I am getting everything tuned up to take off for a few months. I had my car checked out, washed her inside and out and talked to her like a beloved pet. She seems as eager as I am to be on the road. We have been partners in this great trek for the last year and a half, and she has been a reliable and constant trooper so I want to give her extra care. I am one of those nutty people who talk to their animals and since I don’t have any of my own right now, my car has gained the status of a pet. I pat her on the console, when I am especially pleased, like I would on the beloved neck of a horse, I give her high-octane gas for a treat, and today I diligently groomed her like my friend de-ticking her dog.
I have one more week to say good-bye to all of my old and new friends and pack up and clean my living space. I bought a Rainer Maria Rilke book Letters to a Young Poet that shall be my companion as well as a few other novels for fun, and a new hat. Rilke has been popping up into my days from various places and the quotes are always apropos.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I have been struggling with the unknown of my life, wanting to find a home and get my things out of storage. This has caused me some dissatisfaction. Living out of a suitcase, and using other people’s belongings, is getting old. But the home hasn’t yet materialized so this Rilke quote was soothing. I need to be satisfied with life’s questions, the answers will be given without noticing, some distant day. “Live everything.” I love this! It has helped make the unknown exciting again. The wanting to know, to settle, to tie my life up with a pretty bow, may not be what I need to be a healthy person right now. Embrace the struggle, have the problem, ask the questions, all things I’ve learned as an actor.
“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”
So I bought the book and will ponder his beautiful, wise words as I move about the USA in the coming months.
I’ve done some touristy things this week as well as getting back to walking or hiking everyday. I took a hike to the Ice Glen which is a beautiful little gorge of rocks with ferns and moss near Stockbridge. For the first time in Massachusetts I was bombarded with mosquitos! I don’t know if it was the time of day, mid-afternoon, or the area, but I was eaten alive! I was unprepared, without bug repellent and finally had to resort to putting on my long sleeve shirt even though it was 87 degrees out. Ugh. All of my photos of that day are blurry, since anytime spent standing in one place made me an easier feast.
I think I’ve mentioned before that the Berkshires of Massachusetts were the summer retreat for the very wealthy, and still are I suppose, but there are huge estates here and I enjoyed going to one this week and touring the house and grounds. Naumkeag was delightful and not so ostentatious but that I could imagine living there myself! The desire for a home is leaking out into my daydreams.
I walked the country lanes, imagining the horses I would have in the pastures with the now present cows, and the friends I would have reading books in the gardens and musicians playing near the open windows. Naumkeag is undergoing a huge garden restoration project and the handsome landscapers were so friendly and we chatted about the bucolic view.
I sat under a 300 year old oak tree and ate my lunch while gazing over the farmland and the Berkshire hills. The oak tree reminded me of home and how it’s time to get back to my California roots for a visit.
It was just an appetizer for more adventures to come as I hit the road. Watch out America, here I come! If any of you have places that you think I should visit, feel free to send them my way and I’ll try to fit them into the itinerary. I will be sticking mainly to the middle and upper states this time, but the South is consistently calling me as well, so who knows? I am trying to stay open to the intuition of each moment.
“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet