Dreamed Into Existence
I admit, I’m having trouble figuring out what to do with myself after the epic trip that was Alaska.
I feel dumbfounded that it happened and that it’s already over. Even though our days felt perfectly planned – I never felt rushed or anxious on the trip – it’s a blur in my memory. Which port did we stop in first? What was the name of our guide for the hike? Where were we when we spotted whales? Which days did we cruise the open sea?
I have a friend named Steve who gets that there’s a lot more to me under the surface of my witty and organized approach to life… he commented on Sunday’s post:
Good to have you back and feeling your feelings and sharing all those seemingly mundane details (chili, reading, roller-hockey and photos) that somehow add up to a satisfying life. Maybe not Alaska, but if you lived in Alaska everyday maybe Alaska wouldn’t be Alaska, either haha. Still great journeys are to be cherished, whether external or internal, and Alaska for you sounds like it was both. Congratulations and welcome back and I’m glad you have your freshly-grown nostalgia to keep you sad and craving. Where would we be without our cravings?
And isn’t he right?
I wrote that post because it is the mundane details that make my life. And it is the details that throw us off when we’re traveling, when we encounter a new place. Like how people in Alaska leave their windshield wipers propped up during a winter day so they don’t freeze onto the window. Or how an older man on the boat told his wife he was ordering “tape-ahs” instead of “tah-pahs”. Or how, even though there was a ridiculous amount of food at the buffet, I was dying for fresh fruit, raw vegetables, and some scrambled egg whites.
This trip was something I dreamed into existence – that I could marry into a family where in-laws would invite me not only on crazy family trips, but to the one place on earth I wanted to visit before I died. To a place where, for no specific reason that I can recall, I’ve been
interested obsessed with for 5+ years. Serendipity.
It was a trip 2 years in the making and in a snap of a finger two-weeks time, it’s over.
Maybe Alaska wouldn’t be Alaska if I lived there (though I am romantically consumed by my experience enough to challenge that), I can agree with Steve on this point “Still great journeys are to be cherished, whether external or internal, and Alaska for you sounds like it was both”.
And that’s all I can say right now about how large this whole experience feels – both an external and internal journey – still too much for exact words, as large and vast as the state of Alaska.
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So honored that you mention me here. Even more honored that you feel that I get what’s “under the surface” in some small way. (As a friend put it, “There’s the real me and then there’s the me that I give everybody else, The Show.”). Also really loved your characterization of this particular installment of your blog: “The words about Alaska are hard to find, but the words about the words being hard to find are rolling in.” Yes. And with those words, insights and feelings. Insightful feelings and feelingful insights. Such as: Alaska being some kind of magnificent analogy or metaphor for your emotional life, your awareness or self-awareness: “still too much for exact words, as large and vast as the state of Alaska.” I mean, couldn’t that also be said of our true self? That part of us that is not only be-ing but also constantly evolving and be-coming? We are somehow larger than ourselves or perhaps our everyday ideas of our selves. Perhaps your experience indicates that a properly vast environment can allow us to achieve a properly vast self-consciousness or self-awareness. I love how you keep coming back to these sort of feelings of awe, almost sacrality. How you’re still “dumbfounded” by the experience, how the actual passage of time has dissolved into the dreamy quality of the trip, that mere memory has merged into the dream. From Alaska the state to Alaska *as* a state…of mind. Perhaps some kind of healing went on up there? Maybe something was worked through? And then the really vivid juxtaposition of details that you’re so good at (windshield wipers, tah-pahs, fresh fruit) that keep this from being too abstract and tie it to something more earthy and sensual. All of this leading to this idea that you dreamed this trip into existence: what a lovely and beautiful thought! And you can’t really think your way into thoughts like that, you know? You sort of have to live your way into those kinds of thoughts. In the end, I don’t think that it really matters whether Alaska in actuality is the Alaska you feel, whether the romance or reality. What matters is that you *are* “romantically consumed” because what greater feeling in life is there than that? Alaska has nourished and stimulated your imagination, hence these “rolling words,” and ultimately connected you to a deeper part of You. The trip outside *is* the trip inside, no? And both seem pretty “epic.”
All I can say in response is, YES. xo
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