Posts Tagged ‘life path’

Down the familiar path I could go no further,
blocked by a padlocked gate
and a sign saying closed for season
I could have gone before
and thought about it
more than than once
but it seemed so far
and i had gone far enough,
on another day
a trail to the side called me more
I was not even sure today
but i said i’d go
around the bend
to see what was there
hidden to me
out of my sight.

I sat at the rest area
having emerged from one section of the canyon
now overlooking a wider valley
a more open vista
which narrowed to another section of the canyon further down
and it called,
i deliberated and set out on the path
but at the bottom it was closed.

So i sit once again in the no name rest area
a lawn mover rides behind me
and i wonder about my plans
to go back to where i have been before
to a place that calls, but i hesitate
something not quite…
what i love, but

I was not quite sure this time either,
the walk beyong the bend
to the hidden secrets
or not
a walk in the strong sun
the sun that burns
and beside the highway and its roar and din
on the other day i did not go either
for the same reason
the discomforts of the path
or was it the path itself?

The path is now closed
the river rises more every day
and will for some time to come
overflowing banks and paths
flowing over its given bounds.
I heard before that it was closed further down,
or rather upstream,
beyond where i could walk,
at least in both directions
able to return to town
beyond the dam with its controlled flow
or was it the power plant
a bicycle could not pass
i had thought of the river
and the other and floods elsewhere
and imagined getting trapped
in the heavy flows of spring.
of winter melt off
when that which was frozen in place
becomes fluid and releases
rushing out to sea
connecting with that of other mountain tops
and valleys of the world.
but that was beyond where i planned to go today.

This morning i made a choice
to come through to this place,
through a canyon where i had already been
through a place that calls forth beauty and joy
where i knew that god speaks,
and did speak strongly today,
revealing paths and wisdom along the way
calling forth my heart and soul once again
my destiny,
and mysteries of the world,
connecting me with the all.

It was in the canyon, holding in
the place where the river flows
beyond whose walls i could not see
and sought a broader view

i came to this place where i now write
and will turn around from here
a decision to be made
one i lingered on
asking for more to be revealed
now wondering if the path i imagined will be blocked
or if it was all along
or maybe it shows the place
the place to where i must go.

I had thought of heading upwards today,
ascending up the boy scout trail
to a mountain top that provides vistas of the valley below
But it was more a should, then a call
I asked why i did not go,
a new experience, a different view,
but then as the sun glared upon my face
i knew it was not for me
and sat in the shade and wrote some words
words that i hesitate to reveal
and then walked along the highway path
to the canyon i had been and loved,
one that had been new to me
less than three weeks before.
As i walked my arm swung as if on its own
like a pendulum, dowsing something unknown.

I had started up that other path a few days ago,
exposed, on the edge of the mountain
cliffs falling below
the wind picked up and the sun burned hard
and i turned around,
admitting to myself that this was not where i wished to go
admitting what i knew at the bottom of the trail
and came back down
but when i spoke to others who had done the hike
i felt that maybe i had not done far enough,
that maybe i had fallen short,
even though i felt “off” along that trail
and thought maybe i should today.

i walk back into the canyon
following the rivers flow,
around no name bend
the place where the guardians reveal themselves,
still facing the decision on where to go,
this walk itself, a way of procrastinating,
to buy the ticket or not
a decision on hold,
delaying in the zone of impasse.

The place of impasse where i have been
the walk, any walk, a way of delay
of putting off once again
something planned in my mind
but action not taken
the questioning, the shoulds
the i don’t knows
and maybe that was why the path was blocked,
for i could not put it off anymore.

Over the past few days, the northwest called more strongly again
images constantly entering my mind and soul,
a place i have been and left many a time
my heart sung, and inside a smile
a locale brewing up inside
of trees, and life, of an environment that spoke to me,
where i felt more akin,
for from here i knew i had to go,
had known for quite a while
the visitation time over,
and i knew i would, not, could not, stay.

i thought i should head back by a route not taken
and lands never explored,
a circutous route to the north and wild,
through the lands where i felt i should see
but a resistance came up inside,
and part of me asked why?
part of me said, take the train, the same route as before
it is direct, do you really need to explore any more.
Was it difference i sought, or an avoidance of the familiar,
the paths too well worn
become ruts, getting deeper
or so i thought
or was it felt.
But it was calling so deep
as it had been for some time
i telling myself no – not again.

Crescent lake had been beckoning,
the olympic pennisula.
my trip to pass through locales i thought i left behind,
and i hesitated again,

Now the path is blocked,
is this a sign
and i wondered
will the ticket price rise too high,
for i asked god, to let me know, to provide a sign
and the ticket price was part of the deal.

As i sat in the bend by the wall where the guardians were
where much had been revealed a few hours before
Out of the blue another locale came up
one i had not thought of before,
en route to another town with crescent in its name
and off to fantasy land i went,
and felt a peace inside, this is where i must go
i do not know why.

As i approached town, and the time to decide
to make the deliberation concrete,
some anxiety arose
but i was convinced that i would go,
and was told yes, that is your destiny,
the corner where you belong,
and klamath falls kept coming up over and over again
not as the final place
but the where to next.

I went to town, to check the website first
and the ticket price had gone up
several dollars beyond the limit i set
still i looked at that other place
and the price remained in reach,
quite reasonable indeed.
Was this where i am meant to be
for the moment that is.
I asked, should i, should i, and the answer was yes
over and over again.
so i bought a ticket leaving the next day
and felt at peace with the decision i made,
my heart still welling up inside
and the internal smile as i sat by the water.
I obeyed a call,
but somehow i felt i would not go.

