Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Caught in the Undertow

It sort of feels like I'm caught in an undertow. I've been living very well all summer and fall, working out in the beautiful mountains and forests, in clean air, among people who sympathize with an unorthodox style of life. Now I'm in a major city, unemployed, alone, feeling trapped and bored and completely out of place as I choke on the air and the noise. It is like the great wave finally found its shore, but is rushing back out to sea. And what is an ocean but a giant depression, a hole in the earth filled with water and strange monsters?

Things are made worse by the holidays. The massive shadow of expectation and nostalgia darkens the world, demanding, because of the date on the calander, that we have cheer and joy. The corporate Christmas machine has been blaring since Thanksgiving, no, Halloween, telling us to prove our love with cheap consumer goods. And the airwaves fill with songs that make us long for times and memories that, truth be told, we never really had. Nostalgia's a killer. And I hate having my unhappiness thrown in my face.

Summer fades into winter, happiness into a gentle, quiet despair. I take courage in the fact that one's capacity of joy is the same as one's capacity for sorrow; hard times are the knives that carve the hollow, into which we pour our happiness. I have been gulping at the cup for months, and it is nearly empty. To everything there is a season.

Ebb and flow. This is my third such winter following a summer of mountainous bliss. I get by, bit by bit, clinging to patience. I let the knives do their carving, hoping some new dream will reveal itself from the wood of my soul, some new design into which I can throw myself. Then, when spring comes, I will walk back into the mountains, praying for a way to stay for good.

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