It is said that Deucalion and Pyrrha created men by throwing stones over their heads behind them. It is not a difficult thing to believe when the lengths, however excessive, to which man goes for an understanding regarding the reason behind a phenomenon is considered. Even I am tempted to believe in this legend if only I can take it for enough to justify my heart and its inflexible hardness which if revealed in its entirety, would certainly earn me an arrogant reproach, if not an unrelenting judgment. If not in the stones from which I descended, then due to my exhaustion; it must be something that allowed me to depart from my family without even a flutter of the heart. It must be something that keeps me so cool at the thought of my perhaps never seeing the affectionate countenance of my mother again—one does not dive into the world without acknowledging that the surface may be frozen over when the desire to emerge is born.
I have never been one to know the effects of homesickness, but this too I cannot know if is the result of Deucalion and Pyrrha tossing stones instead of something at least slightly malleable or if it is due to my having been so well consoled to extend the notion of home to encompass precisely the space I occupy. But I expected, if not to produce tears then at least to feel some of that delicious alteration of emotion so elusive for those constituted as I am—there was nothing and nothing remains for although it is an airport I now occupy, it, for the few hours to come, shall remain my home.
I suppose the absence of feeling is natural considering there will be no tears when I leave this, my present abode, but the feeling of ‘being at home’ must not be limited to occupying space alone—it is the feeling associated responsible for the impression. If ‘home’ is understood as the sensation of peace known by those who are dependent on deeming a thing theirs—petty imperialists and materialists at heart—then it is limited to the one bed in one’s house—some go so far in their abandon of truth as they attempt to claim a place as theirs that they would call a room or house their own without flinching, even if it is simply being rented—and cannot extend further unless the definition itself is.
If one is not so fixated with possession and allows ‘home’ to encompass the feeling of belonging and warmth that results from being around one’s family or loved ones, then home becomes that place occupied by those people, regardless of physical location. How fortunate is a man with such an understanding of home in conjunction with a genuine love for man? For him, the home is any place where people may be found and engaged. Well and if there are no people? It follows that such a person becomes then homeless, unless of course among his loved ones, at the center of their congregation in his mind is himself. Thus the most fortunate of men is constituted for if home depends on there being a feeling of being loved and of belonging, then self-love suffices to provide the individual with a home even if there stands nothing between one’s head and the scintillating, celestial bodies of the heavens.
And of those who deem home that place to which a man may return invariably to rest his head—seldom is it mentioned that the invariability persists only if the rent or mortgage payment is produced—I would be inclined towards pity if I was not certain of their volition being no less capable than my own. I suppose there is a certain comfort to be found in remaining still and rooted in one location, but comfort stagnates and I cannot but think that if a man was meant to plant himself into the ground so deep that he becomes incapable of movement, then he would share more properties with the plants whose design forbids movement. Perhaps some of those stones were seeds and thus the tendency to grow as far into the ground as above it.
As for me, if I was not made by nature to keep at least my feet to the ground, I would not think to remain attached to it. A man can see more form an elevated point and indeed, I am of those who yearn to see more. What a better vantage point in this epoch than from the window of an airplane? To see the typical, two-story house from the height gained in a plane is to witness the unfortunate nature of restricting one’s self to a single house—it is the indefinite permanence that is so repulsive. This house made of wood and made up to look white may appeal now, but what about a few months from the date of purchase; who can acknowledge his capacity to change and still subscribe himself to a single, particular plot of land? It is presumptuous!
I have been told that the heart is cooled by the passing of time, but does that not suggest that the flame of ambition is an accomplice to youth? I have seen too many people, my age and younger still, debilitated by ennui and apathy to believe that age influences ambition—it may be that if the worm is neglected, it erodes in time to give the impression that it is old age that assures the cooling of a passionate heart, indeed misconception is to be expected when the worm of ambition eludes perception and awareness at once. The same must carry true for the faculties responsible for the growth of man, that is if they are neglected, they erode to nothing to lead a man to believe that he is contented with the prison to which he confined himself—the notion ‘ignorance is bliss’ seems fitting here for if a man is born into a sewer system, so long as he is fed, kept warm, and more importantly, ignorant, then he will not only be contented, but likely blissful.
When a man ignores the thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and even immortality for long enough, he ceases to realize that it persists—whether it truly, entirely disappears or is simply forgotten into dormancy, I cannot know—and to all who look at him, it appears as though time has blown over him just enough to cool his heart and render him just like them, to their utter relief. To be sure, it must be a fierce pang of anxiety for them, rooted and automated, to behold men who mutilated themselves to break from the common mold and sprout wings that produce in birds the faculties for envy; the innocence of birds is an unfortunate casualty in the process of man’s liberation. But it is a paltry price to pay for they at least are still with life, while the man yet to know liberation is hardly living at all; is it presumptuous to think that a bird would sacrifice its innocence to bestow life just because I would? I am of their ilk and may assume a congruence in act just as in the intention to act which even in the envious bird, cannot but be understood as pure.
