Tag Archives: Into the wild

Stable Instability

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”  ― Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
― Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

There are allusions throughout the novel that emphasize how finite life really is despite the illusion of everlasting. When I first stumbled upon Paul Bowles’ novel The Sheltering Sky on the bottom shelf of an office coffee table in the bustling city of Kumasi, Ghana, I had no idea that I would embark on a mental journey through the (Sahara) desert of life and find myself strangely, maybe very strangely, identifying with the characters.

Spoiler alert for anyone interested in reading the book…  The story takes place after WWII in French West Africa. Two American travelers and one tourist find themselves journeying across the Sahara from Algiers, not knowing how long they will stay in each city, acting as if time does not exist. Continue reading “Stable Instability” »

where i feel most at home

is when I am away from ‘home.’  In fact, for me, it’s hard to say where home really is.  I have fallen in love with too many places throughout my travels and have made an ever so growing list of locations I could see myself living for at least a time.  Nothing makes me feel more at home than being out on the open road, exploring some new part of America or another country, taking detours and exits through unexplored towns and cities.

It makes sense why the nomadic lifestyle has so much appeal.  With Jack Kerouac and Alexander Supertramp as convincing guides, a secure future really is the most dangerous thing to the adventurous spirit.  I try to remind myself of this every time I think about the future and it actually encourages me to know that if I had a totally secure set-in-stone future, how miserable and unfulfilled that would be.  What is life without some kind of epic story of struggle, discovery, love, loss, defeat, triumph, redemption? Continue reading “where i feel most at home” »