melancholy nature

This is a strange world.  Here I am, back in nature, where I belong, I where I thought I belonged.  It is beautiful here, and tranquil, and rustic.  It will also probably be about 105F by midday, so I’m trying to enjoy this morning quietude and beautiful views.

I’m reminded of Washington state and when I first moved there, and a year later, a fresh faced 19 year old, took my first ranger assignment.  I remember the hopes and beauty, but most of all the tranquility.  Lately I have been missing Washington and its damp lush green, although I’m told it’s been a dry year there as well.

Oh, well. Impossible to be everywhere all of the time.  That first summer my friend C stayed at her grandparents’ cabin at the lake, 40 miles from where I worked.  I was supposed to share the cabin with her, but housing became available at the mountain and so I took it.  I would still spend days off at the lake, and C and I would sit in the boat and compare the size of shooting stars to our pinky fingers, thick and flashing in the blackest of nights.

Last night I saw 2 shooting stars on my way here, on my way to the wilderness, and I wished, maybe too late, and I don’t know exactly for what I wished. For true happiness again.  Those summers in early college C and I would cruise around in her convertible Karmann Ghia, going to perform Irish dances or stay in youth hostels with $1 all-you-can-eat-pancakes during spring break.  One summer I took off from rangering we set up tents in her backyard, and had a “self-actualized” backyard summer.  Boys (as I think of them then, although technically they were young men) were a bonus.  Life was just simpler, and fun.

Now C is in a complicated marriage, 2 adorable children. My marriage is–whatever it is, and I still have no kids.  All my dearest friends who got married are struggling with major issues. All my friends who did not get married are struggling.  I knew being an adult would be rough, but sometimes I feel it is beyond ridiculous,

And yet, just here, just now,  even with one car alarm and the occasional highway sound, things are peaceful.  I am staring at a bright Sierra, nearly blinding in its beauty.  I am wondering when I will next experience rain.  Climate change is here, and that is another strange beast that daily makes me wonder.

I’m contemplating going back to school to focus on sciences and understand it all better.  But even my technical understanding as a disaster analyst does not help me do anything.  In the “city”  I see people utilizing their cars and water just as much, although this usage is part of a finite resource.  Here I see people live in the beauty of day to day, but with extreme temperature changes which grow more extreme every year.

People are constantly plugged into technology, no matter where they are. and that’s not a world that even 19 year old me imagined.  It’s no wonder I have trouble perceiving where to go next.  It’s a difficult system in which to participate, but still, one needs a paycheck. And a place to live, and health care.   One needs to participate to do all these things.

Oh, but these are melancholy days for me.  Today I thought I would drive 30 miles north to a pool where I could swim and maybe interact with others.  Right now I feel as though I will spend the day writing, and maybe organizing some things.  That was the point of this trip, to come get the last of the things I had left behind in this beautiful place.

I’m staying with a dear friend who is now off to work. The place I was supposed to work this summer, before what I’m now referring to as the meltdown.

Maybe after organizing some things I will drive up the road just a bit to where I can stick my feet in the stream.  There may even be a place I can get waist-deep, if things haven’t dried out too much this summer.

I love the amenities of the city, but I miss nature.  When I’m in nature I miss getting (although I can grow some) all of the foods I need for my numerous dietary restrictions.

Though it is hot, there is a smell to here.  A beautiful smell which I miss so much. Someone is using their sprinklers, which may help.  The mountains are fresh here, even in the heat.  Once the wind starts, however, the story changes.  The dry lake bed which gives L.A. its water kicks up dust, and some have claimed Valley Fever is an issue.

When I lived here, after a time, the loneliness would nag and seep in like a neverending chore.  There were always plenty of people with whom to visit at work, but once home, the solitude was an overwhelming calm.  I am so grateful for it now, but remember the days when I thought my life would stagnate here, that I would just blend in with the mountains and rocks.  Maybe that would not be so bad.  Humans, however, and I in particular, need companionship, though, and as lovely and serene as it is here for a few days, I’m glad I chose to spend my summer elsewhere.

There is a friend with horses up in Washington state, and I may spend part of the summer with her.  She is my mentor in art.  I am realizing, though, that we are very different personality wise and that it may be awkward if I spend more than a couple weeks there.  I had planned to do at least a month.

I’ve been accepted for coursework in fall and that would preclude me going to stay for any longer than I needed though.  A trip to Washington may be more useful sooner than later.  I can give myself over to landscapes and activity, see friends who will hike with me, and attend a few events.  I can have as much or as little civilization as I like.

So many places to love.  I miss Europe. I miss Hawaii.  I had missed the ocean, but now, staring at the 14,000 foot giants, I realized I missed the mountains as well.

So my heart longs for that place, that one place, that is HOME.  Where I can visit those other places but still take refuge.  My strongest pull has been Hawaii of late.

I re-watched “Paris, Je t’aime” the other night, and was recalling one of the characters describing her melancholy and happiness.  “Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.”

I feel that way all the time.  About a number of places.  For me, the beach, almost any beach, is where I am my most serene, but also disturbed.  It is as though I always want to take a boat out, to enjoy the horizon from the beach, but seek out other horizons at the same time.  Contentment and restlessness. Stillness and adventure.  This is always what I crave…perhaps I am mad.


2 thoughts on “melancholy nature

  1. No, never mad, it’s something about being human, we never used to stay in one place, and we moved around with the seasons. Some people crave a stationary life in one place, others struggle with it constantly, but a few acknowledge humanities nomadic origins and seek it out in different ways, some as teachers, other as writers (documentary film makers) to various journalistic genres, plant and animal based scientists, many scientists in general. For that flat oceanic horizon, what you need is an ocean going yacht, schooner, or vaka, and perhaps a group of diverse people that can cooperate, participate together, to join you if going it alone is not something viable. Hōkūleʻa from Hawaii is over here in Cairns at the moment on its way around the world on a voyage, on a journey of making its way towards new horizons. That would be something to experience.

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