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My father used to walk me out into the hills on his shoulders and then set me down, at which point I would always meander off into the grass taller than myself, over one of the many hills, and out of sight. He would call for me and sometimes hear me laugh in the distance, but I would never come back when he beckoned. I came back to him when I wanted to. Once I stayed gone too long and he started to get worried as the sun set. He went to get friends to help find me. When they returned to my house after hours of searching, I was on my swing that my father had built for me, and a bobcat sat beside me. He left as the adults approached.
I was about 3 at the time, and I remember wandering at night. I remember being lost and not caring, then being on my swing, and I remember my father taking me inside and my mom crying. But I don't remember the bobcat. I guess it wasn't hungry.
More recently, I left Indiana (where I've lived since age 4) for a while, and the last thing my father told me before I wandered to my car was "If you leave the state with him, don't bother coming back."
Where's my bobcat now?
January 26, 2006 Passing thoughts. I'm growing even more disenchanted with the idea of having private property. When the weather is fair enough for extensive travel on foot, I want to go somewhere and find the adventure that always seems to be waiting for me when I give in to my wanderlust. Alone or with friends, in familiar territory or overseas, it doesn't really matter. As long as there's life to be actively engaged in and the occasional dumpster to fill my stomach, everything will be fine. Assuming I survive my fantasized pilgrimage-sans-destination, I'll surely be changed by the experience, and after all, change is the most necessary -- no, the only necessary -- step to improvement.
I'll admit that this is no spontanous inspiration, and that it has been brought about by my hanging out with other semi-nomadic friends, watching films about anti-capitalist activists, and reading the journals of a young American nomad travelling across the country by hiking, hitchhiking, and train-hopping. I want to just wander for a few months to see what I'll find, like I've ended stressful days wandering to the unfamiliar outskirts of my city all night, turning back to try to find my way home no sooner than the first light of dawn. I'd go out of my way to get lost, and I'd be rewarded with a feeling of freedom that nothing else could match. Knowing the right way to go would only impose an obligation to take it, and in taking it, I would stop feeling like a dynamic, vibrant life and start feeling like a static, predictable process of nature. Perhaps this urge to get out and embody unpredictability arose as my unconscious opposition to my longstanding views of my life being nothing more than an iteration of a mathematically predictable loop in a biological subsystem of the physical world. Feeling like I'm just a component of a large, self-replicating chemical process has helped me sort myself out and live my life in a more relaxed, Taoist way, but it's hardly inspiring. I seem to need this kind of adventure and danger to counterbalance the long-term "in time, no evidence will remain that I ever existed at all" comfort with the short-term excitement of being on the edge of discovering something that I'm truly clueless about.