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.
Henry David Thoreau
When you are young, time seems to crawl, winding along in slow circles, no rush, no worry, no pressure to get things done. Youth is like riding a bicycle in the highest gear – you press hard on the pedals and you move along, wind lightly blowing your hair, the scents and colors of the world float past, tantalizing. You can afford to rest, coast for a moment, and experience. But life calls, and you must start pedaling again. As your feet push in those circles, the momentum begins to carry you, faster and faster, and soon the wind has plastered your hair back, and the scenes around you are a blur of color and light and you peddle furiously to be on time wherever you are going.
And then suddenly, you find yourself where I have found myself. It is time to get off of that bicycle before I plow into the sea, still pedaling, until the force that has carried me runs out, and I sink under the waves with the weight of my life carrying me down. Bubbles raising to the surface the last sign I have been here, and then nothing.
How did I get to this place so quickly, in the middle of my life? I am trying to not let it frighten me. I have simply decided to coast, and get off that bicycle whenever and wherever I please. I suppose that is called “living in the moment” which one does without thinking and to great extreme, in youth. Somehow I seemed to have forgotten that as I matured. I suppose I was lucky, in the right place at the right time, and it has come back to me. Along with wanderlust.
Elizabeth Eaves said in an article she wrote for WorldHum.com,
I’ve met people who can’t separate love and lust; for me the tricky distinction is between love and wanderlust. They’re both about wanting and seeking and hoping to be swept away, so lost in the moment that the rest of the world recedes from view.
Wanderlust, the perfect German word that cannot be coined in any better way, knowing there is more out there; an “ache for the distance.” It might be about people, it might be about being alone in city or in nature. It means all of those things to me. The second verse of Bjork’s song, Wanderlust:
Wanderlust! relentlessly craving
Wanderlust! peel off the layers
Until we get to the core
Did I imagine it would be like this?
Was it something like this I wished for?
Or will I want more?
Lust for comfort
Suffocates the soul
I feel at home
Whenever the unknown surrounds me
I receive its embrace
Relentless craving, aching, lusting, liberating, wanting, seeking, hoping. It’s that desire to drop out of your regular life, responsibilities, routines. To float without tether of laundry or carpool or any other mundane albatross of everyday. That is wanderlust.
That craving took me away for a few short days, “up north” to Lily River. Everyone in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, at the very least, knows what up north is. It’s the boat, the cottage, the woods, campfires and swimming. Each family has its own variation. My family had my grandparent’s cottage with a row boat, a lake to swim in, woods with deer trails to follow, and no tv or telephone. Imagine that. Once my grandparent’s cottage was gone, I had no more up north. I did not provide it for my children, other than the occasional camping trip. Last year I decided I needed up north in my life again, so I started looking. I wanted a few acres, water, trees, within a four-hour drive from home, and no motorized water vehicles.
The search didn’t take too long. Forest County, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest blankets much of the county, along with a number of Indian Reservations. Paper companies had leveled the forest years earlier, and reforestation along with mother-nature had replanted. Rivers and lakes are plentiful, and many do not allow gas run engines to play on them.
Someday there will be a home on Lily River, but for now, just walking in the woods is enough. I am a caretaker more than an owner. Signs have been posted so hunters do not disturb the wild life that lives there. A path, of sorts, now leads to a clearing with a view of the river, and the sound of the water tumbling over rocks.
I’ve stopped pedaling for the moment.