It is two days later and i am still here,
part of another story not yet written
the ticket to the second place,
the departure now set and changed to several days away.
And all seems less clear.
Asked to help out here,
after another quit
a person left in a bind
a request i had also called forth many a time
not here per se,
but to be asked and called upon to serve
to be offered a chance
to be wanted,
to hear, Alice can you stay.
To earn some money, even a little bit
to help me on my path
so here i am, working for 5 days
until this place is under new ownership and management
(another story to be posted soon).
Inside i had known this was a possibility,
one i resisted inside,
told myself i would say no
but when the time came the answer was yes.

I am still here
in this place
this place i wanted desperately to leave
but the energy feels different
and i feel at peace
that this was where i was meant to be
even though i know i will not stay,
it is a rest area like that where i stopped on the path.
The river flows
another one
joining the colorado, the one where the path was blocked
I am downstream
but the water rises every day
flowing faster with passing time
expanding, lipping the shores ever more closely
going out to sea.
But inside i am calm,
though murky, like the water with winter run off

i do not really know what lay ahead
but will continue with the flow
my true path not blocked,
for the line is not straight,
just the path i was on that day,
a path i sought out, but also used to avoid
acting on that deeper voice inside.

Still i have 2 days to go,
and feel that something may come up
something i do not know
and one day, i may read what i wrote, and see the message here.

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abandoned journey?

Staying here i have abandoned my path – the heaviness and sluggishness have now set in; it seemed a calm, but now that the intensity is gone, a deadness looms inside. I retreat and hide away, no longer engage with the energies of place, no longer feel them, at least consciously. But i know that i do, and that they have become a part of me – they have won. My world becomes small; i become small. My world the hostel – i cook some, gain weight, feel overwhelmed by the endless chatter or pratter of some, not part of “the group” to whom i cannot relate – big dominant personalities, so i shrink away to my room, my bed, hide behind the computer screen, and now so much of my life on line – a place where i engage much more than before – reach out- but again on the outside. I crave that intensity and passion, some glee that drives me out of bed in the morning, that gets me moving, but instead i find diversions to fill my day – sometimes. and i remember this feeling, the place where i have spent so much time, not in the physical world per se, but inside – that place that says this is it, this is all it is supposed to be, why can’t you be like the rest, get off on what they do – but i cannot – for how long did i try, and then, as now, for how long did i merely resist, still not engaging in what calls me forth, and as i do not feed that light, it slips away and i no longer know what it is. Has it died or has it just been buried inside? At times i feel like maybe some of the harsh edge is fading, that a softness is shining through, but where is the edge in the positive that makes me more than a lump.

It is not merely this physical place where i am – the return to hostel zone – the place where i said i would not go back to, but something drove me here – for although many drive me nuts and i am on the outside, i do interact with people more, and it was years ago in hostels where it first began. And here i have been allowed to stay, not pushed out, as it has been in so many locales. Why is it that these very places where i feel dead, are the same ones where i can stay. Is it because i dared not live? Or is it in the quiet times, that something slowly grows inside, a transformation that is imperceptible to me, but when i look back that is where it occurred.

Is it November, the coming of winter, people huddle in, the trees have dropped their leaves in all their splendour, and reveal their nakedness. The days are darker; so much less light revealed. but no, i have felt it in these zones at other times – but the late fall has also been a time of retreat.

But it is also the place – not only here – but others like this – that i stop in locales where i do not see me staying, do not see a way to bloom that is me. I went to a tree lighting in a square – heard about it through another, but like so much with events here, the information is hard to find; it was small, subdued, and without passion so it seemed, that restricted feeling that comes with salt lake – of nice streets and clean, but that does not know how to do festivals and events. i walk through temple square, so beautiful and lit up in a multitude of colours; it made me smile as i made my way through the conservative well dressed crowd, but again i felt something press down through the choral music in the air. But i ventured out a little bit; for a moment felt less sluggish then returned with an empty evening ahead of me.

The sluggishness is here – and has taken over – reminds me of beaconsfield and toronto with my dad; the two cities, montreal and toronto are grand, but when i have been back i have felt this emptiness and deadness grow; i thought it had gone away but it has returned. And it is that feeling of having given up once again, of supposing to be someone i am not, of neither understanding nor fitting into the mainstream, but of feeling that is what i am supposed to do – get along, fit in, carve off the corners of my star to fit into the square hole, and kill that part of me that is unique and different, that walks to a different beat, that provides the spark and light that can shine – and i feel her dying inside. And how to move beyond that deepest most primal feeling that she is unacceptable and that who she is is wrong, that if only she were fixed somehow, that she would be allowed to dance. And while i dance with her sometimes, there is that feeling that i must put her aside; her music is different than what others feel and she cannot dance to the canned dancehall pop (and when it comes to literal dancing this is so true – i move and shine to the more offbeat tunes that so many “struggle with” and remain stiff or go through unfelt motions when if comes to many of the popular tunes when the floor comes alive and fills up – but at least when it comes to dancing i am now ok with that)

Maybe that is why i have been stuck here – a stuckedness i brought on myself – to learn to own this and to shine through anyways – to accept and love that girl inside, and to feed her energy, so that she might shine through and dispel those voices that say she should be something else – to reclaim that slogan of my teens “you gotta be weird to be normal” and accept my difference as a unique shining light.

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A small detour

A large truck blocked the sidewalk. It was picking up a dumpster and the only way around was to walk in the wide street. I did that on my way to the coffee shop venturing out beside the small stream of traffic that was coming towards me. When i left the truck was still there so i took a small detour and discovered something on the way.

I usually walk down that way to the library, in fact it has become routine. My body automatically turns to the right and down 300E and i walk the street that was new to me three weeks ago no longer really noticing what is there. It is not that i am closed down, but that i am on automatic pilot and thus not fully engaged – unless, of course, there is something so obviously different, or in my way – something that is impossible to ignore.

