"Ya can't get theya from heya"
I remember that response by old timers in Maine when asked for directions by 'fereigners' ('foreigners', in Maine slang, in which the 'r' is dropped). Over my years of a semi-nomadic life, I have concluded that should be "No matter where you go, there you are."
Now, sitting here in this Texan slice of the Chihuahuan desert, the accident of an international border conveniently drawn along a river, I have pondered how I got here. From nearing six decades of wandering and never setting roots, I suppose.
I could blame it on itchy feet, restless soul, urges for going, or just plain wander lust. Two years here, ten there, fourteen way too long. Seven years seems to be the average, with the shortest being nine months in Californ-i-ain't. Departure from the past nine years was long overdue. Settling in one place for decades seems unnatural to me.
I've worked as a seamstress, forester, ranger, landscaper, farm hand, personal trainer, writer, rancher, consultant, lab manager, instructor, lab rat, maple syrup producer, and on. Lived many years as a hermit in the woods and served on a university faculty with my own research program. I've left and vowed never to return to academia twice. And walked away from Empire to live with the wilds, sometimes without speaking to another human being for weeks at a time. Diversity and variety are the spice of life.
And here I am again. Left academia for the second time, moved to the desert, and wondering what is in store on the home stretch. Still shedding the trappings of the past nine years and salvaging what is important to me, realizing many strings need to be cut. Get rid of the unnecessary possessions. Keep it simple. Let things go.
Each time I up and left, I usually walked away from it all. Including people. What stays with me most is the sense of places, touches with the earth. But this time, I feel the need to maintain connections with some of the people I have left behind. Maybe because I'm getting old. Perhaps because my father's current bout with cancer reminds me of how short our journeys really are. And my fear of losing him.
So here I am. Again. But I'm reminded that no matter where I go, they can go with me, too.