Staying Put

Winter Window

I am infinitely more interesting to myself than any place I’ve ever visited. The workings of my mind delight me; I paint every day and it’s different every day and it’s interesting — if not ‘good’ — every time. Not only that, I wake up every day and every day is different. The birds and the bugs and the animals and their habits change with the seasons. The sun rises in a different place each day causing the rainbows of light from the crystals in my windows to display differently each day; the leaves come and go and change colors; the shades of the sky — even at night — offer a spectacular range and the stars — always different — are incredible, especially here in the woods where dark can be remarkably dark and looking up into the sky can be like looking into the universe… probably because it is.

In January, my husband will take off on yet another trip. This time he’ll be going with his offspring and perhaps one or two of their significant others. I will happily drop him off at an airport somewhere and even more happily return home. I don’t like to travel. Or perhaps, more correctly, I simply don’t prefer to be somewhere other than my home, because the processes of driving or flying, I actually do enjoy. But my very body hates the vagaries and inconveniences of travel for the sake of temporarily being alive somewhere else that isn’t my home or the home of someone I know and love; it seizes up at the thought of it.

Birds that eat seeds or grain, or insects that hibernate in trees (like woodpeckers) or other birds (hawks and owls) are more likely to stay where they are. Also intelligent omnivores like ravens, crows, and jays.”

OK, that’s a really poorly constructed couple of sentences… but note the phrase, “intelligent omnivores,” in the second sentence. Intelligent creatures can figure things out, for instance they can find food where others can’t. And, in the case of human beings, intelligence often — if not usually — brings with it various forms and manifestations of creativity and inspiration which means that intelligent human beings such as myself are exceedingly capable of entertaining themselves in a variety of ways.

Birds, and other animals such as caribou for instance, only migrate because they have to. It takes a lot of energy, so they wouldn’t do it just because they felt like a change of scenery. If there is a year round supply of food, most animals will stay put.” Pat Rye (And so will I.)

Preferring to stay home keeps me off the roads and the seas and out of the skies. Staying out of gas powered vehicles of all sorts is better for the environment so I’m helping out the earth by following my natural inclinations. Time was when exploring the world was necessary… or at least made some sense because people wanted — or needed — to know what was out there; they needed to find out about other available resources… and/or enemies. Or possibly friends, I suppose, but being human, it was more likely they were out to locate either enemies or people that could be conquered and put to use. We do not seem to be a particularly people-friendly species when the other people don’t look/sound like us.

Travel used to be a way to expand your knowledge base because in ancient times you had to go somewhere else in order to learn or see certain things; now you don’t unless it’s absolutely essential for you to experience some particular thing firsthand. That can happen. For me, however, most travel is simply not necessary. And, since I don’t particularly like it, I don’t see the need for it.

People often ask me, “Well don’t you want to see the such-and-such in person?”

No, I don’t, because if I can I see a picture of it, or watch a video of it then I’m as good as there. I don’t need to smell the air; I don’t need to feel the sun on my back or the snow in my face. I’ve seen really big mountains and vast waters and… I’m just not all that moved by them. I respect and treasure their existence. I get pissed that people would deface or destroy them because they are integral to life and to the earth; I just don’t need to go there.

As far as ambience is concerned, it’s nothing to me. I could go someplace and experience whatever so-called ambience is there but, trust me, I won’t be 10 feet out the door before I’ve forgotten the feeling. Ambience is a thing you can’t really reconstruct mentally — at least I can’t. And, as with breathing, ambiance is a thing you can only get so much of at one time. And precisely because you can’t take it with you — or I can’t take it with me, anyway — it just doesn’t matter to me.

People matter to me. Love matters to me. I will travel somewhere to see someone that I love but I can honestly not think of one place I’ve ever been forced to travel to (because left to my own devices I will not travel of my own free will) that I’m just dying to get back to. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. I can think of any number of places that I’ve been forced to travel to that you would have to force me at gunpoint to travel to again.

I am exceptionally fortunate to live in a place that I love, but I have lived in places that I didn’t love nearly as much as this place and I felt the same: I’d rather have been at home then trekking up a mountain or taking a cruise. I like my nest; I like what I see out the windows; I like knowing where everything is; dissatisfactions for me are few and far between. Wanderlust has no place to take root in my soul because the grass is always greener — and far more lush — right where I am.

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