Thursday, August 13, 2009

Passing Things

"By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer." Sam to Frodo, "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"

I thought of that quote as we left Colorado. It wasn't a sudden shock to the sytem, more like a thousand little losses, one after the other. First it was leaving my own bed and my own room, that Steve and the boys had hand plastered for me while I was having my sinus surgery. Then it was leaving my bathroom with the tiles we picked out so carefully and each cabinet, finish and fixture we had spent so much time selecting. Through the house, I said my mental goodbyes. I said my goodbyes to Alex (who was in Tennessee at the time) to Kristen, Paul and Timmy, who were away for the night, to my parents, Dad still sleeping, Mom in her robe, to my yellow lab, left behind to keep Mom company, then it was to my yard, each plant selected and placed by me, except for the glorious trees which were there when we bought the place, and some weeds which moved in on their own.

Then we were off and I said goodbye to my street, my neighbors safe in their beds, to my neighborhood, and at each turn it seemed there was a goodbye to be said in my heart. It was a goodbye to the familiar, to the restaurants where I eat with friends, to the stores where I purchase plants for my yard, or buy my favorite white blouses, to a thousand memories all tugging gently at the corners of my mind.

It was goodbye to my mountain, etc., etc. On and on and on it went. It wasn't until we pulled out of Limon that I really felt that we were on our way toward something and not just away. Beyond Limon, even though I've driven the road before, it isn't familiar enough to hold tons of memories.

And then I felt adrift. Not comfortably adrift, just strangely without connection to my surroundings and to my life. I am not comfortable anymore. And more than ever, Tolkein rings true. I have a mixed longing for and abhorrence of adventure. Nasty, wet, smelly things, adventures. A safe and somewhat scary dart out into the unfamiliar while knowing the time frame for hitting the familiar again? FUN. Scary dart into the wide unknown with no plan or timetable for safe return? Far more scary than fun.

As I sit here, gazing at these bare walls, thinking of the art, pictures and mementos left behind, I am wondering what I should make of myself here. And I'm thinking that I never made much of myself before. It's not a whining, self-pitying statement, more a realization of fact. I've lived a small life. I've never lived the life I wanted. I always tried to fit into the place others would have me, and when I dared to try to leave that spot, got slapped down for it. I don't think it was intentional, just what happens if you don't fit the mold. And I've given up far too easily.

How then shall I live? What now shall I do?