So when i left i had to break out of the habitual mode and come into the present moment and locale. I could step out into the traffic and walk around the truck, or i could turn the other way. The sun was shining, and to go in the other direction would take me there just as well – it was only a few hundred metres longer after all. So i walked over and down 200 east instead and discovered a street cart selling veggie dogs – in fact the food it sold was entirely vegetarian. “Now so what”, you may say, “it was only a street cart”, but for me it was a discovery – something small – but a discovery nonetheless.

Not only did i get to eat a veggie dog, something that i had been thinking about for a while, but I consciously realized that i had ventured out and discovered. The other day i had been at the library and my tummy rumbled and i wanted something small to eat; i did not want soup from the nearby coffee shop, as good as it is, for a can of soup was to be my dinner that night. I walked up and down the busy avenue – 400 south – that i also know so well -, a place where you feel overwhelmed by the cars, looking for what i could not find, for what i knew was not there. Eventually i hopped on the trax in the free zone, and went for a ride to get a street cart burrito that while tasty did not seem as good to me as it had the times before. Last week when grocery shopping, i had looked at the veggie dogs, something i rarely do, but decided not to buy them as for me it is an occasional treat and is street food. What i had been looking for was there all along but i had not turned to see. Now i know that cart exists, only a block from the library, and i can return there any time. And maybe i will, and it will become part of a new routine, or then again, maybe i won’t.

This might seem like a really small thing, but how often do we find ourselves walking the same path over and over again, more out of habit than anything else. Something that could add to our lives is just around the corner, but we have no idea that it is there. We don’t think to venture out until our path is somehow blocked, even momentarily. It is easy to get agitated and bemoan why must i go around this obstacle (even when another way is clearly there). but if i just say, yes, i can go around, I may find something there. A detour need not be a source of frustration, but can be a journey of discovery.

A detour is not the same as a path being blocked, for we know we can get around, and still get to our destination. While it did not happen here, we might find ourselves headed for entirely different place, to where we were meant to be. (And of course, sometimes a detour is just a detour – nothing more and nothing less )

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The body remembers. the mind remembers. I am still in Eugene and it feels like previous times that i have been here and like another type of flash to the past. I wake up tired and groggy not wanting to communicate – a way i woke up for much of my life but not in the past few years. Despite the abundance of health food stores, i do not feel like cooking much and my diet, while still healthy, becomes what it was years ago. I walk quite a bit, but the body feels weak, and restless too, again a flash to the past. And the way i process events and emotions seems to have regressed to another time.

I started to write this yesterday, and then i was to write about parallel lives, how this zone feels so cut off from others i have recently been in, and if perhaps i am just a small part of a larger beings consciousness and am really living all these lives simultaneously, like fragments of a dream. For when i come back here it seems that i physically and emotionally feel like i have here in the past, and my thoughts and activities are similar to what they were here, and all follow a similar process and shift as they have in this locale and what that is created is but a continuation of what was experienced here before, as if what has happened in other locales has been bracketed or erased. And as such i feel like i have once again stepped back in time, though now feeling more removed as if watching myself.

But it is not merely the time that was contained in this space that i reconnect to; the people here in this hostel and who i meet with few exceptions are not the same as those who were here before, and though they are new to me, they help carry me to memories back before this space. As does this town in some ways – reminds me of what i once was and what i had once wanted to be – the mid-sized college town with that bohemian hippie alternative air. And as with previous visits here i find myself loosing “my voice” – not literally, but that passion to express feels stilted somehow – or somehow stuck.

I am doing a work trade at the hostel, cleaning and checking in guests in return for my stay. Something that i have done before, but that is so part of a stage of life i thought i had moved through and wanted to let go of, or move beyond. And that is how i feel, back here once again. And the one actual person who i have reencountered from the outside, is a woman i met up in Anchorage at the hostel up there two years and a bit ago – the last time i cleaned in a hostel in return for my bed. And it was her who gave me a lift out of there to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula and to what became the beginning of a new stage of my life. And while i am glad to have reconnected with her again, meeting her here makes me feel like i have not really moved on. And this time i won’t get a lift out of here- her car deal fell through, and she is flying back home. and i get taken further back, because like many who pass through here she reminds me of another i knew years ago – in a creative writing class back in Montreal. At night, my dreams take me back there too. But perhaps this is all part of what i said a few months ago about integrating parts of my life and i now ask should i have just let go for i feel less full of life than i did, even in angst, just a little while ago.

Besides the owner of this place, the other actual person i met, was a man whose last visit here was my first in 2007. I looked at him his first day here – that look of familiarity from i don’t know where – he reminded me so much of M who i lived with for over a year, in a zone in some ways similar to this. A bowler hat on a wide chunky face, his smile and the hair that hangs down and beard starting to grey, and the walk and the posture were so familiar to me. And this place, the alternative pot smoking crowd, reminds me of that.

In some ways it brings back a combination of my teenage years, and the youth that predominate bring it back more. There is so much that i once wanted to reclaim – but being here now i know that i can’t go back to what i was before, and with the acceptance that comes with middle age i no longer wish to for i am not the same person i was then. And so i feel stuck in another sort of time warp, a friendlier one, but one that fits no more. The hostel and the wandering crowd, so many people who travel around, biking, hiking, searching craigslist for rideshares – talks of festivals – of burning man, and hula hooping and poi and fire dancing and more. And the creative types and wannabes hanging out on porches just passing away the days. So much that i once wanted to experience, but that truly calls no more. And i had thought of the alternative festivals before coming here – a place to camp and meet and be – caught in circles of searching for what isn’t really me.

