Monday, September 19, 2011

The Waiting Place

Last time (<-- that's a link) I went up to Ingersol - last year at this time, almost to the day, inadvertently - it was wistfully foggy and mysterious, the perfect, perfect weather to be such a place.

Today the weather was perfect in a more traditional way: sunny and golden and warmish in that coolish sort of way that has one alternating between putting on the long sleeved shirt and taking it off and finally layering up with the hoodie one wore around one's waist for the hike back down in the sun-has-set evening.

Last time I was captivated with exploring the old mill and mine shafts. This time, I didn't venture in as it's not  altogether safe and I was alone (if I'm going to crash through the rotted out wood and tumble two stories down and land in a broken heap next to the sluice box, I'd rather have a pal who can make a call for me, ya know?). I was captivated by the setting sun, anyway, and the critters that kept company. You'll see.

At first he was like...

But then he was all

Not so "majestic bird of prey" after all.

But then he looked at me like...

And I was all "Oh." 

Where'd he get a peanut way up there? It's not like they grow on trees around here.
One of my favorite shots

These days are back and forth for me. It's good it's bad she's up she's down I'm fine I'm not...

And I don't really write about it because, really, no one wants to read about all that. Like I don't write about how, on some of those glorious hikes (<--that's a link), I actually cried most of the way between picture taking. The posts aren't a lie, I usually end up having a good time, in the end, and I do still appreciate the beautiful weather and scenery. I just focus on the positive aspect of it all when posting, because that's how I want to be - focused on the good things.

But the reality of it all is there are some pretty dark moments.

So as often happens on these hikes I eventually started talking aloud, and whether it's insanity or prayer - always a fine line, there - is undetermined.

It's cathartic, this talking through my thoughts and feelings, in the same way journaling is for me. Often by the end of the hike I've straightened things out in my mind, laid them out line by line in a sense, and have figured something out or at least see things in a more organized manner.

An observer would probably be amused (or frightened?) to see the way I carry on, walking walking walking talking and then suddenly, mid-sentence sometimes, I'm abruptly distracted by the way that patch of sunlight streams through the trees and lands on that pinecone and I stop to snap some pictures. And then I carry on down the path quietly until eventually I might remember what I was talking about.

These days I'm neither here nor there and at times this leaves me feeling unidentified and scared and frustrated and angry and lost. And as I was walking and talking and Thinking Deep Thoughts About Life what came to mind was that book Oh! The places you'll go by Dr. Seuss. If you've ever read it - and who hasn't gotten that as a graduation present, really? - then I'm in the paragraphs that talk about The Waiting Place. 

I've been to Great Places:
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

 I feel I've made it through The (most recent) Slump (thankfully):

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true 
that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. 
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. 
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. 
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

And I'm hanging out in that lonely, muffled, questioning spot in life akin to The Waiting Place:

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. 
Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance 
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 
There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. 
On you will go though your enemies prowl. 
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. 
Onward up many a frightening creek, 
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. 
On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far 
and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. 
 You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step
Step with care and great tact and remember 
that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. 
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And I was comforted.

Comforted that this nowhere-nothing time of my life might have an identity after all, even one like The Waiting Place. Because waiting implies there's something more, something else, down the road. There's an end, maybe not in sight yet but there's a hope in sight for that end - or beginning - to exist. And it gives me a sense of purpose, that the waiting time should be used wisely and critically in preparation for what might be next. That it actually means something, that it's actually a location, of sorts.

Maybe where I am is important, pivotal even, to The Rest of My Life.
I'm going to start living as though it is, anyway.
Because it's better than to not.

Does God speak via Dr. Seuss storybooks, do you think?
I guess he could, he does what he wants.

Look like Narnia, right?
I'm still in this spot and there will still be dark days where I question... Everything.
But I feel hopefully better about it all.

And I got some good pictures.
And then I went back down the mountain and got hot chocolate and called it a day.

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