Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dust Clouds on the Neverland Horizon

It's August 14. I've lived in my truck before, I've run away before, this year alone I've toured nearly 5 1/2 months...and still I felt terrifyingly apprehensive in quitting my day job, leaving my apartment and heading out of Nashville to God only knows where. I knew I would; nothing held me this time. But any great opportunity starts with the crippling hurdle of fear. 26 days ago, I broke it. I'm an outlaw again, praise Jesus. Be gone worry, be gone woe, all restlessness depart me, for these are rough lands, the Wild West - full of dust clouds and over-romanticized dreams of danger and endless freedom. What a glorious adventure life becomes when you let it. There's no direction, really. No tour this time, no scheduled stops; just me in a truck-bed, running where I go and winding up anywhere but somewhere certain. I travel a lot, there is just always a road-map and a budget and seventy six million things to account for. For now, the road signs don't matter and time is irrelevant. I jumped a train for miles, from some town deep in Arkansas. I spent a whole day finding my way back to my belongings. I've been through cities, through states, under bridges and estuaries; at one point, I leapt from a train, off a railway bridge and into the churning waters below. For a brief moment, everything seemed silent. The contrast of subtle peace and the horrifying reality that my legs might shatter and leave me a victim to the violent waves felt flawless. I just sort of fell for awhile...3-2-1...I hit the waves, fell to the bottom and realized, I'm not afraid to die. That's the only reason I'm even alive anymore. I rolled down river, over rocks and old pines to some place calm enough to escape. What a feeling. I'd like the be found in a river one day. Wouldn't that be a fitting end? There's something about drowning that just feels honest.
Days pass and the deserts feel haunting; like ghosts of old times past still roam the hills and bring the sensation that living is still worth the effort. It's beautiful. I haven't slept indoors and, apart from creek falls and lake beds, haven't bathed in a fortnight. I'm dirty and poor, walking cities and driving aimlessly. I'm in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, California one day, then wherever...running away...isn't it what everyone really wants to do anyway? Run away? Most simply do it in bottles and pill-packs - I choose to do it on dirty plains and railway cars. I'll tell you one thing, I have never felt more freaking God-bless-ed-American than I do right now. There is no luxury, no commodity. Just time and place and the freedom to dive into cities and experience life in the way it was meant to be experienced. Not the bastardized, over-indulgent, version we've all grown accustomed to. Things will all change in awhile. I'll tour again. I'll clean up again. I'll grow up and grow old and find love and some home and we'll all settle down and be happy. But for now, for these few, brief moments, while the sun beats down and the world falls to pieces and everyone tries to find something to cling to - I'm not. I want my freedom. I want to hope and have peace and see things and go farther and live life for the stories that no one will believe - so I do. I can't wait for some suit in some office to give me my shot at freedom. I do it myself. It hurts awhile, but not like the sting of office chairs and blue-tone wallpaper. Paperclips and post-it notes become prison cells to most. No one's ever really ready for this kind of thing. We all were born ready for this kind of thing. We're all outlaws and runaways in our own, quiet ways; most of us are just too grown up to admit it. I grew up once, perhaps far too quickly. I think this time, I'll just outgrow the world...