And i see others who call me back to my college years and before – one of the work traders a few years older than me – who is getting depressed after band broke up and walks around saying i’m bored, reminds me of W. from the cafe – that anti-authoritarian veggie political cafe where i spent so much of my time back then – it hasn’t existed for years but it would fit so well into this neighborhood – endless debates on politics, the environment, and what is the next way – and so self-conscious in its alternative stance. A woman about 10 years younger than me with long pony tails, a pierced nose, tattoos, and a long skirt commented that i and another seem to be from the east coast – she reminded me of some of the hard-core granola activists i met in Ontario. And another girl here is the spitting image of someone i knew in university – and like many here, the same age we were them, and maybe what i am experiences are the ideals as they exist at a certain stage in life.

The discussions i have and listen to are refreshing on issues and other ways – but i feel that i have had them so many times before. And last night i watched a film of the Dead Kennedys early years – another flashback again. so much here brings me back to a particular zone – a zone of living that extends beyond time and space but is framed in certain locales. And the frame to me is beginning to feel a bit like a cage.

It is not a question of throwing all this away, as i tried to for many years, and that tossing is probably what brought me back here a couple of year back – to reclaim some of me that i had lost. But now it is to value what is here, but to not cling to what no longer fits or at least in the way that currently exists. I expect to be here for another week or so, and during that time i will let myself grow.

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Eugene –

I have returned to Eugene – that hippie town. And in many ways it is. And today i like it here – feel comfortable and not out of place, blending in with so many around. So different from seaside where i just was. The sun shone and i walked along the river through the parks and along the multitude of bike/walking paths that cover this town – or small city i should say. The river much higher than on any of my previous visits and the rock i had liked to sit on was underwater. Still i found one bench and then another, and watched the river flow and people jogging and biking along, some saying hi one their way past. And on the way down i passed the rose garden, so fragrant at this time of year – the first time i have been here when the roses are in bloom. I am still tired and my writing somewhat forced, but today i felt more alive than in a while. My mind abuzz with concepts of measurement and perception and consciousness.

Sunday was different. The day was grey, and it was this first time in a long while that i got soaking wet as i walked along – my pants drenched and sticking to my thighs and this is what i wrote:

I am now back in Eugene and the rain is still here and am in the grey zone once again – the ruts in the circle are getting deeper, carved into the mud, the familiar paths get packed down hard and so that the walls appear to grow and are harder to climb over for with the mud you slip back down, and harder to see beyond – all i know is that there must be a beyond, but with the walls that surround it is getting so much more difficult to imagine what may lay there. And with the rain that covers my glasses all seems but a damp blur. And my feet get stuck in the mud.

I spent the day at the library and the rain gave way to mere grey. I found a book, one of several that i had brought over to my comfortable seat, and read it from cover to cover. I like this library, one of my favorite with plenty of comfortable seating and so many books that appeal to me – for the collection in smaller cities reflects the type of town it is – and in many ways the type of town i could fit into – maybe. And there is a cafe with cheap coffee which you can take upstairs as you read and a book exchange in the lobby for those without library cards. In many ways it is the centre of downtown, beside the transit centre, a place where a diverse group comes to visit, and the block in front where the street kids – many seem to be more delinquents – still try to gather – now with limitations on the behaviour there.

I stay in the Whiteaker neighborhood, the most granola and artsy of them all – small older houses, many a bit run down but with cachet – or more – some painted in wild colours – purples and pinks and blues and orange with creative art of bicycles and found objects dotting many porches and lawns. The neighborhood is treed like much of the city and the streets with the uneven sidewalks are dark at night. During the day, you see the art, creative gardens – some small overgrown lawns, and few plain tended ones. A short walk to downtown, and in or nearby, cafes with reasonable prices and organic or other ethnic food, small bars, health food stores, – and with a cheap regular grocery store, 7-11 and so much more. It is the bohemian area of young artists, musicians, activists and other counter cultural types and potheads. In it i appear very straight and conventional. It has its allure but is it really me – twenty years ago perhaps, but i am not sure anymore. Still people often say hi and live their lives and there are nearby neighborhoods, while alternative by conventional standards are not quite so bohemian.

Maybe that is why i feel sad and blocked here, seeing so many youth pursuing their passions – life laid out in front of them – for so many do live in alternative ways – not only the young but also the old. Grey haired women and men of modest means, living simply getting by but seeming to have passion in their lives. But i also see those who have fallen off the edge – not just the hard core street kids of downtown, or the drunks who hang out at red apple recycling bottles to buy more beer, or the grey ponytails with ragged clothes who ride around on bikes and smoke too much weed, but others who seem more like me who let life pass them by or somehow fell away over time and who wander around or sit on porches and those who i do not see who sit behind closed doors. But i see those who work their passions and those who work jobs but still have passions; in stores and elsewhere it is not merely an underclass who works. And while the highways circle the downtown core, there is decent public transportation and so many who get around by bike.

Yes, there is the yuppie element as well on the other side of down – the boho types with progressive green values but where class is apparent in every way. And there is the closing in against the street kids, many who are but teens, in the downtown core. But here, there seems to be truer acceptance and openness to a multitude of lives. The live and let live ideal seems to be more of a reality here. There is the student zone by the university, with frat houses and excitement over the wins and losses of the Ducks, and there are so many “regular” people too. And poverty and hard drug areas as well – and of course the suburban “sprawl” with malls and big box stores. i wonder how much overlap there is between the worlds or if they are pockets unto themselves – for i not clearly fit any category.

There is much here that i value – the library, events, parks and cafes – and that it is a city but one that moves at a slower pace and the friendlier atmosphere. And like with previous visits i have thought of trying to stay here – though now i realize for the summer only for i don’t believe i can do a winter of the northwest grey. I put out some feelers, ran a housing wanted ad on craigslist, looked at a place and made so calls but nothing seems to fall into place and the fears and low self esteem rise up further and further again. And this weekend is graduation, and the town is booked up and will be time to move on.

