Posts Tagged ‘ennui’

I am still in Seaside and i feel stuck as if i am being pulled back in time and cannot escape . It’s like something clasps at me and holds me in. The passion is gone and a heaviness enters in. And i feel like i cannot move as body feels like it is sluggishly expanding – a heaviness, dullness and flaccidness coming upon me. Like the body remembers how it felt before, and returns to a previous state. and my thoughts and visions become limited too, and i turn once again to old places for answers that still do not come. And i do not see my way out.

And i ask myself how did i end up here once again – though i know the answer all too well, the refusal to take a leap and move out into the unknown. A desire to crawl inside and return to the (dis)comfort zone. And i try to let it be, but i feel like it is sucking me in. And in many ways i feel this is a continuation of my month here in december 2007, like everything in between has been erased or did not exist in the first place, like i have jumped into some parallel life or stepped backwards in time. And i know that it is not just the cool grey drizzle and rain, which on this 1st of June feels more like a december day on the coast, or merely that i have returned, but there is something greater here – in Seaside and up and down this coast.

There is a stuckedness to the Oregon coast. the wind blows through, and at times it howls, but what remains seems heavier and staid. Maybe that is why so many of the travel guides speak of road trips down the coast – drive or cycle the 101, enjoy the beauty and move on through. The coast is a place to pass through, but not a place to stay – mainly the working class (who barely work) or families or retirees who stay there. there is richness with so many secondary homes, people who do not stay the entire year – lives made elsewhere. And a feeling that people are holding on – a kindness but where the vibrations slow. And i feel stuck here too – body feels heavier and will i expand like so many of those around.

and i think it is the energy, traffic rushing up and down the 101, often the main streets of town. and the wind blows north or south, so much trapped by the mountains behind. and despite the winds the greys and storms can remain for so many days. and when it stops, the air becomes heavy almost sweetly sick, and some feel stuck here though many come, love to live a life on the beach. and i feel myself become denser, stripped of energy and motivation, stuck here longer than i planned – time to write but feel empty inside. And the quality of my writing feels as lifeless as me. My body expands, cells grow larger like the squiggles in the air – how did i get myself back into this place and will i ever escape.
It seems like a place onto itself, cut off from the cities and much of the world, a place that time has passed by through it struggles at times to hang on. I try to tell myself this is life, caring about your family, eating hotdogs and flying kites on the beach. And as i said the people are nice, but come the holiday weekend i feel the resentment of some of the poorer locals towards the richer city people who come to play.

I have so much more that i should write down, but feel the heaviness pressing down – and i have felt this way before – for a brief while it is wonderful, for the coast is truly a beautiful place. But if you do not ride the winds, you become planted like the trees, and covered in as much moss.

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My energy seems to have drained away as i sit inside in Seaside on another rainy day. I feel sapped with motivation for little and wonder if this is the calm i have been waiting for. But part of me is still restless feeling more stuck or complacent that truly content. And i know it is not merely the rain, for this feeling has been creeping up for a few days – and i know that in the past i  have ended up staying here much longer than planned. In some ways it feels like a sucking in for energy moves more slowly here, and at times i feel that i have moved into the past. And as before, i have little motivation for anything and am truly forcing myself to write even this.

I wonder where is that balance point between the frenetic energy that can push and drive you, and the calmness that becomes empty inside? And i feel that often when i move between the city and countryside. Is that not why people come to the beach, to slow down, unwind and let their cares disappear for a while? But when does that become lethargy?

It is true that here things move at a slower pace, at least in the winter and shoulder seasons that i have been here. Nothing really hurries or is in a great rush, people have time to say hello and wave a pedestrian across the road and often chit chat when you go into a store. Even today, on the friday of a holiday weekend with more traffic on the main street through town and longer lines in the grocery store, all feels slow.

And i think that is it – it is a town where nothing really seems to happen – a place where people lead out their daily lives, yes with personal dramas for i have seen some here, but without huge expectations for something more. over the holidays and in the summer, the town fills up with families and older people on vacation – playing on the beach, having barbeques, drinking and eating junk food. But it is a place where life goes on, life goes on as is.

