Thursday, February 10, 2005

Quivering on the Edge

by Skald

How I love the anticipation that precedes a journey: the fear and wonder... the giddy state of apprehension-- not knowing what comes next-- what surprise will pop out of the box. Its almost better than the journey itself. This is where magic is born- where routines break down,... where certainty crumbles.

The foul edifice of opinion, surety, and belief cracks and a host of glorious terrors rush in. Doubts loom everywhere. Fear is everywhere. The fear of failure. The fear of loneliness. The fear that I won't rise to the challenge. I don't fight them anymore-- the thing to do is to stare 'em down-- embrace them. In my book, fear is preferable to boredom. And so I welcome fear and have grown to trust it as a sign that I'm on the right track-- pushing into the unknown.

After the doubt comes a crazed madness: manic energy. For two weeks I can't rest more than four hours a night. My brain hums from waking to sleep-- my hand is cramped from frenzied journal writing ('wild notebooks for yr. own joy' -Kerouac). I'm simultaneously reading about psychedelic drugs (re-reading McKenna), a business blog (Tom Peters), medeival Japanese poetry (Basho's Narrow Road to the Far North), language acquisition theory (Krashen, Brown, Asher), the nature of epidemics (The Turning Point), and the crazed philosophy of sufi-anarchism (the glorious Hakim Bey).

It no longer feels like I'm going on a journey-- it feels like the journey has grabbed me by the throat and is pulling me to it. Im not in control anymore.

At night I dream of Vikings on storm tossed seas... of lonely poets on deserted roads... of simmering star-shine over barren peaks.

By day flashes of past journeys bubble and spill forth: the "pop" of burning bodies on the Ganges shore, the Himalayan moonscape, Bangkok's Chao Praya River under a burning sun, four days in an Indian hospital strapped to IV bottles, vomit and agony in Rishikesh, an encounter with the thundering ketemin void in Pokhara, Nepal.

I hear my name whispered in crowds. I hear the voices of poets and saints.

"Onward, onward", they cry, "Onto the open road. Into the open sky."

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