For it makes me face just how far i have fallen, and wonder if i can claw my way out. Competition for work is fierce and i am old and worn out, and for housing it can be tough as well – and so much done by word of mouth and connections in this smaller town. I see a few others with their lists and letters of references, something so demanded that i cannot show – and it eats at me – not only the necessity and practicality but also the hurt that i don’t have people to say i’m great and am reminded of how i’ve screwed up. Never done a bad job – in fact i have been told so many times my work is good or paid rent late, but i have had trouble fitting in and getting along with others so many times – and been cast out. And tears run down my face as i write this down as i think of the pain all that has caused and feeling ashamed and all alone and as an outcast. And i shake as i write this, snot drips from my nose, and i can barely see my way through the tears. And then i run again.

This feeling has been with me for years, and i have fallen more and more over time and am reminded of how far removed i really am. For with housing, i have not had a home or an address for almost 5 years, and really only one in my name for a brief five months since 2001. And my employment history is just as skewed and non-existent, and my last two short positions – one volunteer – did not work out all that well, and the last ended in disaster with me harshly cast out. And while this came up when i briefly tried here 2.5 years ago, since that time i have only fallen further and deepened the ruts that hold me in.

And so i will probably move on tomorrow or so to who knows where. i get more and more tired as the ruts get deeper but i do not know how to climb out. And where to go – i dont know – and i have not for years – for there is no place for a person like me, no place to go. and this is how i have felt my time in the northwest over the past several years – but i keep coming back and fail to pass through, bringing up only more tears.

While there is so much wonderful about Eugene – and other towns i have been in – it is dark cloud that comes up and hangs on all too tight. And while much is not the place per se – for it happens in almost any place i think i might want to stay – and to be honest here is not the top of my list – but how much longer can i keep going on. Will i end up in the type of place where i truly do not wish to be?

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Just as San Francisco as a mythical place represented my dreams, i have come to realize that the Northwest states represent their loss. My sadness here has not only been because of the gloomy grey skies, but it has been a place where i have often come when i have no longer been able to dream – i have come when they have started to slip away or after greater losses, and i have further abandoned them in much of my time here. While the grey plays into that – and i only now truly realize how much it does – i have often also come at personal times that opens myself up to, and makes me vulnerable to, the greys. And my difficulty in writing here is not merely that the greys have clung on again, but also, because so much of the story that comes to my mind is one that i wish to let go. And i am getting tired of the story of me and my passion is draining (or has drained away) once again – and i see that in the energy of the words i write upon the page or screen.

It is true that the first time i came through at the age of 20 i saw and fell in love with the beauty of parts of the Oregon Coast – it was July and sunny, and i experienced the Pacific’s power and magnificence. While i was a place i wanted to see again for i relished its glory, it never represented a dream per se. Still in 2001, when i left “my normal life” i came out here and saw the wonder once again, but also a sense of malaise underneath. And in the past three years, since September 2007, this area has increasingly become a place where i merely hang on and sink myself down. Yet i return, even though each time i say i will not. And i ask myself why – and in the past few years i think the familiarity calls upon me and the fear of the unknown and letting go. I have started several entries on my time on the coast, and in the next day of two i will need to put them out, as unfinished as they may be. For hopefully to put them out will be to help let them go and in doing so will help create that space inside for life to bubble up once again.

I think more now of places as symbolic though they really exist in 3D. But all too often what is imagined or the energy that calls to me when i am away is only a partial perception of the place. And with these callings, how much of it has to do with the place per se, the concrete tangible aspect of it, and how much has to do with what has been created in the mind. It extends beyond the experiences one had as well, and the emotions and feelings associated with them. it is part of the picture, but it is not all. For what is remembered and what does call is only a small portion of what truly is there for in any given moment we perceive only a small fragment of all that is around, and we then further (unconsciously) select what part of that becomes part of ‘the story’. And when we return they is so much more, what has been lodged deep in our minds comes up, and we return in so many ways, and the place too has changed and remains the same. And we remember that the call itself was not pure, and there were rumblings we tried to deny and push from our minds.

And why is it that i have been called to the rains – is it something i needed to process, or did the grey in my mind bring me here and keep me here, the outside reflecting that which is within. For the past several times here, and previously in BC, i would have the call when away, and then upon arrival would have that feeling of being pressed down. And as time went by, and i kept coming back, that feeling would grow even more. So was this place once part of my dreams? Maybe – i am no longer sure.

And i did not head north – to a new area, and thus a place of new possibilities, because i wanted to avoid the grey and the rain – and it has followed me around. Is it because it is something i was so determined to avoid, that i called it forth upon me? Is it a reflection of the act of avoidance in and of itself – of going away rather than moving towards.

And i know that what i am seeing and remembering in this very moment is only part of the story. To put it out, though it is incomplete, for otherwise i could rewrite and write again, each time altering what is “real”. For i know that i have grown here, in moments of despair and of joy – and have learned from nature and the dark nights of the soul.

As i finish the rambling on, i see that is it is the familiarity that i wrote about that at times brings me back here. And the feeling that this is someplace safe – life is calm, people are generally truly nice and kind and there is more of that energy of acceptance and love than exists in so many places around. Especially here in Oregon. And that feeling embraces and also closes in, as i become hesitant and wary of what “exists” elsewhere – a cocoon before i spread my wings.

And with the growth, that was internal, and the way all closes in, from the dense forests to the grey of the skies, maybe that is what this place has been to me – a cocoon. And maybe one that has outlived its time for more and more i have been feeling the need to spread my wings and fly. when does a cocoon nurture and when does it become a trap? A caterpillar must spend time there to become a butterfly, but must also break out to complete the process – or otherwise rot and die. Did i come back because in the past i tried to break free too soon, or in other ways did not complete the transformational process that would allow me to fly? That i cling onto the comfort of what is known, for i really do not know what is means to be a butterfly and fear making a break from what is known? But i cannot go back to being a caterpillar, life does not work that way. A caterpillar does not know what the outcome will be, but continues with the process anyhow – shedding what is no longer needed and restructuring from the inside out. It cannot say, oh let me proceed, but i’m not ready to lose my skin or my feet, or these wings don’t feel quite right, can i tuck them back in.