The town at times seems like a time warp – and the tourist strip on broadway stands much the same as years ago with arcades and tourist shops and mainstream restos though today with espresso and sushi up the road. Peoples attire follows no fashion, the working middle of years ago, and the music you hear is more often than not, classic rock or the tinny pop that has not changed much over the years. Beyond the small tourist strip, it is a small town, a bit rundown, but more with the weathering of the simple clapboard houses, than any decay per se for it seems to me an older and a working class seaside town. a decent place to raise a family or retire into the saner, simpler life, and it is more open and friendly than its “sophisticated” neighbor down the road. Here I feel calm, and empty too, for it is a place to unwind but very little more. i value the kindness of the people, but i feel it is a town that just is. And i know that if i grew up here, it would be a place i would be dying to leave, but for now i am not motivated (or stressed) in any which way.  Is this is what is meant by beingness? – but i know i am not really content inside – a sense of boredom or ennui for it is a place to take a break but not a place to grow. i am calm but disconnected from the fairly conservative small town around, a life maybe i wish i could lead finding all i need in the daily routine, but somehow despite the shore, it is not stimulating to me. It makes me wonder if i am meant for the simple life after all?

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It’s amazing what a difference a few blocks or a mile can make in a city. You can walk just a short distance and transport yourself to another world. From downtrodden poverty to yuppie riches, from the shore to the canyons of tall building to parks. From a zone where people come to visit or work to a neighbourhood where people live. And today i passed through all of that and discovered an area that was new to me only a few blocks from where i had trod before and that discovery of the “new” helped change my frame of mind (or perhaps because my mind needed to be changed, i stumbled onto something new.)

Actually i walked several different blocks today, but the first through belltown and the core and across the denny street bridge for the first time, but that seemed like more of the same, although i entered the new Whole Foods store. I wandered its aisles and explored, had eaten so i didn’t shop and was temporarily enthralled by what i had found and told myself i would stop back there. Although i had my morning coffee and played on the internet at a cafe i discovered yesterday, there is little new i have discovered in Seattle this time. I’ve walked to places i’ve been before, to Fremont, and along the water to Ballard, and yes a new coffee shop there, and to the docks where i had been before, watching the various boats pass through, and yes i like that place, it made me smile, but did not enthrall and i walked somewhat blind. The main rediscovery that got me enthused was my going into Fred Meyers, a huge grocery and general store, a chain mainly in Oregon, with both reasonable prices and some of the food i love.

And this afternoon after walking on the shore, i made the trip up to one section of capital hill and a cafe i discovered about a week ago (and after several times there the thrill had worn off, and while nice was not as special as before) and made my way up to Volunteer Park where i had felt the trees as energy before. Today was different, it was sunny and warm verging on hot, and i lay on the grass where others picnicked and lay, alone, with friends and/or with their dogs and took a nap. it felt so good to just lay in the sun, as i had been down by the water and the grass had been wet. I wanted to write, but i felt unenthused about where i was and where i might go. I got up and had to pee and walked to an area of the park where i had not been before.

And then i crossed out the other side, tree line streets and well maintained huge single family victorians with gardens on tree lined streets. It was just after five and children were playing on the sidewalks – and i smiled inside. Though only about a mile or so from the downtown it was a very different world. i wanted to write so i went back into the park and sat on the grass in an emptier area in earshot of the traffic that passed by on 15th Avenue. I started to scribbled about how unenthused i was, about this place and places around, feeling like i had seen all before, some had been wonderful, some merely interesting, but it felt like old ruts and time to move on. I needed to write, had not really done so in a few days, but did not want to feed that energy anymore.

I was going to go back to where i stay, but decided to walk along the road, not sure where i was, but had seen a bus that with the destination “downtown” so i could follow the route if i got misplaced or was further out than i thought. I walked back along 15th avenue where there were cafes and restos an i stumbled on a herbal shop – with teas and tinctures and so much more and browsed and bought some tea – reading ingredients on all the packs felt some enthusiasm coming back in. And down the street, past grocery stores and trees and more – all a fresh sight to my eyes until got to a corner where i had been before.

I realized i was happier then i had been in a few days. the street served as a reminder that there is always more to explore, and discoveries no matter how small are available everyday. although a cloud may come to my eyes, with that feeling of ennui, i have not seen or experienced everything. Sometimes you do not need to journey far, but to just step out in a slightly different direction, or onto an adjacent path, for your enthusiasm to be awakened again. For a walk through the landscape of the city, is like a walk through your own mind – at times you need to break out and explore some unfamiliar territory. it might just be a short meander, that brings you back to where you know, but you see it all in a different light. It could be the beginning of a new path, or it might just be a temporary change. Sometimes your mind can shift, as you stumble upon something you forgot was there , like the Fred Meyers store, but other times you need a  to catch your eye.

