I never thought that returning to my home would be so hard. It is as if my mind is numbed by the lull of the ocean in my dreams, my heart cooled after the heat of inspiration was left so far behind. My spark of living has been compromised, the riptide has take my will.
The hardest part about having a life changing experience is actually letting it change your life, having the courage to use what you learned. I think it may be easier to slip unassumingly into my old life, but that shell does not fit my back and I must search for a new, more portable home. Today, in this old shell, my shoulders hunch with tension and my eyes are so deeply tired, the tired that forbids action of the whole body. I no longer have the man that I once thought I would marry, a beloved friend at work is a wisp of her former self due to cancer, I am living with complete strangers in a new apartment, I saw the man who did his best to ruin my childhood for the first time in a decade, I am in a very stressful application process for an dream job, I miss Chile, and my spark is compromised, the riptide has taken my will.
Until, I remember the day I learned to surf. My teacher, a charming Chilean (as per usual) pulled me out to where the picturesque waves were breaking, one of my favorite views from shore. He held my board, with me flattened on top, right where the blue ocean turned to angry foam. Wave after wave slapped me in the face, I could not breathe, see, or prepare myself for the next onslaught. I was overwhelmed and thought I may drown. Sea took over my lungs, my lips, my sight. Each hit would pull me away from my board and I had to drag myself back in time for the next one. I am being pummeled by so much in my life right now, I am overwhelmed and afraid that I may fall into a depression. I am in new territory, a sea that looked so picturesque from shore, a future so coveted. It all seems so dismal in reality.
Then, my teacher gave my board a shove just as a wave was rising, and I flew over the curl, nothing but air and blue beneath me. Free from the abuse, I screamed with joy. He swam out to me, and said that without taking the waves’ hits, learning to feel the ocean, I would be afraid and never learn to surf. He told me, overcome the fear of this water, this rhythm, pretend you are a surfer, and that is what you will become.
Maybe these hits need to happen now, to prepare me to fly above, to fearlessly ride the waves coming my way. If I can keep climbing back on my board, ducking my chin in determination, keeping my chest out, and pretending I am tough, then I am going to feel that enthralling rush of a whole ocean propelling me forward. This will pass, I will be alright. I will stand on that surf board if it is the last thing I do!
Good thing I learned to surf.
I read a quote once that talked about each person having a hundred little worlds within themselves, from imaginations to understood realities another mind could never quite understand. I am not ashamed to admit that at 22 I still use my imagination! Yesterday I went to the beach and swang on the giant plate swings, like rubber hammocks right on the sand. Sitting cross legged in the middle of the swing with closed eyes, I was suddenly a mermaid floating on a giant sea shell across the waves. Sea spray on my cheeks, my long hair down my back and whipping across my shoulders, nothing but sky and sand and emerald blue- wouldn’t I make the best mermaid? It was so relaxing to be floating like a gypsy of the waves. Until I saw the line of scowling kids and their mamas waiting for the college girl to get off…
I don’t want to leave this gypsy freedom, this ocean, and this “take off on an adventure every two weeks” lifestyle. I wish I could imagine myself here in this floating world forever, but eventually my feet have to hit the cement and I have to give up my swing to whiney kids and their helicopter moms. Although, I will never give up my imagination, or these relaxing moments to myself. I am still free and only more adventure awaits.
The wind in Patagonia blows with the weight of the world, such vastness I have never felt on my skin before, or had wrapped around me. The expanse of space, the glaciers, the wildness all had the feel of freedom, of an ancient fullness carried over from all of South America and up from Antarctica. Even the wild big air standing still held a holliness. There is no wonder that there I felt more inspiration than anywhere before. I lay in my tent with not a thought of my own, simply absorbing what was brought on the wind from a million fields, whispers, hurricanes, and treetops. What more could I add, to the wisdom of the wind in Patagonia?
Each day on the trail was a combination of all that I love from every season. The brisk wind of fall over a carpet of red leaves and wise tree roots, flurries of white snow contrasted with barren, black branches, luscious grassy fields sprinkled with butterflies, and red flowers blooming over rolling hills. I saw desert, meadow, canyon, glacier, beach, lake, stream, waterfall, high peaks, and humble hills. Each curve in the trail was like opening a Christmas present or seeing the first bloom of spring, full of newness and magic. There was no space for my silly preoccupations here, I was existing as a part of it all. A bud, a wisp of the wind, a mere step in a pilgramage of the wild.
When I finally returned to the hostel, after 4 nights under the mossy tapestry of wild nights and five days on the trail, I sat next to the little wood burning stove. My muscles did not ache, my mind was pleasantly empty. The warmpth soaked into my cheeks deliciously, as accomplishment into my chest. In those moments, I could see clearly and feel deeply how I want my life to be, and most importantly the ambient I want it to have.
I want a creative space in my home to write and paint and read, and thus a creative space in my life
I want a space for friendships. Here in Chile was the first time that I have given myself time to have friends, and it has made my life so rich, I want to share and love and have a home that welcomes all.
I want to take up backpacking, to feel the freedom of only needing what I can carry
I want to work with kids on an Indian Reservation, my roots seemed so real as I stood and listened to the boom of glaciers cracking apart. how did my ancestors feel discovering the wild? what is the Shoshone connection with the earth now? how can I show the world my people’s tradition of existing at one with the earth?
I am in love with my boy from back home, even if it took some pinches here to teach me what I need, and most importantly how to ask for it, he is the one I belong with. I missed him there, because he reminds me of honest earth. Tan skin and brown eyes, hands scarred from outdoor work and the life of a mountain boy.
I want meditation and yoga to be a part of the everyday for me. I will never forget doing yoga next to the streams of Patagonia. I found serenity next to the water melted away from Glacier Grey, fresh enough to drink from the river bed, with the soil from the end of the world covering my toes and fingers.
I never want to lose this sense of inspiration and vivid freedom, holiness and awe found in the wildness of Patagonia
I want a wood burning stove…..
There are no daycares in Peru, so there were children running all over: working with their parents, wrapped up in colorful shawls on their mothers backs, or playing in the streets. It gave the whole place an even more magical feel! We met so many fun kids, and played with them. One little girl poked me through my whole dinner in a restaurant and we giggled incessantly together.
Las Maras, Peru