So i think the northwest maybe is my cocoon, and like many of the old wooden buildings for me it has begun to rot.

I think about how i did not let go of this place – i left it behind, but still let it call. in my journey through central america it called in several places, and rather than be where i was, i remember the idealism of here. it called in Costa Rica, when i was in beautiful nature, yet still felt a bit dissatisfied – in manual antonio and along the hot coast when i remember the coolness of the coast in the north, and again in monteverde when i was not as amazed by the cloud forest as i could have been, or when i first imagined it, for i had been to so many lush rainforests here.

I am avoiding writing about that time where i let this place – the usa west – come onto me and as such i stopped the growth and transformational process – or at least put the brakes on it. When i was about to break through at las pirimides and became afraid and felt like i was about to die – not knowing if it was in this physical body or in the ego that held me in, but after all the energy transforming and visions and releases i had, i truly felt as though i would soon be dead. I cried and cried that fateful night, and said, if this is so then let it be. but then i added, i don’t want to die here, let me see the large trees and the pacific northwest once more, before i go. and then put the brakes on it and soon started the cycle of revisiting. I asked for this, and am i fated now to rot inside or can i push on through – for how many times have i not let go when i felt afraid and alone and this stagnation is the consequence. At times in the past month as i have walked along, i have felt like a ghost and wondered if that is what i really am – a spirit who has died to the physical world, but just does not know and cannot let go. And at times i wait for someone to shake me and tell me that is so, and then i will be ready to go to my true home for i know that i cannot stay in this cocoon, but it is a place to which i crawl.

And that has been so much of my sadness and emptiness of late – knowing that i turned back and ran away from the journey that i was on. Have i hindered my transformation – was i given but one last chance. Have i come here to die, instead of a quick process, a slow painful death? Can i still spread my wings or have they been forever clipped? Or has all that has slipped away been a final letting go and i will somehow emerge from this cocoon?

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This entry is so difficult to write, but i need to finish it and put it out there, move beyond the zone that this is about. Port Townsend felt to me like a fort, and i feel guilty writing what i wish to say, that i am not being fair or right, that i dare not feel this way. And i don’t know what is “the truth” if there can ever be just one, and what is my perception and the lens i saw all through. For the lens has come to me before in Port Townsend and other such locales, so how much of it is the place that brings this lens out in me, and how much of it is the lens itself that helps continue to create such a place so as to keep the lens on.

Port Townsend is such a wonderful place, the ideal, i hear people say. And in many ways it is true, but i feel something amiss and sad inside. The town has so much that i value and thought i wanted, and maybe still do. Independent bookstores, cafes, galleries and shops selling herbs and ecological clothes dot the downtown. While a safeway and McDonalds are out by the park and ride, a large food coop is closer to downtown, and a farmer’s market happens every Saturday. Organic farms with CSA box programs dot the area. Festivals happen throughout the year, arts and culture schools and classes abound, and it is a place that seems to have a sense of community, of connection and voluntarism and people who make things happen. i know that i once wrote that this place was a beacon of light, but now it feels more like a fort, like the place where i stay. Another woman looking for a place to land, to call home, told me this a few days ago so i know the feeling is not just me. And i have heard before, that for some it can be a tough town to break into. While nice to visit, it is tough to stay, and the community that seems so nice as you look on from afar, has boundaries and walls thicker than you saw at first glance. And i feel locked outside its gates. And i also ask myself do i really want in – and is my reason for saying no that it truly isn’t me, or that i reject what i feel has rejected me. And honestly it is a bit of both.

And i have to admit, the town felt a bit staid and closed, that despite a lingering progressive granola air and the arts culture, i felt a lot like i could have been in New England. there is a reserve, and a feeling of it being a very established place, where the energy flow has been set, and a bubble created that blocks much new energy from entering in.. For though i had come to visit, it was a place that appealed as a potential home, but somehow i felt that i would not be welcome there. I have been drawn here before and left it with the same feeling, but something draws me back, the idealness of it all. It represent the community that i say i want with the homes with gardens and sidewalks on many of the streets, a real downtown where people go, and active community groups. It is the type of place i imagined i wanted to live, but something pushes me away. Maybe i just do not fit in, a single childless broke middle aged woman in a community that seems to have more families and retires, though statistically i am about the median age. But i think it is more than that. For though i have been drawn to these types of places in many locales, there seems to be something that pushes me aside.

While i was there a heavy dark energy clung to me, one that i could not shake off for very long, but that disappeared when i left town. Though the weekend turned sunny, a dark cloud hung over me. I felt like i was suffocating as a dense energy crawled inside. I walked on the beach under the cliffs to and from town hoping to shake it off, but often i did not see what was around. I tried to stretch a bit on my last day there, a Sunday when i walked around the bunkers at fort worden, for all felt so condensed inside. It came and went and came back again. And i feel guilty for saying this, that it is i who is wrong, for it is not a place to feel bad or criticize, how can you dare say that about here, And it is precisely that belief that i must hold all inside, that made me feel like i was to suffocate. Or was it the belief that i was shut out that

I am not exactly certain what brought this on, for i know it was not the first time i felt those emotions and heaviness there. I stayed out at the hostel at Fort Worden and the whole town seemed to me a bit like a fort – guarded and hesitant as to what it would let in. Was it the town per se, my activities or lack of them there, the hostel in the fort itself, or something in the air? Or was it that i was trying to return to what fits no more, and though part of me still yearns for it, i cannot be let in no more? Or was it that this type of place was really never quite me, or that i was reminded of being shut out in previous locales. Or is it because it represents something i want so badly but have not been able to achieve?

