I’m a city girl. I’m an escapist. I love road trips.
Maybe it doesn’t matter how I begin this stupid post. To put it bluntly: I love this city but hate this apartment. I was in such a hurry to end the 4 days of commuting down from Baltimore that I chose the first place on a street that had trees on it. Then, in short order I discovered the paper-thin walls, sky-high utility bills, and of course the pee closet. I won’t elaborate more, but let’s just say that I plan on using my CSI flashlight on initial inspection of future housing options.
Part of being me is expending way too much energy. I tend not to measure: I just go and go like a lunatic until I hit something, and then I blog about the something and then it turns out to be a nothing or just another thing to bounce off of and continue merrily being a jackass. I can pour myself into these endeavors with relative impunity on one condition:
I have to connect to true, wild nature.
In LA, that was sometimes a drive into the Mojave or a late night squinting at the Pacific in the hopes of making out Hawaii’s silhouette in the distance. In Baltimore, I’d find some anonymous slip of Chesapeake or firefly-infested state park to get lost in. It’s been tougher to do that here, though modified versions of it exist along the local edges of Potomac bank and Rock Creek Park. Still, coming back to a sinister apartment can take a toll on a ridiculous aesthete like me, so a few nights ago I decided to take matters into my own hands and do whatever I could to change the way I see this place. After all, I’m the one who opined about happiness and how much control we can have over it. If happiness is there all along, maybe, just until I can escape the corner of Wisconsin Ave and I Know Way Too Much About My Neighbor’s Digestion, I could bring nature to me.
Thoreau seemed like a good choice. As it turns out, it did nothing to make me feel leafy, green or walled up in a remote cabin. But it did give me something to bounce off of:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
I don’t know about you, but I really needed to read that.
As for trudging into the wilderness for replenishment, maybe I’ve been looking too much at the big picture. Just outside my door, between the slabs of concrete, blades of grass and dandelion shoots are rebelling against attempts to prune them into submission. It’s like the tiniest bit of Walden coming right to me, especially after it’s rained. That’s the best.