it’s not easy living with me, I know. I’m the moodiest of critters, too often curled mollusk-like into my own shell, betimes bemoaning this or that or the whole kit n caboodle of my lot, tending to place blame for dissatisfactions wholesale on geography. poor chicago, it’s not to blame for my malaise, ultimately. but I can sure make it sound like it. to live with me is to attend an ongoing litany of plaint (hi, een) and confected concoctions of how fabulous it would be to move elsewhere in one direction or another– now closer to my family, now nearer friends, then away overseas, or what about just striking out behind the wheel across this great nation, no agenda, cameras and gazetteers in hand?
the noodling, you see, unto perpetuity– and I, for the most part, swept up inside its momentum, remain largely unaware of the impact of narratives I create, compulsively, in words thrown out across the airwaves of a room– until confronted by my partner’s, or on one or two memorable occasions my friends’, sheer sense of cognitive dissonance– you say again and again how you’re unhappy with this, how you’d just be happier with that…
the bittersweet truth is: the that is the forever elusive horizon, and this state of affairs is as it’s ever been. spinning dreams out this way and that is what I do. and it may from certain angles seem to contain only downside: continuous complaint, who wants it? so tedious– but underlying it nonetheless is the present, also cherished, if less volubly, and,Â at leastÂ in merciful retrospect, woven through with a thousand graces. the dilemma has in part to do with what folks have taken to calling “mindfulness”– that is, not having enough of it, not practicing it sufficiently to be… what? evolved? at peace with myself in the present?
peace in the present. peace amid motion and thrash of ongoing life. such a buddhist concept. I manage it ill. I am utterly western in my own thrash and whingeing. let us say I could be better: well, I will try. it’s foolish to leave a thing at that’s just how I am. cop out. but also I’d like to be kind of okay with, and see the value in, my own particular, flailing mish-mash. castles in the air can serve as seeds, take root given a fortuitous season, and climb and grow into something vivid, rooted, and real– or they can fly away over the water, so much dust into the view. only time sorts it all out.
so, at the same time that I discourse and fantasize about the multitudinous romances of Elsewhere, now I shop for a home to buy in chicago, a little piece of real estate in order to dig in, plant my garden, take root and claim this city as my own.