For beneath the politeness of the place, there is a reserve, and a wariness of the people they greet. the vibe here reminds me a bit of victoria and seems a bit canadian, When i came through in 2001 or another time, i felt what i called a city vibe here, people not as friendly, more reserved and i noticed after being in other small towns they do not say hello on the street, though cars stop for pedestrians. it is polite, that it the word. And proper in an alternative type way, no one would call someone a name, it would be the cold shoulder, or snubbery or exclusion instead, a certain judgment that exists beneath the stated openness. And i felt the established older boomers in comfortable clothes looking at me, a wariness on their faces, and the old energy around, yes, there are many grey ponytails and creative types, and a tolerance towards some, but still a feeling that i do not belong. And that feeling that i am not welcome changed my energy, and i became someone who would not be welcomed with the dark cloud that hung around. And does this place remind me of others where i was not allowed in. And it still brings out the edge in me. For that feeling of rejection cuts me deep, and i tune into it, though there are other more open people around – and i did chat with some in the cute stores or on the streets.

And maybe some of it has to do with the hostile – oops Olympic Hostel at Fort Worden where i stayed. I felt my energy shift as i sat out on the bench, waiting for opening time. a young woman with smooth shoulder length blond hair and a hard look on her face got out of her car, walked determinedly right by me and i felt her eyes glare. She went up the stairs and into the residence – an employee i asked myself, but the realized that she was the managers daughter or friend. But something there got my defenses up, a generalized vibe, buried memories or a brief interaction at the visitors centre when i went to pick up my bag and the second woman was not nearly as welcoming as the first.

I went around the corner to where the office was. A guy in his mid forties was opening up – he looked at me blocking the entry and asked what is it you want in not the most hospitable tone. I do not remember his exact words, but i remember the tone and felt like i was being checked out as he looked at my backpack and my attire. I said i had a reservation, and he paused and let me through. When i went to pay, he asked if it were for all five nights, and he asked me twice, i went to say yes, but then something in his tone set off some alarms so i said no just two for now. We talked a bit and he opened up and became friendly but as i walked away the manager came in and questioned my paying for only two nights in a slightly accusing way. I had known the woman who had worked there before, and had a similar feeling from her off and on during the times i stayed there and it was a vibe i detected in many people in town.

I went down to the dorm, which had been moved, and there was one bed taken but the belongings piled around and on top made me believe it was someone who had been there for a while and that i was invading her space. There were two huge suitcases, the biggest you can buy, and bags and boxes and more that extended into the areas of 2 of the other 5 beds. It struck that cord in me saying you are pushing into someone elses space and made me wonder how welcome i would be down there. I went upstairs to ask about her, and was told that she was leaving the next day, had been here over three weeks and may have found a place, and it was time for her to move on. instead of sympathizing with her plight, i felt defensive in wanting my space too.

I asked about the wifi, and he said it was by donation, and showed the can with suggested donation $3-$5 clearly marked. I balked at that, saying at all hostels i’ve been at it has been free. His response was that it was expensive $1200 a year (which by my calculations works out to just over $3 a day for the entire hostel including business use, or about 10 cents per bed – yes most stood empty but) and that it was in the spirit of hosteling like donations for coffee or breakfast, which on my reservation was included in the price. I became defensive, and he said in a clippy dismissive tone, think about it and said there is wifi out at the commons building in the park (which was closed and i could not connect there). i did not check it that night, and the manager was hostile to me, i did give a donation of a dollar for the wifi and started off on a bad foot. I felt like i was being nicked and dimed and wondered where those “donations” went, and did not feel welcomed in the least and he reminded me of those judgemental closed liberals who i have encountered too many times before. And hearing that clippy dismissive tone, i got into that old pattern of mine, and searching for problems and problems i did find. And i think that help colour my view of the town, for where you stay effects your impressions of a place. But i also felt that he was representative of one element in the place.

And i think that was it, the hostel was not meant to be too welcoming, with the all day lockout and more. And i felt bad for not thinking it was all wonderful – one other said something about the lack of heat in the room where one night i needed three blankets just to keep warm (it was in the low 40s at night). But i feel bad writing this, as if i am the one who is wrong, for there is much good about the place, but the (un)welcome i received brought out the negative side of me.

i feel that it is wrong for me to write this about the place that it was i who was bad, and thus proved it, deserved that kind of reaction. but i know it was an energy at play, feeding each other, i dismissed and judged and feeling that closedness reacted in a way that “proved” the person right, for when one is looked down upon or seen as lesser, it is easy to slip into reactive behaviour and become the judge myself. And i think now of the power of love, and the energy it has, not romantic love but that of people and others in general, and when it is shut down, or when there is distrust, it brings forth a new energy entirely of its own.

The woman with the bags came in and we talked, and it was such a relief – she was trying to relocate and had problems finding a place to stay, saying these places are illusionary, not as open or friendly as at first glance, and while she had found something very temporary, she did not know if she could find a longer term place, for as doors opened up they shut firm just as hard, and the town seemed closed to people like her – a wandering woman spent years in alaska, childless, single, and with a roaming path, and she had tried other communities, cute and liberal too, and found that there was little place for her. i could relate, and it felt we shared, but then i went down and to bed.

She came in about five to ten, just as i was ready to turn off the light on my bed and go to sleep and said i hope you are not going to sleep quite yet, i need to pack, and that set me off – for i saw her bags and stuff strewn around, and i was exhausted and 10pm was quite time. so i spoke up, and then we got in a fight and instead of making a friend i made an enemy. Did i see in her situation, the frustration of my own? It was not like she was packing a single suitcase, and she’s been back at the hostel for a few hours and waited until then to walk back and forth, stacking bag after bag in the aisle that was right by my bed. I should have been more generous, and was made to feel that i was wrong, spoke to the manager about the posted quiet times who just said curtly and unsympathically well she needs to pack. And i just felt more defensive like i should hide away and all my boundaries are wrong. And i am the bad one and maybe that is what i became. I asked the manager about cancellations the next day, they had a 48 hour policy and he said don’t worry about it, and now that i think about it i should have left. But the town i still imagined as ideal, a place i desperately thought i might want to stay, after all it is why i had come all this way. I’m not sure to the extent that my lens were clouded or to what extent i saw the underside clear, but after that the town felt more like a fort to me.

