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Kimberly Dark

Moving and Staying Put

If you’re out in the middle of the night, just look like you have somewhere important to go. Invoke the image of another person expecting you at any moment.

The world looks better when you keep moving – on foot and by car or train. Porch lights blur into a strand that seems connected. The painted desert of Arizona is most beautiful in the first minutes of sunrise at 70 miles an hour.

Just keep moving. Sell things, provide services. Make connections. Intense connections, deep connections. And then hit the road again. You can pass that way again. Someday, you will be able to pass every way again. At 14, home became unbearable; I traveled the nation at 16 and then through other countries at 17. Until I was 30, I couldn’t sleep alone in a house. Hostels, hotels, lovers, friends, cars, camping. All good. I needed someone breathing near me, though always felt the irony of that requirement. The people in the house when you fall asleep can be the most dangerous. This was my early logic about hotel rooms: in one room, you can see the door and because there’s a light in the hallway, every time you look, the silhouette of the lock is visible between door and jamb.

When my son arrived, I settled in for a few years and started assembling a mosaic of stability from the shards of my beautiful life. Then I started taking him with me. I didn’t consciously plan on a life of movement, but I’ve always returned to one. At 33, I bought a house and lived in it alone for 15 years – still traveling often, but there was peace in that house and I moved it, along with my belongings, to the place I live now. I have been looking for more pieces to this mosaic of belonging; a fuller picture is coming.

I live on a platform in the sky. I can see the ocean from the desk where I write and the forest out my back door holds me. I love nice hotels, good beds, beautiful views and how strangers treat you kindly the moment you appear. Like so many, my travel schedule is wiped clean for the rest of 2020 and yet, there is still so much to be done. Nowhere to go. Movement and interaction are not safe.

I miss my son and my grandson and we’re staying apart in our homes because it’s dangerous to be around others. It’s dangerous to fly and stay in hotel rooms and talk in front of people and shake hands and hug and make deep connections before moving on. This has been my life and now there’s a new lesson to learn.

More colorful shards, enough to finish this mosaic of peace, are falling out of my mouth like teeth. I look down at my lap, as I weep, and I’m seeing how to assemble the pieces. The longer I’m home alone, held by nature, there’s enough here to complete the puzzle. I have enough. There is finally enough.

Being still is profoundly unsettling and my dreams have so much to handle. Boulders turn to pebbles so I can carry them up from the yard and mix them into my mosaic. Soon, I will rest in my own home.

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