Sunday, July 1, 2007

You can't go home again...

... Unless, perhaps, you go by a different route.

The last month has been absurdly busy, and in the past two weeks it all took on the quality of an uncontrolled steep descent on greased rollerblades. (Yes, that shrieking, flailing blur that shot past you might have been me.)

Strangely enough, a lot of this running around has taken me back to territories and people I haven't seen in 5, 7, even 10 years. Despite being tied to a local workshop this entire week, I made the run to Golden and back one evening (5 hours driving round-trip) to attend an event at the Foothills Art Center. (Organized for CultureHaus by my friend Michael.) I lived in Golden for 10 years, but hadn't set foot there in the last seven.

It was the third time in as many weeks that I had gone into once-familiar-but-long-abandoned territory. All of the places I have lately revisited have changed, of course-- some subtly and some startlingly. But going back has made it very clear that I have changed, too.

I'm not sure how to describe the feeling. In a strange way I felt as though I was in disguise. I recognized the places, but I was never certain that the places recognized me.

Is this how Rip Van Winkle felt when he came down from the mountain? It seems silly to be brought up short by the realization that life went on without me in places where I once belonged. But somehow the trajectories of these old stomping grounds seem to have been so linear, while my own path has been more like a stumbling drunk wearing one high heeled shoe in the dark on gravel near a cliff. (That I found my way back at all seems like proof of chaos theory.)

Still, there was something exciting about coming back to these places as a different person, via a different road. The view is different, the perspective is different, and the possibilities are endless. It's like the ultimate "do-over." I can build new relationships with old landscapes.

But they won't be home again. That's here. And now. Where I'm still wearing those skates and laughing maniacally as I rocket up and over the next hill.

1 comment:

  1. There's something dislocating about going back. Not necessarily unpleasant, just ... odd. I made the mistake of looking up my childhood address on Google. Don't know why I did it. I wasn't expecting a hit. But I got one. Now a middle-class commune, it's come on a bit ... it used to be a slum.


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