Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

(We took a break from writing. I had graduated from law school in June and took two months to study for the bar. Lauren was preoccupied by our move from Indianapolis to Cincinnati and is trying to discover her ways in a new place amongst new friends. When I finally finished my three-day bar exam in August, we put everything on hold, tossed a few change of clothes in a trunk, and drove off with our dog Moe to explore the great American landscape. We drove from Cincinnati to Seattle, drove down the 101 highway along the Washington and Oregon Coast, cleared the Colorado mountains and through the straight ways of Kansas to come back home; we saw the Badlands, the Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park and its rain forest; we met with the Trees of Mystery and we stopped to savor the Garden of the Gods. Old friends were our destinations and they treated us to nostalgia we could not escape. Finally, we are back. 

Moe in Oregon
 I dreaded our return. I knew that once we came home, and have time to reflect on things, I would be forced to write about the mundane. I couldn’t decide what I would write, or that if I would write at all, and nothing seemed relevant to the last four years of our lives and nothing seemed important enough to be put into prearranged letters for you to ponder. In fact, after seeing much of the amazing places of this land of the free, I have come to realize that my words are insignificant. What is important is not what I have to say, but what I have learned. So fear is one thing and moving forward is another; although coexisting, they are mutually exclusive. For the fear of having nothing good to say, I reserved my words until now; but in order to grow and learn, I knew that I had to confront that fear and say something. What follows is my rant and rave so that I can get back into the swing of things. Please excuse the mess and enjoy the upsurge of my unsolicited doggerels. )


Writing, amidst other frivolous things in life, seemed less important, less appealing, and less relevant these days; we are growing, changing, and reshaping the lenses we were given and painfully, I have been slacking from writing not because I choose not to write, but writing for me is in a sense mute for the eyes that do not see and blind for the pens that do not hear. I am simply inebriated by the hustle and bustle of how things are as I remember them and writing seemed like the distant Mexico trip where all things were strangely familiar but foreign.

So I put down my pens; I let dust collect on those keyboards. We got into a few cubic feet of space in a traveling drag wagon with our dog and we set out to see the land that shelters us, the sky that breathe life into us; and in our space wagon dragging to the edge of this land to its west, we hope to eventually come to see the ocean—where everything came and where everything will eventual come to its end.

Along the way, we did the tourist thing. We pulled into parking lots where drone of people gathered to see Old Faithful. We slowed our drag-wagon enough to snap a shot of the geyser on our fancy environmentally taxing camera phones. We drove the pass where dead presidents were carved into the side of mountains; outrageous entry fees, lackluster traffic arrangements, other tourist wagons with all their amenities, everything designed for the peak seasons and facebook comments of the awe and strange.

Yes, we did the tourist thing.

But we also saw as travelers; camped out under the stars, next to otters, amongst giant redwoods. We walked the path along the Oregon coast and felt rain drops mixed with droplets of waves sprung from their crashing into the ragged edges of rocks. We drove through grasslands where coal mining claimed their presence and we passed beautiful scape of places where oil and natural gas were pumped from their slumbering. We saw Native American tribes surviving on what little disheartened land they were given and we passed quaint tourist towns sheltered from the qualms of their historical presence.

We dreamed and we slumbered; along the way, we saw the beautiful, the ugly, the impervious and the transparent. We were awe inspired and we were struck by the insignificant. In the end, we came back changed; we are calmer, we learned patience—for all good things come with waiting.

Waiting is the hardest thing. Now we must wait for our fate to be determined. I begin working for a firm in a few weeks and Lauren is getting back into studying for her LEED AP exam. The Green Elephant will be changed, for the better or for the worst is yet to be seen. In part I am excited to begin working, paying the bills, and starting our lives together here in Cincinnati; in part I am anxious to see if I can bridge my work with my passion. But if there is anything I’ve taken away from these few months of hibernation is that though I traveled the world over, from China to Iraq to America, finding beauty is not so much as finding those things that attract tourists; rather, finding beauty is in finding ourselves in the things we experience so we may shape how we live to carry forward the beauty around us to our new awakening.

Lauren and Moe

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