Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Finding my niche

All I want is to be someone who brings quality to the world. Goodness, in some form that mankind will deem as worthwhile, maybe something they will even be inspired by, so that goodness begets goodness. Yes, I admit, I really want it to be in a big way, and yes, I want the recognition for my accomplishments. But in the end I want the satisfaction and pride of being able to say, 'I gave that to humanity, I invented that'. But everything I have passion about has already been conquered, and probably 10 times better than I could ever do it... its daunting. but I have this feeling deep in me - its as much a part of me as my conscious - that this is going to be the point of my life, something big that I'm not ready to do yet. I don't want it to come to me easily, I want to deserve it. but how can I measure up?

I feel as if everything I know is a reflection of some one else’s life. Someone has already been recognized for it. Every fantasy that I've entertained has been lived by another. And it is inevitable, if I have considered it, it has been the passion of someone else. I feel like my mind is only capable of conceiving the prime of sloppy seconds... great idea Evan, too bad its all been done before.

Why is it that I crave the chance to live day to day jumping trains across the continent? I grew impatient as a kid, waiting for my independence so that I could set out on my own. Even just a few months ago I couldn't think of anything but the thrill of dropping everything and living out of a backpack for a time undefined. I love traveling, I love not being tethered to the mundane lifestyle that everyone seems to cling to for security.

One instance where I have the same raw passion for something that is a reflection of someone else’s life.
The thought of living on the road has been less of a dream and more of a resolution, and inevitability if you will. The train-jumping example is just a taste of what has occupied my imagination since I was just a wee Bearn, long before I knew it was the life of my first literary idol, Jack London. I started collecting stamps because of the Jack London memorial stamp. My parents owned The Collected Works of Jack London (which I have long since claimed as my own). I would get lost for days in the arctic world he described, retaining less of the stories and more of the vivid depictions of a place where one could witness their spit freeze before hitting the snow. I was certain that one day I would die there of hypothermia, slowly being subdued by the elements. I imagined the infinite void of ice beyond the veil of the blizzard snow surrounding me as I began to doubt my decision to step out for a walk, bumbling and blowing my last chance to build a fire.

More recently (today, in fact) I realized that the experiences I've had only mimic the experiences of others. a couple of months ago I had an experience that I noted as pretty singular. on a road trip to Alaska with a couple of my friends, our car broke down somewhere in British Columbia close to the Yukon territory border. we hitch hiked out with a kindly old man who was delivering a motor coach to Princess Tours Fairbanks Headquarters. He picked us up with the understanding that he would only take us as far as Whitehorse, Y.T. but upon arriving at Whitehorse he decided we could ride along, at least until he stopped for the night. We ended up making it all the way along the Alaska Highway to Beaver Creek, about 14 miles from the border. he stopped and bid us farewell. mentioning that if we were around in the morning he would take us closer to the border, but reiterated that he couldn't permit us to ride across the border because he would be in big trouble with his employer and possibly with U.S. Customs if they caught him giving hitch hikers a ride in a commercial vehicle that was not supposed to have passengers.
in the end we probably walked somewhere between 80 and 100 yards... yes the customs officers saw us hop out of the bus, but they were pretty easy-going.
Long story short he gave us a ride to Tok, Alaska where we parted ways. Emmett was a man with a great big heart who helped out 3 guys who couldn't have hoped for that kind of favor.

Now keep that in mind.

Today, I was reading the final two chapters of the book Into the Wild. A true story about a young man who came to Alaska in '92 to have a great outdoor adventure. I read that he hitch-hiked from Dawson City all the way to Fairbanks. How'd he do it? sheer luck. it's not the easiest thing in the world to get a ride in Canadia, trust me. He got a ride from a kind 63 year-old retired man who was delivering an RV to Fairbanks, Alaska. at first, The man didn't want to take him, he told him " this could get me canned." but in the end he decided he could take him as far as Whitehorse. when they got to Whitehorse he had come to enjoy his company and took him all the way to Fairbanks. I feel like I've lived a moment in someone else’s life.

It seems like the universe is an hourglass, filled with people as innumerable as the sandy beaches. we pass from one orb to the other, we are shifting sands that count the time in eternity, my life is a single grain of sand, rough-edged in its own way, but indiscernible from the lives of those countless others... maybe the grain of sand that represents my existence is born from the same stone as those I feel an affinity with, some who have already dropped and landed, and are buried under yesterday, I'm just now joining the eddy of sand, the churning swell that channels me to my moment of freedom, falling, I only get that moment to glimmer, as we all get our chance to join the heap below. but, when I pass through that calculated orifice of fate, that keeps order to everything. I want to stand out from the rest, I want to be the crystalline silicone among the dull brown, I want to fall away from the rest and have my glory with the few who have the rough edge that catches on the spout, who spin away from the predictable stream of life. so while we're all together, with the gravity of destiny pulling the sands of time, I'm just waiting my turn.

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