“Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away”
Antigonish by William Hughes Mearns
Walk with me into the barren forest of the north east and peer up into the canopy of naked limbs. If you could stand in my shoes, where I was, in my state of mind, you’d understand why it’s a very poignant poem, and, that the license plants that surround me that say “live free or die” haunts me in a way that rattles my soul. I stood there, on the side of highway 9 in New Hampshire with a tear in my eye, for the first time feeling free. It was an eerie feeling, almost like there were decades of people that had stood on that same spot there with me. I was not alone, and although I don’t typically delve into the whole ghost and goblins thing, I do believe there were some spirits there with me.
Perhaps the spirit of some old time pioneers that struck through the heavy branch to blame a trail west to explore new places. The pioneers, voyagers, expeditioners, vagabond that wanted something other than what they had or were presented with. While traveling I read a lot about what’s going on or what has happened where I’m at, and as I was there in the north east, for the first time in all of my adventures in the past four weeks, I felt a bit home sick. I missed my pet fish, I missed my birkenstock sandles, I missed my houseplant, but only for a split second.
(Okay, I missed my fish a bit longer than a second, but that eventually passed when I ate a can of herring for lunch and had a sad feeling about the fish I was eating)
Who am I, and more importantly, how do I fit into this big vast world? The old saying “you can’t see the forest through the trees” is good, but I think the saying “you can’t pluck your eyebrows in the dark” is better. How can you know where to go and what to do with yourself if you don’t know who you are in the first place? I’ve found myself there, often feeling amongst the trees with nobody to relate to except long gone voyagers that gave their lives over for the sake of adventure and exploration.
My adventures recently haven’t been that astonishing. I ate a donut, whoa, right? The bulimic in me wanted to toss it up right there, but I didn’t. I was in a gas station in Oregon and they had a sale on minibottles at the cash register, the alcoholic in me wanted to fill my purse, but I didn’t. I have no job and am down to a few pesos, I wanted to get a job right away, but I didn’t because I wanted to travel, which I’m guessing is what the Travellers way back when did too. They saw life and city life with a general disgust, similar to mine, and they actually did something about it.
As I sit here in Rochester, New York with 50 mph gusts of wind rocking the truck, I wonder to myself, what would it be like to not have a truck to keep me dry and safe? What would it be like not to have the funds to buy a donut, what would it be like to live without desires? What would life be like if I were anybody but me?
“in Morris (the truck) you have to wear pants, at fuel stops you have to wear pants.” my fearless travelling companion
“I hate wearing pants” me
“I know, I don’t make the rules” companion again
I didn’t want to wear pants, and actually, I didn’t want to wear anything. Sitting there in the passenger seat, with no pants on, I was reminded of the adventurers again, those who bucked the system to go their own way. Unfortunately, as much as I didn’t want to wear pants and as passionate as I can be at times, there isn’t a way to talk your way out of an indecent exposure charge, especially on the premise of “well, I didn’t feel like it.” I put my pants on, and I was grumpy for the rest of the day, but I did comply with the rules. This constant wanting to be different and not follow the rules has caused a very difficult life, however,and I’m starting to realize that.
” But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker of fire, and I have only myself to blame.”
Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau
I’ve always been of the trandescential mindset, with a strong hint of romanticism. Being in New England I felt a connection to the 1800’s and the need for a spiritual journey. In the political world we live in, it’s sort of refreshing to take yourself back to a time where people actually thought for themselves and did something about it. Who knows, Thoreau might have been just like me and didn’t want to wear pants and that’s why he didn’t want to conform. Problem is, just like quoted before, Thoreau went though sticking his head in the fire, but with his wisdom, he blamed nobody but himself, and I admire this. I admire the mindset of the 1800’s philosopher, but unfortunately it doesn’t do much here and now, in this unfortunate time and space.
I’ve gone around blaming the fire, blaming the maker of the fire, blaming other people’s fires, never once turning the finger back at myself and blaming me for being dumb enough to stick my head into the flame. I made poor decisions, we all do at times, be it financial, person or otherwise, but we learn from them, or at least wise people do. Take for instance my binge earlier, I blamed the cereal for existing, then I blamed my eating disorder, then I blamed the fact I was stressed about life, never once blaming me for not dealing with the issue that was at hand, my need to romanticize and make everything more dramatic than necessary.
(okay Nikki, you may be thinking, what’s the deal with Bill Bailey?)
There’s an old timey song that rattles “won’t you please come home, Bill Bailey” and it haunts me in these times of vagabond trandescentialism. The wind whips at the truck, my stomach is swollen, and my heart hurts with sadness, but I don’t want to go home. The song pleads for Bill to come home, simply because the lady calling for him screwed up, and when I say screwed up, I mean really screwed the pooch. She begs, offers to cook for him and pay his rent, if he would just please come home. Here’s the kicker of it, though, I don’t think Bill turned around and went back, she’s out of luck. Bill was a smart guy, the proverbial fire was the begging woman and he didn’t want to deal with getting burned again. I look at myself, I plead, Nikki, please come home, but I’m still riding the great wave of living free or dying.
“great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule thr world”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thoughts, wants, desires, a spirit to need and yearn for something you can’t have. She can’t have Bill Bailey again cause she messed up, I have to wear pants because it’s the law, you have to wear a seat belt because somebody cares enough about you to request it. All of these things are things we want/need/comply with, but if we could only pick and chose what we need to be free, wouldn’t we all be happier? Resonance of cheering would be heard for miles around if I was allowed to go shoe and pantless, if she got her Bill back, but there are rules, and that’s what makes the world work. External rules like laws, or internal self rules like not eating donuts all put up boundaries that keep us from really being free.
What does freedom mean to you?
Following your heart and loving who you really love?
Following your spirit and seeing things you’ve never seen before?
Following your soul and refuse to give up and proclaim to rather die on your feet than to survive on your knees, begging for forgiveness and pity?
“Last night I sat upon a chair,
I saw a man who was sitting near.
He was there again sitting today,
How I wish he’d want me to stay.
When I woke this morning at six,
The man was back to his daily tricks.
But when I tried to play along,
I just did everything wrong.
Give up, give up, I’m can’t do anything right ever
Give up, give up, maybe today, maybe never.
Tonight I sit upon my seat up high
With that man sitting very near by,
He’s here again with me today,
Maybe he actually does want me to stay. ”
Nikki’s version if Antigonish