I walked down Pike, on blocks i had not been before, and realized there was more to Capitol Hill than i had seen on my previous forays, generally walking familiar streets. (though the streets that are familiar were once unknown to me). I found the Value Village thrift shop i had not found and had meant to check out. I said i didn’t feel like shopping but went on in, and am so happy i did. I found quality shoes in my size, that i desperately need a pair of slip on clogs to replace the ripped running shoes and a pair of sandals to replace those whose soles are coming apart despite all the glue, and a pair of pants that fit to replace the cords i have with the waft mainly gone. I went to another grocery store, large and reasonable priced (unlike the one downtown), bought some dinner, and felt like a new woman for a while. Yes, a little stretch of the boundaries can do one some good, and i know it was not necessarily the street per se, but that i had taken a step out of the zone i had been in.

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In the past days i have come upon at least two references to the renaissance man, the one who is interested in and studies a vast array of subjects, exploring the world, multi-faceted, multi-talented. Someone with a broad mind that is alive and curious. I came upon this in a novel i am reading, and in a reference down on cannery row in Monterey, when i was internally bemoaning the superficiality of the place. And then i began to think – how limited i am and how shallow my interests can be. On how in the past few weeks i have explored little, become bored by what is, and in doing so closed myself off.
I wondered if it is because i am returning to places i have once been, and had done all the exploring i wished to do. But there is always so much more. The person who can always find wonder in a back yard, a city block, a small town or a plot of land. And even on my adventures, i have really not been all that adventurous – not curious to see what is around the corner, or what really happens in a place, or who that other person really is.
But back to my recent time, back in the us of a. In Monterey this time i wandered, and did not see out, did not interact with life around, walked and observed without really seeing, putting my impressions onto all. I looked upon that which was around slightly askew and cynical – judging and categorizing though i tried not to. I went to the malls, and rode the bus, and walked along the water, and did try a few samples of the clam chowder on the wharf but i did not really engage – lose myself in the moment.
The previous visit, two years ago i explored more – the first walk along the waterfront, and the second, when it was new and magical, wondering about the plants that grew along the shore, the ones that made me sneeze, watching the harbour seals who balanced upon the rocks and gathered upon the beach.
On the previous visit i took the grapevine bus, up into the carmel valley, thinking i would do some wine tasting, not realizing the snob appeal, and the upper crust, how expensive it would be, and how you would be treated i If you were alone and dressed more poorly, not about to buy an expensive lunch or bottles of wine. And then i became disillusioned, especially waiting for the bus back to town that did not show and hanging around on a corner with the mexican workers for more than an hour until the bus did come.
And i explored the galleries and the shops in Carmel – one with impressive nature photos, but many filled with art for sale, that which would look good on a living room wall. But i wandered by the cute cottages, and tree lined streets and marveled at the white sand on the windy beach . This time i saw the sand that was white, but noticed the wind, and did not look around, feeling that i knew what i would see and thus closed my eyes to possibilities.
And the last time, was the first time i saw the coastline of Big Sur – took the bus down and back, had a coffee – even then did not go for a hike, more concerned about getting back than seeing what was around. But did not do it again – for it was now someplace i had been – the time before was before the drive down all the way a few weeks later with my father, puttering along, so slow on the twisty road, clenching my teeth out of fear and frustration blocking all the cars that went behind – stressed at something that was meant to be enjoyable. And it ws before, further down the coast, being left in a campground, hitchhiking out, after robert left to look at the ocean (in oregon), of walking and sitting looking at the ocean feeling both bliss and pain. And it was before getting a lift from a fellow camper all the way up in the pelting rain, stopping for an overpriced coffee and getting drenched, So if i had gone down there again it would not have been with fresh eyes, but a walk down memory land.
The last time on the way back from Big Sur i stopped at point lobos as the sky was turning, as it did too on Sunday, and walked in the wind, and felt the waves crash upon the shore. I never did make it to the aquarium.
Instead i spent too much time at the hostel, and ended up at Cannery Row just down the block more often that i wished, eating boring chain Subway sandwiches – not curious to find other cheap food.
And i looked at those walking and shopping and talking about when and where to eat, and realized that i was really no different. Where is the curiosity of my mind, body and soul. I looked at those who kayaked upon the water, those who were scuba diving, and those who were engaged. I thought of the flowers i passed and smiled at but whose names i do not know, whose growth patterns and origins and more i do not know, and of the rock formations, the layers jutting up, and i wondered how they were formed but did not inquire, and how little curiosity i have displayed, and how limited my experiences have been though they have taken place in many locales. And how i have been caught up in the me and wondering what i should do, instead of just letting interests guide me with enthusiasm and branching off where they lead me – developing and following a passion.

Is it that i lack curiosity or that fear holds me back – afraid to go out and explore as i do not know what i will find. And so i find myself in the same old places.

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