Moss on the North Side.

Trip Start Jan 27, 2008
Trip End Apr 06, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Friday, January 25, 2008

There is perhaps, a certain jaded-ness that grows on one like moss on the cold moist north side of a tree trunk, that is to say, when a tree becomes cold and moist and northerly-facing, the feathery green fringe appears, half plant and half mushroom, a primeval reminder of how the bark can be obscured from it's own reality by the gradual yet relentless spread of that which seeks only to perpetuate itself given the right conditions.
So it is when preparing for an extended holiday. Exactly how, I do not know, but these next few sentences are the ones in which I endeavor to fit such a lovely albeit wordy metaphor into my present frame of mind. If one should stand still for long enough, facing the north in the chill of winter, the reality of the tree's rough bark will be blanketed and softened by the green carpet of lichenous growth, which can only be scraped off with the most meticulous of effort.
Though beautiful, the moss that clings from the first showing of the roots on up the trunk is semi-parasitic and in turn demands an amount of energy to perpetuate the symbiosis that not only beautifies, but gives boy scouts something to get a badge for.
These guests in one's bark also give insulation from the bitterness of winter, and for that reason tends to flourish on the side that faces the biting canadian winds. The moss is not just one plant, but many, clustered together to simulate the appearance of being one, enhancing and embellishing the rough bark with a cushion--inviting and stabilizing, but also somehow limiting by the same token. A rolling stone may gather no moss, but a moss-less tree is barren. And besides, a stone does not grow, and even if it does live in some rudimentary fashion which we still do not comprehend, it is a cold and slow life indeed.
There are questions when one is near departure. "How much moss will stick around?" "If I shake my trunk too hard, will it become rough again?" "Does moss really reproduce by way of nearly indestructable spores?" "Which way is north?" and so the list goes.
Though one may not be so green the second time round, there is still always the nagging doubt that something important will be forgotten. I have said before, and will reiterate: It is not the Going--It is the Leaving that is the hardest. The minute one sets foot on the plane, turns the key, leaves the station, weighs anchor, all doubt is thrown up to the four winds to do with what they will. As the days get fewer and the deadline grows closer, however, panic manifests itself, whether outwardly as in those who wear their hearts on their sleeve or pantleg, or in the heart, as is the case with the stalwart New Englanders, who do their best to maintain purpose through any emotional outbreak which may arise in such times.
And so I push on, finishing projects and generally being ahead of schedule as far as preparation goes, but still there is trepidation lurking somewhere south of the aorta, an emptiness that can only be fulfilled by turning my back on the forest of my home, flying from the highest branch of my own life's tree, and being free once more in a mysterious and uncharted locale, learning and growing, and in turn, feeding my moss. . .
The knowledge that everything will still be here, that the tree will still stand strong when one is ready to migrate back from a foreign land does nothing to lessen that tiny feeling inside. Whether it is your first time going far away, or the umpteenth time, it is difficult, at least for me, and then only somewhat, to leave a life that is so full of varied and wonderful personalities, a life which I know I have had no small hand in building. Many travel because they feel unsatisfied, or feel that they are not living up to some pie-in-the-sky potential that they believe they have, but for me, gentle reader, there is no quest, nothing to further, only a natural progression of events, and whatever spirit there be calling me to make a motion.
We do not choose whom we love--also we do not choose where we go, or from whence we came. Think of it, and you will see that this is true. The heart speaks softly, so one must be able to cut through the noise of the everyday mundanities and understand the silence to be able to hear that gentle yet still forceful voice. (If your heart is yelling at you, you really oughta listen, you've been making too much noise!)
And so it is that I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but every motion, every hour is spent moving slowly toward the journey. We all know this feeling, whether it is related to physical travel, or a journey of the heart or mind. It is not all that different than love. In fact, I would forward that it is a kind of love. Of course, I'm the guy who believes everything extant is a manifestation of love. Call me a hippie if you want, but I have a job, and I do shower once a month whether I need it or not.
For me, this kind of journey comes as a matter of course, but I have the most respect and admiration for those whose hearts cry out to them so loudly that when they finally listen, they change their lives radically and go purely on faith. Others will say, "He/She is having a midlife crisis," or some such way to shrug off the importance of a green bud bursting into full flower before their eyes. Everyone experiences The Way in a differing but related manner. We are all parts of the whole. As for me, it is easy compared to those who give up so much of what they thought they should be doing to at last go off on the grand adventure. Sipping at a good abbey ale and a touch of scotch by the light of my stained-glass chandelier with a contented kitty nestled on my pillow awaiting bedtime, I am reminded once again of just how lucky I have been, and how much more light we humans as a collective conscious can bring to our little bubble of rock and gas that somehow floats out here in the vastness of the universe. Just the very realization of Being is a blessing not only to the one who is, but to all. It is never easy, but then again, anything that is worth something is never easy. Just Be. And thanks for being.
Next entry I will probably be in London, as there will not be too many moments to spare between this one and the beginning of another journey. That will lead to another journey, that leads to another journey. Ad Infintum.
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