Rolling Pages

Rolling Pages

We are free to go. We can go wherever we like. We can just get in our cars and start driving. I knew this. But I hadn’t ever realized it in this way.

Driving cross-country is a lot like meditation; I welcome the thoughts that enter as I roll mile after changing mile, not judging them because I am free of the intensity that permeates my daily life. I’m outside of the walls that contain the decisions to be made, the duties to be carried out, and the routines to be maintained. Life pushed to the periphery finds space at the center again.

I’m single parenting, homemaking, small business working, long-distance care taking, processing loved ones facing difficult transition, and grad schooling to build a future. In that mix I try to retain spontaneity and friendships and sanity. The load has been condensed and steady. I’m always on.

I gently scooped up my creative work—the work where I make things with my hands and words and soul—and set it to the side months ago when my schooling began. I had to trust in its return when I’m able to weave these paths together, hoping to contribute something meaningful to this world. My writing has been molded into something scholarly and research based—by necessity—and although the subject of my studies ignites me, and I’ve infused style the best I’m able, the writing is not the words of spilled guts and soul. It’s not as comfortable. Or easy. Or healing.

I felt a sense of freedom during this trip that I haven’t felt in ages, perhaps one I’ve never experienced before. It was freedom earned, fought for in hours that are meant for sleep and restoration. Our lives are evolving; we are never the same twice. Our limits and strengths are relative and shifting, as is our sense of appreciation.

I moved through our days away in a seemingly half-buzzed, feather-light state, without a chemical other than caffeine in my system. I had nothing to do. I had nothing to do.

My evening dreams were abundant and vivid and wild. My mind was writing page after page. The books I have contained in collective mental folders began to open, words swirling over pages. The versions of future I nurture in my imagination were fed and plump and thriving. The colors were brighter. I saw my children more clearly. Life feels crisp in the absence of extra noise.

I spend a great deal of time alone in this phase of life. I work and study alone. I contemplate my future alone. I download my days silently in my mind each night. I ponder family challenges and make big decisions alone. I think sometimes I do this out loud. I’m not sure.

I watched Sister and her family check in with husband multiple times a day through our road trip. It gave me pause. It enhanced my singularity in ways that felt both hollow and priveleged. There are no calls—no check-ins—in my daily movement. I come and go, as I’m able. Nobody is worried about my coordinates, or if I’m late. I’m incredibly untethered. I didn’t have strong feelings one way or another about the observation, just noticed its contrast to the norm of where I’ve arrived, outside of partnership. Or maybe all the damn feelings just blend to neutral, accepted. Undecided. Does it have to be one or the other? Would I know another way? Would I even be good at it, being a partner?

I told sister of a sleepy little spiritual town I’d like to visit one day. We discovered that it wasn’t far off our anticipated route. With a shrug of the shoulders we had a new plan. We browsed the bookstore independently taking in the wonder of crystals, art, and potions. Our eyes traced inviting shelves of books on every mysterious topic there is.

I sat with a psychic, my first reading. Among other things, she sees me as a healer in an old fashioned-y office, taking my formal education off the beaten path. She snickers…she sees a soft-faced man with textured hair in an ill-fitting suit. She sees me accepting an invitation and making an important connection on a small island. She suspects that I’m a woman with deep dedication to volumes of personal creative endeavors, and that keeping myself too busy may prevent me from opportunities to let love in. Huh.

I’m eternally curious about the many ways of touching life: prayer, meditation, engaging with nature, picking a mind quite different from mine, reading memoir, consuming podcasts of every lifestyle, sitting with a psychic, traveling to new places, and asking unanswerable questions. I am most alive when I’m open and curious. Perhaps a person is changed when the rules are broken. When life’s curtains were lifted I realized that possibility outweighs reality.

Infatuated with human nuance, I observed culture in shades of life shifting in intensity and range as we moved from north to south, from east to west. I witnessed infinite expression of what I believe to be similar guts—hunger for connection, safety, belonging, and purpose, expressed in varying language. We go places to find pieces of ourselves. The greatest of souvenirs is a new set of eyes.

Divorce pulls your roots, some more nourishing than others. My view of family has changed significantly over the past few years, extending beyond the bloodlines. So many beautiful people have touched me throughout the journey of repair.

I realize home can be found in many places. Home is here, in our familiar space. Home is in a car logging miles with people I love, headed anywhere. Home is a phone conversation with my best friend – my “partner.” Home is feeling cared for by a gracious host. Home is an empty beach with my loves, eyes tracing the horizon in wonder of what is beyond. Home is anywhere that feels alive and authentic and rich. Home is fully occupying the bright bits and dark crevices of your being.

I am profoundly grateful for the time I’ve had raising my children in this manner. I glance at their reflections in the rearview mirror often, knowing that I am aware of things they are not, knowing that our lives will change greatly, earnestly digging for the faith in it all. I hope they will find peace in my decisions and that resiliency keeps serving us as it has to this point. I absorb and cherish our many different ways of being as if they are for the last, because many moments have unknowingly become just that – the last. Great loss reframed me to mind my moments. I don’t want one to slip past unnoted.

I sat in a quiet house the first morning that routine set back in, sifting through the photos I took during our trip. I saw the faces of people who were so very alive. The moments have evolved into memories, the most appreciated form of an experience. Tears streamed down my face in longing and gratitude. Could it be real? Did it all just happen? Will I be able to give them this again?

Our flames burn so full and fed when we feel “free.” We keep them glowing by remaining awake to our surroundings, whatever they may be.

We are thirsty in the throes. A drink from a fresh stream can carry us far.

Where to next…?

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