North America, Travel Stories

A Million Years

‘The point is not to have all of the answers, but to live the questions, honestly and vulnerably, even if it’s painful,’ I remind myself while looking up at the stars for the first time in too long. They are bright and clear, vivid with motion and mystery. I stare up at them, lying on my back, allowing the cool Maine air to cleanse and calm my fears.

It feels like I have been here for a million years. I am trapped in a daze, a maze of coming and going I’m not sure how to escape. Each day feels like so many weeks and months strung together, a carousel of routine on repeat.

Ten days. It has been ten days since that aero plane spit me out in the fertile land of Maine, the funny shaped mass of lakes and coves and harbors.
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Exploring the coast and trying a lobster roll for the first time!
Portland, Maine 2015

Ten days since I left one coast for the other, since I have said goodbye to the last familiar person I know by heart, since I have unpacked my backpack and made another temporary home.
From Portland Oregon, to Portland Maine in a few weeks time

From living in a car to living in a cabin
San Francisco, California 2015
My home in Maine for the next two months!
Raymond, Maine 2015

I’m not sure about anything right now. Not sure to whom or where I belong, not sure how I ended up here, or why time seems to have slowed to the evolutionary pace of eons. Have I really only been here a little over a week? Why don’t I feel more settled, more connected? Why isn’t this transition more natural, why do I feel aloof amongst a thriving, built-in community?

If time has suddenly halted, it may be for the best. The preceding six weeks have carried more than enough momentum. If the rushing in my ears is a waterfall, I’m happy to be on the other side. For every successive day I cried in a row, I’m glad that the tears have finally dried up, that the whirlwind of emotion has dissipated for now.
Hood River, Oregon 2015
I can feel the adrenaline of constant change wearing off; the echoes of singing and dancing and drinking are growing faint. My arms are re-learning how to hang by my side, untangled and free, no longer waiting for the comforting warmth of everyone I have held so close and so tight for the last year.

There are no more graduations or weddings, no more boxes to pack or goodbyes to say, no more letters of resignation or tear-filled reunions squeezed into the sweet cup of communion. I will not have to drink it in all at once, laughing and crying, my lungs filled with so much joy and so much sadness in the same breath it feels unbearable.
Celebrating a wedding with my sisters before parting ways again.
Kansas City, MO 2015

Still, I can’t help feeling a little bit like Dorothy, swept up by the wind and dropped in a foreign place, eerily quiet after the storm. The stillness feels uncanny, the deep waters below a memory of the questions I can’t formulate, too afraid of the unknowing, of the undoing of all of the courage mustered to fall, to flow instead of fight.
How did I get from there to here?
Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon, 2015

If I am drifting now, quietly allowing the slow waters to carry me forward, if I am lost in a faraway gaze, it is only because I have used all of my strength and all of my courage to get to where I am now. I have used every muscle down to the sinew, all of the teeth-gritting courage I possess, all of the heart-shaped patches hand-sewn onto my sleeves, all of the tears my lacrimal glands can produce in one 24 hour period. I have spent my fears and lived my dreams and now it’s time to rest.

It’s time to skim the surface, to look up at the stars in quiet reverie, to let myself feel less if that’s what I need, just for awhile. It’s time to breathe deeply and disconnect just a little bit so that I can keep my heart open and wide.
Crater Lake, Oregon 2015

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