Early December 2010: I was 57 years old and living with my girlfriend Laurie in her house in the Town of Danby, a rural area south of Ithaca, New York. I had known Laurie for a long time and I had once thought was the great love of my life, but over the years she had turned out to be an extremely neurotic and hateful person, to my great sorrow. One day after we got into a serious verbal altercation she told me to move out of the house. That night I slept in my armchair in my study in the basement. The next day I found a tiny studio apartment to move into and I started moving my things. I gathered up what I had, some boxes of books, my clothes, a few pieces of old furniture, my musical instruments, a few pieces of art I owned. And I started putting these things into my pickup truck and moving them out. Even though it seemed that I owned very little, for some reason it took many trips over a period of several days to move my paltry collection of worldly possessions out of there. I did not know why I had these things. I knew they were mine but they seemed strange to me, artifacts of an old life from which I’d become estranged. I had a great and profound weariness from all the years of difficulty but I was still patient and methodical each time I came to pack up more things, taking great care with the arrangement of items in the truck, and the driveway was icy so I had to move with small and careful steps as I worked. I strapped everything down to the truck bed, in the darkness and the cold, with icy wind and snow flurries making random sparkles in the air. And each time I pulled the loaded truck out onto the dark road and headed out toward my other place. The road was a straight line running between snowy fields, under a hazy sliver of moon in the starless dark. This was my new path and there was no turning back. I knew that I was to take myself and what I could of my life and cross over into deep winter, but I sensed somehow that my own nature was a part of Nature, and thus subject to its eternal laws of decline and renewal. I knew that in time I would pass through this and emerge somewhere thoroughly changed, in ways I could not yet possibly know. And since then the wheel of the year has turned three more times and I am in another town now, with a beautiful woman and living a beautiful life, but still attuned to the great rhythms of nature, still watchful and calm, and humble, and still careful of the steps I take.

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