June 21

These last few weeks have been such a streak of glorious, fantastic days…whatever happens down the line, I’ll always be able to say that at least once in my life, I was purely, truly happy. You remember Pickton, right? I’m all set up there now, it’s only half an hour to Lotte’s place, I feel like myself there, and I feel about as happy as we humans get to be :P

And to think, you know, I just decided randomly, “Today I’m biking to Pickton”, with no idea it lay so close to heaven… I must have seen that old mansion a hundred times when I was hiking around, looking down from the mountains or across the river… and now that house holds all my hopes and dreams…

Dear Will — I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the drive people have to expand their horizons, and discover new things, and go on adventures; and also, on the other hand, about how drawn we are, deep down, to stay inside our comfort zones, to let ourselves put blinders on and keep rolling on in our comfortable ruts and not worry about what else might be out there.

It’s funny… when I first came out here, looking down from the train into this beautiful valley, everything had such a pull on me. “OMG forest!” — “Ahhh, WANT to wander through its shadows!” “OMG mountains!” — “Ahhh, WANT to gaze over the countryside from their peaks!” “OMG adorable hills & lovely valleys!” — “Ahhh, WANT to get lost in them!” — and there I was, running back and forth everywhere, and never finding what I was looking for. *sigh*… distance is like the future, that way! It hovers there in front of us in this big nebulous mass, our eyes and our minds go all blurry looking at it, and we — ahhh, we feel so drawn to throw our whole selves into it, to let ourselves be swallowed up in the joy of some great transcendent feeling… but, eugh! when we rush forward, when There becomes Here, nothing’s changed, we stand there as hollow and limited as ever, thirsting for water that’s slipped through our fingers.
You know? You see it all the time, people traveling and running around, thinking happiness is “out there” somewhere… but in the end, when they get homesick and come back, it turns out just being under their own roof, holding the one they love, being surrounded by their family, is where happiness was all along.

When I bike up to Pickton at dawn, pick the peas I planted in the café garden, sit out there and shuck them, reading around in the Odyssey… let myself into the café kitchen, grab a pot, cut a wedge of butter, toss in the peas and start them frying on the stove, cover them, pull up a chair, give them a stir from time to time… I get such a visceral sense of what it was like for the suitors, bro-ing out, killing Penelope’s cows and pigs, cutting them up and roasting them. It’s such a grounding, real feeling — you know? This is how people used to live. And I’m so grateful I get the chance to weave some of those archaic threads into my own life in such an authentic way. There’s nothing like it.
It’s so…simple, and so innocent, and so deeply joyful, sitting down to eat vegetables you grew yourself, because what you’re enjoying isn’t just the plant, it’s all the good days, the beautiful morning you planted it, the lovely evenings you watered it, and all the delight you took watching it grow, all together again in one single moment. I’m so glad I get to know what that’s like.

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