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Going West--1933, Boardman Robinson, 1933
"I'm not fleeing anywhere …"

I've started this story three times already, discarding each iteration in growing frustration. I wanted to say how it feels for me to be alive this morning, but a certain seething crept into each attempt. I do not feel like an angry old man, just one aching for RegularOrder. I've had it up to somewhere with stupid millionaires dominating conversations. There seems to be no better indicator of absolute inanity than wealth, as if mammon actually lowers IQ. The disruptive elements, the great inventors and marketers and promoters, seem to lack any sense of RegularOrder, the baseline regulating force each of the rest of us rely upon to maintain our sanity and serenity. I feel lucky this morning to be turning three score and nine. It's my birthday, for cripes sake, and I feel satisfied enough just to take what I've been given. The decktop petunia garden's at her peak, perfume creeping up and into the master bedroom windows. My hop(e) vine's cones have grown heavy with pollen and ready for harvest. The front garden's in furious bloom attracting hummingbirds and bees and grasshoppers in profusion. The cats, still kittens a few short weeks ago, have almost learned to come back home on their own after they escape.

The wind seems to have shifted.
What was smoke and fears a few days ago has given way to a glorious summer morning. The Democratic Convention brought hope and the alluring promise of RegularOrder again, the promise of lower case law and order returning. No overwhelming armed force induces or enforces RegularOrder, only the disruptive kind. A photo-op shot of a maniac's mindfulness, disordered and damned well intended to be. I wish him the peace I find watching a fawn standing in the long shadow of a healthy spruce tree or whenever the resident flock of magpies mock me. I believe that we could all be entirely more pleased with ourselves and not so persistently dissatisfied, even knowing we have serious work left to accomplish and no place left to hide. I expect more disruption, but I feel inoculated against its promised destruction. I believe that we're going to be fine.

I'm heading west. For most of this country's history, going west served as the universal antidote for damned near everything. Following the Civil War, soldiers mustered out then headed west. During The Great Depression, folks headed west to flee the disruptive dust bowl. Following WWII, GIs headed out to California to live in tract homes and work in airplane plants. Following The Summer of Love, half the Boomer Generation grew out their hair and headed somewhere west, urban homesteading or Whole Earth country living. The left coast's looking plenty crowded these days. Even here, almost halfway across the country, at the screen door of the west, homeless line Denver's streets. In Seattle and Portland, every spare patch of green landscaping seems to have become a homestead of sorts after legions of young people also, predictably, headed west. West has served as the repository of hope here, and I'm all in.

But then I was born out there where it once seemed so damned far from everywhere. The Muse and I took a huge chance two decades ago and actually bought a place just before the rat race caught up to the place, before it became a tourist destination. We've been gone a decade or longer now, but we managed to retain that house, uncertain about almost everything except where we were headed. We've meandered a bit, heading east did not turn out to be the most direct route west, but we now say we're better than halfway there, even though we're still decidedly here. Heading's the entirely of the thing. It this dawning doesn't find us home, knowing where we're going definitely helps. We're not discounting this in-between time and not begrudging it, either. We're certain of nothing but our deepest intentions, and we deeply intend to go west.

I imagine that I could happily live anywhere, once I screwed on my head to accept the place. I once proposed that I could take any exit from any freeway and within a year, come to feel some semblance of at home there. I was then young and essentially fearless, but I believe that I've managed to prove my point, for each place I've inhabited since then did seem to come to feel like a home place, though I understood that I was always ultimately heading west. I learned that I'm perhaps too adaptive and that some places might not quite qualify as choice locations, rather like the outgoing administration. I can sometimes tolerate much more than is actually any good for me. Same story with our nation. I feel most at home when heading in that general direction, west, and I know the passages well. The Muse and I share a sacred intention and the apparent means to transport ourselves there. I claim that our ultimate home place is situated where gravity works right, smack in the middle of RegularOrder. I sense a few years of progressive change coming and feel anxious to leave behind the recent regressions and concomitant depressions. I'm not fleeing anywhere, but intent upon returning to RegularOrder.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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