6.01.2007,2:00 PM
What you don't know about me
This one I seldom share with people. Primarily because most don't understand. A few may, but they are rare individuals.

I was a hermit. No, I didn't have a long beard or wear a loin cloth (hmm... nice idea, though). I lived alone in the Maine woods for many years. They were the happiest years of my life.

I jokingly tell people I was raised in a den of wolves. My family was eccentric and unconventional; my parents were intellectuals and, what was considered in their time, Bohemians (yes, my Dad rode a motorcycle, too; an Indian). I grew up with and around scientists, musicians and artists; my nose in books, playing music or exploring outside in the creeks, woods and meadows alone. So it was no surprise when I fled the suburbs to the Maine woods and built a cabin for myself to live. And learn about myself and my surroundings.

The only modern convenience I had was electricity; I had to have my stereo and music. I heated and cooked with wood, hauled water up a winding gravel drive, grew most of my own food and I had an outhouse. My choice was not so much influenced by the 'Back to Nature' trend of the seventies as it was my own personal choice and need to be alone: when I left home at seventeen, I discovered I was a misfit.

So I went to a place where I could be alone and discover who and what I was. Contemplate my place in everything and what this world really was. I lived alone in the woods for several years, eventually putting myself through university and integrating with the world around me. Now I am comfortable with who and what I am, even though I still don't really 'fit' in the boxes prescribed by our culture and society.

I am my own best friend. Nor am I afraid to be alone. In fact, some times I prefer it, although I socialize just fine.

I'm not a misfit anymore, but people still shake their heads at me. I've discovered few people are comfortable being alone or with themselves as they are. In many indigenous cultures the men and sometimes women were ritually sent out alone to discover themselves and the world around them. If they survived the challenges of being alone, they returned with maturity and self-confidence. They were a complete individual: resourceful, independent and self-responsible rather than one who does not know him or herself, avoids responsibility, always relying on someone else to carry them along in life and searching for self-satisfaction and happiness outside of themselves. We are surrounded by dysfunctional co-dependencies.

This is one of several reasons why riding a motorcycle integrated so smoothly and quickly with my personality. It's solitary. It reminds me of the earlier explorers on their horses braving the unknown. There's little 'unknown' territory out there anymore, but for me every place is worth exploring and can be an adventure. Always something new. And I can choose to ride alone or ride with others. That's what I like; it's what I am.

Now when I look around me I see people dissociated from their environment, always searching for identity, purpose and entertainment. We've become addicted to technology for the sake of providing us with a false interconnectedness and worth. But its never good enough and we move from one to the next. We need more square footage, more powerful vehicles, more water, more food, more TV and media, and more toys.

People don't know who or what they are anymore, so they don't feel comfortable with themselves; they are afraid to be alone. Because they are strangers unto themselves. So we stick to each other like flies to flypaper, cell phones glued to our ears, newest gadgets, buying 'stuff', Bluetooth implanted in our heads, televisions in cars, the Internet in refrigerator doors, and fingers searching daily for updates on YouTube.

We are strangers in a strange land that we made for ourselves.

What happened to going for a walk in the woods? Enjoying a sunset? Smiling at young birds learning to fly? Listening to a water fall? Or the howl of coyotes and hooting of owls in the night? Listening to others, charity, courtesy, compassion, and integrity?

We're killing it all. And losing ourselves in the process.

Nature is something to conquer and mold to suit our own needs, not something to enjoy just for being itself. It was here before we were, but damned if we're going to let it get away with that. We use it up, throw it away and go on to the next untamed piece of earth. Our national parks are no longer virgin sanctuaries appreciated for what they are (or were), but now groaning under the rutting of industrialized tourism. There is nothing pristine, untouched, undamaged by us anymore. And in our greed to satisfy our wants, we are destroying what we need. Nor will we ever be satisfied.

And in our desire to get away from everything around us, we have caused there to be no place to get away to. We are the nemesis of the Midas Touch.

I've lived in or near the cities now for nearly ten years. The bike provides me a way to explore new territories and return to the life and environment that I lived in and loved. In my writings I try to convey what I see, hear and feel. To give others a prospective and sense of what they are missing and losing. To induce, instill, awaken and foster an appreciation for what was, what exists and what they don't see.

It is my penance for returning to the world of my fellow humans, to restore a sense of hope, rather than hopelessness, in myself. To balance the idealist with the cynic. To share the wonder that is out there, if only others would take the time to see. And to see the wonders inside themselves and each other. I write to bring it to them, silent in their ears, but loud in their eyes.

I've made peace with my demons. I don't want to die knowing that I sold out.

And now you know.


posted by Macrobe
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