Vain Pursuits

I don’t claim to know what it is all about.  I want to figure it out, but by no means do I have all the answers.

I am engaged in a life-long search.  I have looked in the back of my truck, my backpack, my storage closet, under rocks and dead trees.  I have looked in holes in the ground, I have looked in Alaska and Patagonia.  I have looked in the ocean and behind gravestones.  I have looked through the cupboards and in the orchards.  I have searched the deserts of Utah, the mountains of Wyoming and under the rug.  I have looked in my pockets and in the ditch on the side of I-15.  I have tried Bravo and the Discovery Channel.

I am listening as well, searching with my ears, closing my eyes and trying to focus on the sounds.  Listening to the wind rattle the doors and windows, slap and scream at the nylon of my tent.  Creeks, rivers, and falling snow, they all make their own sounds and I listen.  The heart stopping crash of falling rocks when I don’t know if I will live or die, the whinny of a horse, the roar of a diesel engine passing by all have been examined, listened to.

I am searching with my hands, but they often come up dry.  Looking for the answer in the roughness of granite or the smoothness of freshly made bread dough.  The stickiness of cake batter is just as good a hiding place as is heat of the July asphalt.  Searching through the thicket of rose bushes yields only scratches, the feel and touch of another yields only longing.

I have searched the online malls and shops.  I have looked around, inside and out.  Here and there and even within.  I have searched relentlessly, peeking, listening, feeling, smelling, asking and tasting.

Then last night, I think I recognized an answer.  Not THE answer, but an answer.  Just part of it.  It was in the pocket of my brown, checkered, button up, organic cotton shirt that I got from the thrift shop.  It was a piece of paper, a list I wrote and put there.  Over the months the list has migrated from shirt pocket to shirt pocket on a somewhat daily basis.  It was a list of things that I could do to be a better boyfriend.  Simple things, like play more board games, buy more flowers, talk more, and so on, but I think it is part of the answer.  Always try to be a better person, not necessarily THE better person, but A better person.  Not more stylish or richer, but more self aware, more understanding, more caring, more loving, more giving, happier.

As I sit and write it is obvious everywhere.  Cupcakes and chocolate milk.  Barbecues, brunches, and beer.  A shoulder to cry on and an ear for listening.  A borrowed bike.   A floor for sleeping, an understanding and sympathetic smile.   When I receive I feel good, when I give, I feel better.  When I give of myself, my time, energy, creations, I find glimmers of happiness.

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A little bit less of a nomad now, Jared still likes to refer to himself in the third person.