The Native’s Return

A clump of changes dropped out of the clear blue last August and hit the ground running.  By November they’d hit the wall.  Midwinter storms left friends and family out in the cold, sorting through the wrack of illness, unemployment, and divorce.  It was a mini-diaspora in February, people scattering to the four corners, breaking up the clan.  May was crash-and-burn time, bacchanalian death and destruction, a limb-from-limb affair.


It’s been a series of pile-ups.


Maybe you and I haven’t been jotting down our appointments on the same calendar–but tell me you haven’t had this same year.  Tell me you didn’t lose someone, leave someone, break something beyond repair.  Tell me nothing’s really changed.


Just don’t tell me how educational it’s been.  If good lessons justify bad experiences in your universe, fine.  In mine, learning happens no matter what; “good” or “bad” has fuck-all to do with it.  And don’t go tying that last thought-thread to the concept of boundless Buddhist equanimity, either.  I’m hardly one to point the way.  I’m just pointing out that changes are scary, coming and going.


It’s scary peering over the cliff into the abyss of the unknown, it’s scary taking the leap.  Or maybe fate pushed you over the edge.  Maybe you were in free fall before you got a chance to pray for wings, or cast the omens, or say goodbye to the world you left behind.


Days pass, months go by.  The year turns.  If you survive the pile-ups, if you manage to climb from the wreckage and thread through the debris, eventually you find yourself at the edge of another cliff–only this time you’re peering into the abyss of the familiar.


Coming home is as unnerving as going away; it’s just as far to fall.


We’re not afraid that those who knew us then won’t recognize or accept us for who we are now.  We’re afraid that we won’t recognize them.  We’re afraid we won’t be able to accept what once we took for granted.


[Credit where credit’s due; I lifted this post’s title from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe]

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