Their migration results form a change in seasons while mine from a depletion of what is to me interesting; we are all the products of our natures and can do naught save for glide when the favorable wind comes. Presently it has come and slides between the feathers of these figurative wings to take me south, toward not only warmth but that which seems to have served for my heart as a beacon to transmit a signal of a frequency perceptible only to it for nearly a year now. With this migration, I will again put the integrity of my heart to test and either confirm or abandon the conviction that states one need listen to no other voice but that of one’s heart.
It is no longer the trip itself that excites my spirit but that I cannot even begin to imagine what will come from it—this uncertainty is a delight for which I would give up everything. Of course, there is always at least a modicum of uncertainty when one regards one’s present life, but I am no child; a little helping is insufficient for a grown man and so it becomes necessary to take it to the extreme of a seemingly eccentric migration. Emphasis, however, is crucial on ‘seemingly’ because it is, needless to say, not mere eccentricity that motivates the trip but a sincere appreciation for life and a desire to embrace it fully as I know how, by means of unhindered exploration. A greater abundance of uncertainty is not easily found elsewhere: to enter a foreign country with eight-hundred dollars, with neither prepared housing nor job nor a solid—or in this case even tenuous—grasp of the local language but with one’s clothing carried in a backpack, one’s instrument in hand, the address of an old friend, and impregnable faith in the good will of God.
To be without an idea save for that which refreshes and renews love for life is, I am sure, a mark of the simplicity most conducive for a healthy manner of being. The fruits of faith are indeed plentiful as they ripen and fall to the innards of a man—how eager I am to learn if those to be found south are at all as glorious as those that still yet fill my stomach.
A new continent, a new frontier, a new opportunity! All of it is outside of this airport in which I presently sit, awaiting the sun, that I may see this new land I will soon explore. I expected unease or at least distress for being in a foreign land after having spent so long in the home of my parents but there is only the excitement of my aroused ambition even though this airport has no seats to sit atop—I did not doubt the woman who told me this only because she showed me a hallway lined with travelers lying in anticipation for a flight, or like myself, light. What a blessing it is to be so comfortable on the ground!
I feel a kinship with my hallmates for until I saw them, I was still chewing over the prospect of such a sleep and comparing its taste with that of staying up and postponing rest for tomorrow—indeed I’ve taken in enough caffeine for that to be accomplished without much immediate difficulty. It seems that I am completely unable to resist coffee in a plane; being confined to a seat with a restless mind yields fine fruits of productivity: save for a game of chess, I read and wrote, for six hours—such a thing cannot be done anywhere else that I have known. Needless to say, I have not been here long but either because of my stimulated state or this disposition of mine, I was eager to form an impression and to be sure, I have.
I have been met with genuine kindness devoid of that arrogance found in those I was surrounded by for a few months that prevents one from learning of others simply because it inspires no more than a desire to speak of the self. Perhaps I am harsh to criticize my neighbors thus, however, one must establish multiple points of reference if a desire to find the ideal is harbored. I have already been met with a willingness that I dare say creeps on eagerness to help, but it is too early to compare this trait with what I have found elsewhere.
I recall being in India under a similar weight of uncertainty but then I was uneasy, I wonder what changed since then. It may be that there is a natural apprehension in approaching a people whose moral alignment is not yet known—to know the majority of individuals in any given area pray to the same God as I do certainly sets me at ease. Of course, I come to quickly realize that my unease then was not at all warranted; perhaps I will learn that here, it is. Better to be at ease, trusting, and credulous and be cheated or the victim of theft than distressed, suspicious, and perpetually careful and never once victimized.
Maybe it is because I have only a trifling sum that I say so, but today I have found a friend in the admirable and like-minded Thoreau who wrote, ‘none can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage point of what we should call voluntary poverty.’ What an advantageous time to find reassurance from the remnants of a great mind and how interesting to read and learn that the American Dream has been a farce to wring out as much sweat and blood from the worker as possible before he either opens his eyes or dies, since at least the time of Thoreau. Not unlike myself, he saw the superfluity that is in store for the man who neglects his own spirit and the world prepared to nourish it if it is only embraced and decided to live his life not according to the tenets that promise stability, comfort, and security, but those that promise nothing at all save for the opportunity to learn of one’s self and the life that extends beyond it.
He decided to build a house near Walden Pond while I chose to simply roam around in search of no place in particular and at once the world in its entirety, but I am sure our souls sung in the same key when we made our respective decisions. For one such as myself, voluntary poverty comes not from giving up riches, but the opportunities that promise no more than those riches; it comes from working when necessity demands it (of course, I mean working a compensated job for I cannot any longer imagine life without work—thus is the benevolent gift from grace to those who devote themselves to their passion) and only until a sum no more than adequate is gained. The caffeine seems to be dwindling within me and so I can slip beneath time and perhaps wake to find the sun waiting for me as I now wait for it.