This turning autumn begets a burning deep within me: in my gut or my soul, I don’t know. I feel hungry and sense a growing dissatisfaction bordering on anger. It’s no stranger, this. I’ve felt it before. It haunts me most when days grow short and nights grow bitter cold, when leaves take their fatal falls and breath lingers on the air in heavy fogs. And now it’s back. Gnawing at my nerves, seeping into my consciousness. If left unchecked, it will surely drive me mad. Yet, I always manage to check it. I always talk this frenzy of longing down from its ledge. And this, I wonder, might be my problem.
I feel so soft and weak when I recognize that I am complaining of a life that from many perspectives is very rich, indeed. And, in fact, I do not wish to complain of the life, but, rather, what I have done, and still am doing with it. At some point in my past I took an irrevocable turn. I veered from my Self in order to sample the roads that others were building. By some rudimentary scale of comparison I began to feel ashamed of my own road. So I neglected my road and thumbed rides on sleeker highways. But when it was time to return to my road I found it was in need of some major repairs. I took to the task, and my road is now passable, but it was made in the image of those roads I experienced. I didn’t take the time to map out all those lovely roadside attractions that make a road really worth traveling, and I don’t know how to find, or even build, those attractions now.
What happens to people with patchy roads? What becomes of their maps when they are missing great stretches of road from their highways? Important Rites of Passage not fully realized or fulfilled leaving a gnawing feeling of … what? … not regret, nor shame, but rather a sorrow for something missed and a burning need to DO something that cannot ever be done. The time for those Rites have passed and cannot be recaptured. Holes in the road. Blank spaces on the map. Empty places in the soul. Where is the balm for such wounds? What will suture such tears in the fabric of a life?
Yes, we regroup and begin building new roads. Bigger roads. With smooth, dark, shiny pavement. But there will always be pieces missing. I know there are some who will suggest that forward movement is all that matters … that looking back serves only to stunt progress. But the early work is what informs the current style of the master. Without the trials and experiments of the formative periods one cannot walk forward with sure footing. But, this, perhaps, is the point: Perhaps what I missed is a moment of fearlessness and derring-do … a moment in which I am willing to take some stumbles. In fact, eager to leap into the Unknown and ride the wave of whatever should happen to greet me there.
I suppose it’s time for more experiments.