Back to civilization and its discontents… Also all of its comforts, diversions and delights. After a few days on trail, or a few months – depends on your journey – the act of return is confusing and powerful. Everything that was once familiar assumes a strange and distant aspect – in Seattle, where developers are currently engaged in a wholesale reshaping the the architecture of the city, memory becomes unmoored from its architectural anchors, allowing nostalgia to float aimlessly with despair in open air, allowing strange moments of confused recollection. Cities are always shifting, and a conscious absence highlights the pace of transformation.
The same is true of personal relationships … What seemed familiar now becomes strange, and a chasm opens every time we aknowlege our discontinuity. At home, deeply enmeshed in a daily game of call and response, we sometimes forget ourselves as individuals. Removing ourselves from these relationships for even a few days causes a crisis of identity – we must redefine ourselves, reshape our identities after removing our points of reference. The abyss that language bridges between us seems terrifying and deep, the distance to cross is insurmountable.
The sense of alienation is what defines return. Overcoming that essential difference, expressed thru the act of leaving, is what defines our journey. This is the space where narrative enters – where a new story emerged to join our separate selves, to dovetail us with the pack, to create our knowledge as universal.