Monday, 27 July 2009



And underneath our cheerleading of the RV dream is there "profound pessimism: that no place is interesting?" Are we novelty junkies? Ultimately unsatisfiable--like all addicts?

So says an anonymous commentator today---read the whole exchange if you wish on the two previous blogs. With some pride I quoted Thoreau's famous retort to a sniper of his day asking why Thoreau left Walden Pond if it was so wonderful there. His classic answer: "I left Walden Pond for as good a reason as I came---because I have many more lives to lead and could not spare any more time for this one." ( I felt smug putting myself in concert with genius)

Anonymous did not go away chastened. Today he challenges the very foundations of our lifestyle. How, he asks, does driving a few miles down the road give one a new life?

Friends, I may need help with this one! HOW DOES DRIVING A FEW MILES DOWN THE ROAD GIVE US A NEW LIFE? (Has this dark soul, probably envious, festering out there in the blogosphere somewhere, asked an achilles heel question?) I'm going to bed--need to think some more.

Okay: I've thought; And I will answer Anonymous' question directly: Traveling a few miles down the road gives one a new life because new places, people, challenges, are an opportunity to present yourself anew, to try on fresh aspects of your personality---and in baby steps create a new you. Comfortable and warm as your friends may be, they trap you at your current stage of development. Their conditioned notions about you freeze your evolution. Every one of us need to "molt" occasionally----difficult to do on home turf.

Joseph Campbell in HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES says that every society on earth tells the story of a hero's journey: The urge to go away to some place new. The hero does so, facing new challenges, overcoming them and in doing so is TRANSFORMED. The new being with a new message eventually returns to share the new insights. It is of course the Story of Jesus, Buddha, Hercules, Odyssus, and a thousand others. All traveled and were transformed.

Everyone, at some level of his being hears the call of the wild--to venture out and be transformed. Everyone wants to go learn something new and bring it home.

Wandering once in the hinterlands of Utah, I entered the spooky, near-ghost town of Modina. I took the occasion to present myself in a new persona---I told the townspeople I was a poet, come to ponder their town and celebrate it in poetry. WOW! THEY TOOK ME AT MY WORD----embraced the visiting poet---opened their hearts---told me everything--their deepest feelings. I wrote the poem---One of my first: "Modina: Deep Desert Town Disbanding" and sent it to them. Not a masterpiece, but the experience transformed me: I drove into town a traveler and left a poet----In my own eyes. A transformation hardly possible in Sondheimer, Louisiana where I started.

So I urge my anonymous friend and all others to go on a hero's journey--engage the new and scary---uncloak the hidden---whatever---inside you!

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