Yesterday evening I was one of the poor suckers traveling north that I used to feel sorry for when I'd see them stuck in traffic as I traveled south. Leaving for Bemidji, I got as far as my grandparents' house where I stayed overnight, then left early this morning to drive the other half of the way in order to work at the gallery one last time before clearing out my studio.
It ended up being a fairly emotional drive this morning as I alternated between singing along with Carly Simon and finding myself in fits of tears as I reminisced over thoughts of my old place that I sold and moved out of nearly a year ago. What the hell? Where did that come from?
And I began to realize that all this moving and doing and starting over has been nothing but a whole lot of cotton wadding that's kept me separated from the things that have brought me the most heartache. The closer I got to Bemidji, the more still-raw wounds were revealed.
So I cried.
I cried because I'm sad that I no longer have the house I built with my own hands and all the land that surrounded it. I cried because, even if I would have had the money to keep it, it is not the place where I would have been able to fulfill the rest of my life goals. I cried just because. Because I miss it out there and now there is no turning back...even though "back" is not where I want to go. I cried for all the things that I've lost and for all the things that have changed. I cried because I couldn't help myself. Maybe I cried because last night my grandma asked me if I missed my old place in Becida and I said: "You know how, if you're lucky, you find the one place in the world where your spirit feels at home? That's what that place was to me. Yes, I miss it." I suppose it's possible that all these tears are just a matter of being tired. Distant emotions bubble to the surface.
As I finally made it into Bemidji, I was amazed by the amount of green and blue-sparkle from the lake and I simultaneously thought: "This place is beautiful." and "This place makes me feel trapped." I am a living contradiction and a constant source of confusion to myself as I touch the surface of more emotions than any human being should sanely attempt. In the end I overwhelm myself in a state of multi-dimensionalism--something that I consider to be both a gift and a burden--depending on my ability to cope on any given day.
It's been a long time since I've been a visitor in my own hometown. And I must say that moving away has felt like the most natural thing I've ever done. I grew up here, moved away, traveled extensively, then came back. And now, even though I've lived here for the past 9 years, I have never really mourned the idea of leaving Bemidji...at least not like I did when I left my old place in the country. Since then, it has been a series of removals. And now that I'm cleaning out my studio, this is the final one.
My words feel disjointed. I feel disjointed.
Today I've gone through a whole range of emotions while running errands and into people I know. I wiped tears away while driving down Main Street and was alternately sad and relieved that I no longer live here.
When feeling the sadness, I remind myself that crying is a good sign because it means a place was important. Tears are a sign that a place was good.
Bemidji was good. Becida was better. Minneapolis is where I belong right now.
Life feels like a series of waves. And today the tide is high.