|ET and Me. Asheville, way back in 2011|
visited some old friends in Asheville this past weekend. I lived there for
several years, which as much as an environment is able, played an unconsciously
huge role in the development of my identity. This I only ever acknowledged after
leaving that town and then returning as a visitor with different experiences in
less interesting places to juxtapose with the normalized eccentricity of that
small mountain town. I’d had a buzz going pretty much the whole visit, never
enough to have a hang over and just enough to have a cloudy, unfocused brain devoid
of any anxieties or poignant emotions, but still a sort of nostalgic sentiment
was constantly felt in me and in the place itself, as if the mountains and the
movements of that town, the people and the buildings as purely just objects
that encompass the place carried a certain sentiment, like cells functioning in
a mechanical way to keep something a whole, with an unconscious sense of
purpose, that I, the now-outsider observer, could feel in a lonesome sort of
way: things familiar that no longer make up the exterior world for me. All the
sudden I thrust myself back into an idea of myself and my life and my world
that I’d abandoned and I felt intimately estranged. Memories don’t flood back
into my brain like they do for some people, just sentiments and feelings rooted
in forgotten memories that create a whole idea/ concept of an environment for
me. My friend Caleb kept reminding me of events past, of people I’d forgotten who still
have heart beats, of people that I met who are now decomposing entities in the soil of the earth, and it reminded me that
it’s easy to take for granted that people’s lives just continue onward with or
without you, because they don’t necessarily, but that has no substantive correlation to my presence or lack there of.
Things aren’t forever. But the world keeps on spinning round and round. I came back to a town
I’d left and of course it had kept on going, but businesses had changed, shop
fronts looked different, there was a new biscuit place, new bars and a
different coffee shop in the space where my favorite coffee shop had once been. Time goes by and things slowly change in an often unremarkable way. The video rental store is still around. Like Caleb said "Rosebud will always be around, they have loyal customers." The girl that works there is always there, every time I've ever gone. But this time a lot of time had passed and I noticed that her face was still quite lovely , but the creases and lines of her varying human interactions had begun to leave their mark. When you leave and come back to a place it's like time lapse photography. Nuances that took time to chisel their ever pressing and evolving marks, seem at an altogether new point, which I wouldn't have had the capacity for noticing had I remained there this whole time.
I'm back home now. My new home. I've never left North Carolina, but I've resided in several different places. Somehow my comfort zone seems to lie within the borders of this state, regardless of location. Or maybe that's just how things have worked themselves out.
I saw this man running in the pouring rain today. He seemed to have been doing it intentionally. He had running clothes on and it had been raining all day. His experience appeared to be invigoratingly miserable or miserably invigorating. As I drove by him I thought about how people have these very personal, singular experiences that are cheapened once explained verbally to others. "I went running in the rain today, it was so great" just sounds kind of trite, but in his head and in his motions running in the monsoon rain, he probably felt very close to God, very close to the world, and to himself at a very real, empowering temporary extreme. We share our experiences with the world so frequently that it just weakens everything and makes individualism just another app for people to download on their androids.
Maybe that guy was just running in the rain and he didn't tell anybody about it. Who's to know?
And here I am, sharing my experience with you, the world.