|Sand and Clouds converge on Henry Mountains|
Regarding Gumo's comment a few days ago, that he's "homesick for places he's never been," it's been expressed before in many ways. But that one... that one... I own. It's my nutshell mantra, and like any worthy adage, It's soul and wit lies in it's brevity. I want it tattooed on my chest, recited at my eulogy, engraved on my tombstone.
In "The Hand of Distance," Judith Thurman wrote, Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground. While the spirit of the phrase is true, it's far to wordy for a tattoo... especially if it hurts to get one.
Carson McCullers, author of several national treasures, including, "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter," wrote, It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known. Is it mere coincidence that I'm reading "Lonely Hunter" this week? I think not.
There was a recent time in my RV life when I became "homesick" for Europe, a place I've never been. The allure of distinctive cultures so different from "American Pie," architectual antiquities dating back to Christ and before, uniquely seasoned food, tongue tripping languages... everything... was beating down my heart's door. I finally had to fend off my frenzy with the pointy stick of "rationalization," things like, "Mark, you could travel the west for a year or more for what it would cost to go to Europe for a couple of weeks." And, "It's not like it used to be, it's commercialized, crowded as Space Mountain at Disneyland."
But it's Europe... Everybody must go, at least once. So I studied up on it, took a closer look and found some truth between the lines. It has become "touristy" and crowded, because Europe is small compared to the USA. Campgrounds are expensive and often full. Affordable Hotels lack "stars" and private facilities. There are long lines in front of "must sees," where tour guides spew dates and data like Rick Steves clones.
Europe was beginning to sound like one big tourist attraction, with everybody trying to make a buck. After some soul searching it sounded like the opposite of my travel purpose, which is to ramble through deserted landscapes that delight mind and senses... preferable on a lonely backroad or trail. And yet, I'm still "homesick" for a place I've never been... Parisian galleries and food, the Alps, from Switzerland to Italy, history beyond newbie America, Norway's serrated fjords, and real fishing villages that harbor creaky old boats and escort creaky old fishermen to sea. Why? Why?
A character in one of Travis McGee's books mentions "Weltschlmerz;" It's a kind of "homesickness for a place that doesn't exist." The term was coined by German author, Jean Paul, to express the "feeling experienced by some... who understand that physical realities can never satisfy the demands of the mind."
Well, perhaps Jean Paul was never fortunate enough to explore the American West. The marvels I stumble across have yet to disappoint my "uncultured" and feeble mind. If and when that happens, I'll book a flight to Europe.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to see if Hanksville, Utah, has a tattoo parlor.
We have one bar of signal here, camped at the vertebra-like slot canyon-ed base of the San Rafael Swell. It's backbone severs Utah north to south with an uplift that's visible from space. It's a playground, for sure, but uploading photos often breaks the tentative hold on internet connection. At best, it takes 15 minutes per photo. Words sometimes get through... I'm saving what you are missing for a later post where service is kinder. Oh, and Jim, that Wilson Amplifier doesn't make a bit of difference here :((.
|Approaching the San Rafael Swell... not far out of Green River, Utah.|
|There are some great backroads that explore beautiful canyon zones... and they have Goldie's seal of approval.|
|Our current camp is a BLM free one... at the base of the "Swell." Not to far from Goblin Valley, a few miles off highway 24 to the west.|
|Sue Bee, on the edge of Horseshoe Canyon... yesterdays glorious hike to Indian rock art. Stay tuned!!!!|