Thursday, March 27, 2014

Preparing For Departure

“What I had to face, the very bitter lesson that everyone who wants to write has got to learn, was that a thing may in itself be the finest piece of writing one has ever done, and yet have absolutely no place in the manuscript one hopes to publish.”
― Thomas Wolfe

Here I am poised to return to Illinois along with my daughter some four or five years after Matt’s death in the same house she is to move into. This second home has now been a rental property in the ensuing years and yet that space of the house itself has been suspended in time within me. I had decided not to return there for my mother’s funeral some months ago. She had passed away about two weeks after a extended visit with us here in North Carolina and I preferred to remember her as she was as we parted company for the last time. The ghosts of suspended conversations surround me as I write this.

“The old hunger for voyages fed at his heart....To go alone...into strange cities; to meet strange people and to pass again before they could know him; to wander, like his own legend, across the earth--it seemed to him there could be no better thing than that.”
― Thomas Wolfe

The arbitrary nature of memories suddenly appear only to fade in my associations as unfinished business. Sketches of scenes from the past are animated by neurons flicker and vanish, voices in timbre and nuance make for a soundtrack. A voice says “remember me”
Here versus there and in between the past and future, theres that fourteen hour drive retracing the route of  many a past journey between Illinois and North Carolina.

There no sense of recapturing the past within me since it never left as such waves of thought are like a genetic strand of my personality that consumes, digests and processes itself as a circular dialog...filling in the gaps of conversations that are much like a path not taken, or climbing over a worn barricade through tall weeds to find a faint trace of light that illuminates my cranium.

“Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen.

The voice of forest water in the night, a woman's laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children's voices in bright air--these things will never change.

The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry--these things will always be the same.

All things belonging to the earth will never change--the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth--all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth--these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever.

The tarantula, the adder, and the asp will also never change. Pain and death will always be the same. But under the pavements trembling like a pulse, under the buildings trembling like a cry, under the waste of time, under the hoof of the beast above the broken bones of cities, there will be something growing like a flower, something bursting from the earth again, forever deathless, faithful, coming into life again like April.”
― Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again

Remembering and reassembling puzzle pieces across an endless plain much like a field that waves in the wind under an endless summer sky, while standing under a spreading oak that stands alone in this prairie, taking stock. How did I get here and when do I arrive as there are no departures posted on the station wall?
The camera pulls away to reveal an ant crossing a sidewalk. There I am, a sort of dithering amoeba pulling up to some truck stop I have created for myself, getting out to stretch my legs walking through walls, floating above the stagecraft, the search of a landing zone which will absorb me as an absolution molded by a recognition, a nod of the head, a passing wave..
The Tao of packing and unpacking. What to take, what to keep? More importantly, what did I forget, and is forgetting as important as recalling what I think I need? Look away, cease and desist old man and put your foot on the gas pedal and press down, hands on the wheel.

“Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America -- that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. At any rate, that is how it seemed to young George Webber, who was never so assured of his purpose as when he was going somewhere on a train. And he never had the sense of home so much as when he felt that he was going there. It was only when he got there that his homelessness began.”
― Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again

By the time this is being read by a handfull of those I have never met, I will be in movement toward a space that remains to be defined and it will always be so despite the persistence of recalling where I have been


  1. I may be one of the handful that you will never meet, but I appreciate your gift and wish you well.

  2. May I echo the sentiment of the blogger before me?
    Terri in Joburg

  3. Teri
    Thanks goes to my friend in South Africa knowing both of us have been through what could reasonably be called a wild and perilous journey that we have managed to navigate through, complete with scars and bruises...and yet here we are.
    I suppose I could bluster my way through but I know too much to act the part. Whether thats a saving grace or an act of masochism, time will tell or maybe not. At my age these sort of thoughts are more like footnotes rather than the text, which more often than not eludes me except in hindsight. Tomorrow is the departure, or an arrival to some more of the journey. I wish you well and good speed.

  4. Bruce , Happy trails and a safe journey. James

  5. Happy trails Bruce. Welcome back to Greentown!

  6. hi Bruce I hope you are doing great and had a safe journey and you do indeed have a gift that I appreciate so much!!!!!
    your take on so many issues whether they be involved with the paranormal or many many other topics is so original to me you're just seems so original I love quotes from Thomas Wolfe that you did

    you are one of the few people I know whos memory seems to work something least somewhat like mine does there is a home in Englewood Colorado which to me is much like you describe the Illinois home of yours

    all the best to you my friend

  7. Bruce, How are you my friend i miss you're blog and I know it takes time to settle in to new digs but i am a worry wart and you're absence is getting longer as days go by. I trust all is well with you. We miss you! James

  8. Hello
    I just returned from Illinois and I appreciate each and every glad tiding.

    I am equally glad to hear everything worked itself out for you after that rocky patch of road as I suspected it would. I have had my share of those and at times keeping a balance on the crest of a wave while not having the luxury of knowing where it will take you, let alone not having the space to consider where you have been is akin to being in a state of suspension, or is it suspense? Any way, I hope your new digs find you in a safe port of call.