“All my life, my heart has sought a thing I cannot name. Remembered line from a long forgotten poem”
Hunter S. Thompson
It was Andre Breton. He wrote the poem, but really, unless you’re a total dork like me and wanting to expand knowledge wherever possible, you wouldn’t take the time to look into where it came from. The original context of this line actually contained “yearned” as opposed to “sought”, which is trivial seeing as how it was originally in french and translation can be a bit sketchy at times. The moral of the story is, do we really know what we want? Are we seekers for the right things or grabbers of what is convenient?
Since being in Oregon, I’ve been a professional adventurer. Yes, I had plenty of adventure in South Carolina, hell, I even had a bit of the adventure bug when I was living in Illinois, but this is different. This appeal towards the road and adventure is a sheer carnal need. Much like the carnivore lusts for its next piece of juicy meat, I daydream about the next time I can hit the road and see something, anything, even if it’s something that I have seen twenty times before. Take Vista House for example, it was one of the first truly scenic places I went when I “moved” out here. I go there at least once a week, I know what I might see, but never is it what I expect. Take for instance July 4th, I fly all the way back here from South Carolina after a full day of adventure, a four hour plane ride and losing my car in the airport parking lot, what do I do? Grab a six pack and go to Vista House to see the sunset.
The very next day I work my normal day, in good spirits due to the previous days adventure and secretly plot my next adventure. The work whistle blows (okay, we don’t have a whistle, it’s just when your brain feel like it’s going to melt out your ears it’s time to call it a day) and I hit the road. This time my heart seeks a new adventure, going down a road that I’ve never seen the end of. The terrain turned from rolling tree farms to over forested areas of mountain to dirt road. I wanted to see the end, I needed to see where the road went. My heart yearned to see the end of that road, even when the road turned to dirt and the vegetation along the roadside dipped into the travel lane, I proceeded. My valiant horse, Senna the Civic, led the way, enjoying the pursuit of adventure as much as I.
Here’s the problem, patched asphalt turned to gravel, gravel turned to compacted trail, compacted trail turned to a few ruts through a fleshy forest. There are limitations that even I have to bend to. Senna the Civic is hardcore, I’m even more so when it comes down to seeking out my destination, but sometimes you have to put your tail between your legs and admit defeat. The world isn’t always nice, and in our case nature had us beat. It wasn’t that I lacked confidence that Senna the Civic couldn’t plow through those ruts through the forest, but I had to have sound logic in pioneering in such an endeavor. My sense of adventure didn’t overpower my nagging suspicion that there was something down that semi-road that would tear Senna apart and leave us stranded forever in the middle of the Oregon wilderness.
“The bars are in the cage, and the birds come down from far above to sing before these bars.”
(He was mentioned before)
I felt barred in, I met an obstacle that I couldn’t overcome with my equipment. I could see plainly on the map that this “road” in fact went where I needed to go, my intended destination, Mt. Hood, but I couldn’t get there from where I was. As the crow flies, I was only 10 miles from my destination using that “road”, however, I had to turn around and travel an extra 60 miles to get there. Some people would just throw their hands up in defeat, not me, not by a long shot. I proceeded to turn around in the woods and travel back down the dirt, gravel and semi asphalt roads that led me back to semi-civilization.
Why? Why was it so important for me to make my destination? Did I have any business on Mt. Hood on a random Wednesday evening? No. Did I have any business in the middle of nowhere on Wildcat Mountain Road in Oregon? Probably not. I was looking for something, I was looking for anything, I was seeking something my heart needed, in which I cannot name.
Wildcat Mountain Road leads into the anus of Mt. Hood National Forest. Before you know it, you’re slap in the middle of rough terrain, amazing wildflowers and absolute lack of civilization, which is what I was craving. I had no idea that’s what I was going to find there, but it was exactly what I needed. An escape, a place without cell reception, without technology. Senna the Civic and I, alone in the woods to be with our thoughts (okay, maybe Senna doesn’t think, but I like to feel like he has an adventurous soul). Surrounded by the towering evergreens of Oregon and mysteriously placed rocks, I felt at peace. That’s what my heart was seeking, peace. When you decide to make your life more difficult than it needs to be, peace is incredibly desired.
“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from the Underground
“I’m free to drink martinis and watch the sunrise.”
Bob Dylan, Hurricane
I’ll take a bow on that reference.
Sometimes the liberation of independence is a lonely game. Without anyone to answer to, or anyone to look forward to coming home to, my heart seeks adventure. A solitary sort of life just makes me want to wander about looking for something to fill my soul like the love of another. When you move 2800 miles away from anything that knows and loves you, you tend to get a bit wanderlust.
“You may beg, you may plead, you may argue with her logic.”
and in the same song…
“I wasn’t born to follow”
I was begged to not go to Oregon. I was told it was a bad idea. I didn’t listen, primarily because I didn’t feel like those giving me the advice had proper knowledge as to why I was going in the first place. Actually, I’m still working on the whys and hows, but that’s something I have to deal with. I feel like a failure out here in Oregon, but it doesn’t defeat me. Perhaps if I planned better, perhaps if I asked for more help in moving, perhaps if I researched the cost of living….
“But who has the will to concern himself with such dangerous Perhapses!”
(hey, it wouldn’t be a bonafide N. Weed post if there wasn’t some Nietzche in there)
Atop the tall mountain of Mt. hood I can look out over the vast landscape and ponder what decisions I’ve made and why. What am I looking for up here, and why is this where I chose to go instead of my comfy home nestled in the gorge? Why do I chose to drive aimlessly around adventuring impassable roads instead of being content in my living room? How is it that I’m broke every week by Wednesday? Because I spend my money on gas, chasing a thing I cannot name.