Driving around the city, I can feel my heart racing, I can feel it in my throat, and all these other things are rising, too – that mild, unfounded panic, a twinge of remorse, the urge to fight – and I want to call my decision to come here in the first place, the time I spent here a mistake, but I don’t believe in that kind of thing.
But not here. Here the rocks are smooth and banded and glistening with water. It’s crazy windy, damp cold, and the Bow is a menacing grey-turqoise, capping, moving quickly. I’ve never been here on a day like this, and each time the sun bursts through the clouds I turn my face to it, close my eyes and smile, breathing deeply.
Back on the path, even with my camera bag and boots and bulky jacket I find my stride easily. My feet pound the pavement, faster and faster, and I’m searching. I turn back when I reach the field.
At the lookout the air is heavy and the quiet is charged with something I can’t identify. It’s not the comfortable kind, and in that blustery frame of confusion it occurs to me that I rarely get what I came for, and I wonder if I can even name, or if I am prepared to have what I came for, anyway.
The next day, back in town I wait at the counter for my lunch. Mable and her grey-haired cronies sit two feet away from my back. They drink their coffee and don’t hide their stares so I smile at them, and they don’t hush their whispers so I turn to face them completely and ask if I can help them. I want to pick Mable’s brain, ask her if she’s seen anyone new in town lately, but I let her pick mine instead.
She’s the type of person with roots, and I acknowledge that I am not that type of person.
When I realized I had the freedom, when the going got too tough, when I got stuck or lost, I pulled the ripcord and I ran. Maybe I’ve tamed that part of me, the part that bolts at the first indication that things aren’t quite right. But I still hunger for new places, new people, anonymnity, fresh starts and adventures.
I used to think that was a weakness. I used to want to change it, but I don’t anymore.
It might be my greatest strength.