’m known as, Mr. Poise and Grace. HF

  7. I think that many of us have a twinge of longing for that nature filled peaceful and beautiful environment in which to live. I wonder, when we’re away from home, how pleasant it is. As much as I try to capture that feeling back home it just doesn’t work.

    Ronnie

    • Ronnie, thanks for stopping by and commenting. All I know is that for me, living in or near the wilds of nature is a must. Others may choose to ‘visit’ wild places or not – though I think it must always register somewhere deep within a person when they do. We are all made up of similar elements in woods and waters and soil – carbon, oxygen, and so on – we can’t help but be affected by entering into relationship with them. But I think I know what you mean by not being able to capture that same feeling once home. I felt that a lot growing up in the suburbs of a city. We’d go out camping or boating, and I’d return, feeling as if a pall cast over me. It’s why I bailed for the woods when I got out of my parents’ home. Though it was such a radical departure, I wouldn’t advise just anyone to do it! We all have to find peace with our environment somehow. I wish you well in yours!

  8. “I want full disclosure of and for myself and others while guarding a thick privacy like a bear holed up in her den.” I can completely relate to that.

    So much contradiction, Bela. When it’s not amusing me, it’s frustrating me.

    • Priya, we have much in common, and maybe it’s in the stars that we do 😉
      I think duality is part of human nature, but for some of us, duality is more in the forefront of our lives, and we are challenged to make peace with it. (Being a bit older than you are, it’s easier for me now. But it used to frustrate me to no end.) I think equanimity must be that kind of learning to balance all these opposites that naturally occur in us and in life situations and coming to peace with them – ‘them’ being ‘what Is.’

  9. Another interesting post Bela!! I always long for a long vacation with the peaceful nature. I really like the way you play with words and write… Keep writing. 🙂

    Anshul


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