I feel guilty writing this – oh, it is such a wonderful place, how dare you write anything that is not entirely good – and maybe that is why i have felt like i am suffocating. Though it is by the sea, tides roll in and out, but it feels like a place where you don’t dare make waves or rock the boat, and there are so many boats being built and sitting in the harbour, how does a person like me, an outsider, not rock any one. And maybe that is why i am locked outside, not only from this place but from so many around.

I don’t know why i should feel this way, for there is so much nice here, and maybe that is it, nice is the word. And bland, and i think that is it. But all feels so bland and conventional and proper in a left coast type of way. And my writing has become bland as well, as i feel my energy sucked out of me, I feel passionless here, and i pick up on that although i know many must have passion to create all that is around. And so many do live their passions in their daily lives. It feels a bit like a place of “do-gooders” with whom i never really fit, even when i lived this lifestyle, too rough around the edge. Those who were nice, but never really let me in. In some ways it reminds me of N who i dated a long time ago, so perfect on paper, a sensitive progressive artsy guy, but something was missing, something that i could not put my finger onto, though when he turned my aside i was still crushed. But i do feel a staidness to this place..

I felt it was not a place where i could see someone dancing or singing with life, no great outbursts of emotion of any kind. I can’t see drunk debauchery or even anyone driving to fast. And while this constraint bothers me, i wonder if it is just a mirror – for i know i get upset when people talk or play music too loud or step out of my bounds, and i avoid the drunken scene, So why does it bother me, and what does it say. And the town is so full of expression in many ways – the artists and writers and so many more, but what i perceive is a safety zone that i could never quite fit in, Though there is debate in the paper about different issues, i feel like you cannot step to far from the albeit progressive norm. I felt like this is a place of the good, and though i seek out the pure, the good often feels oppressive to me. i feel that what i am writing is wrong. Or it is merely that i could not sing here? Or is it that i have not pursued my passions, and thus really am not welcome here, And is it seeing my own failure to sing and dance that brings out the darkness in me, the darkness that no body wants here.

And is it that i feel that i am not allowed in, and others also say it is a hard place to break into. For i have too much of an edge, and being here it comes back more. But many are not too traditional and was redone by some hippies and this town in its first incarnation had a rougher edge. but i feel faces checking me out in a not too friendly way, look at my worn pants and my ripped shoes and while polite, turn away. But even on my visit here in 2001 when all was new, i still felt that way. I feel the judgment around typical of a certain progressive crowd. Judge not and ye not be judged, but i still feel a protective cautious atmosphere. And yes, the judge in me comes out.

It is established and settled and emits that vibe. And while it has gone through various transformations, uptown feels like it has often been that way with the old victorian homes and mainstream churches, i know that downtown was once rougher with bars along the docks.

it feels like a fortress, protecting what is and in that way is so much of america post 9/11. While a crunchy liberal vibe, rebuilt in part by hippies who rediscovered this town many years ago, it feels like the walls have been put up to keep the evil elements out. And it feel like more and more towns are this way, the ideals of starting over, and building anew, no longer possible in these places. Is this a cycle places go through, or is it part of the transformation america is going through – not longer a place of exploration or of any frontier, but of protection of all that is. and so the hoards wander more, knocking at the few doors, and we are turned away. Though here there aren’t the “no” signs you see to the south, or the watchful police, and kids still busk on the street and you see a few who seem to be known with backpacks or bicycles and more.

And in some ways who can blame the people here, it is ideal in so many ways, in an area where much has been stripped away, poor communities, a few nice island enclaves, some rougher places and those dying out, and other places like this but without the community spirit. And community has boundaries, those who are in and those who are out, and the welcome on mainstreet seems but superficial. And i feel like i don’t fit in, and it is not only here but in the port townsends in so many places.

And are there any new places of dreams – there must be somewhere i hope. I guess i dreamed of this place as an ideal, and say little that would allow me to stay. And in the dream not only of there, but of many places like that, i turned to despair. And though i saw almost nothing for rent, maybe i could have stayed, but it most likely would have been on the edge. And what i want to be is in the included middle, a dream that i think was never for me, for all too often i have placed myself outside, and now in my life that is where i live, so far from the centre and i feel so cut off. And maybe to learn that it is ok to be on the outside, for in these types of places you will not be hunted if you are there, But the feel is that i would be tolerated, in the type of place that i so badly wanted to be accepted. Or did i?

As i read this i realize that this is the type of place that i have been taught to believe “is good”, the middle class, the artists, the community and more, the type of place that i was supposed to want. And yes it can be “good” but at the same time i also was taught (by who i am not sure) that other places and people were not so “good” and often in my life i have learned that is not at all true. For I know i have often felt more welcomed in rougher or simpler places that do not pride themselves on “being good” and maybe it is that disparity i see, and the beliefs that i still hold inside, beliefs that i thought i had let go of. For i have been to many of these places, the ideal liberal crunchy towns, believing that is where i am meant to be, and have left time and time again, feeling something off – that this is not the place for me, but still have clung to this ideal and that image of who i am and what i should be. I guess now is the time to lay it behind, keep the parts that i value, but stop clinging to this misplaced ideal.

I have left now, and it is time to put this out, for i have let this dark energy hang onto me too long. Part of me wonders if i should publish it, but if not i think i will hold it in.

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