Sunday, January 18, 2015

Getting back to my Roots

Zorig and I in the Michigan snow over New Year's.
While I progressed through this Fall and began to imagine a new and wholly different future for myself, I have been surprised at how much of this new future is a return to my roots. I grew up hunting and fishing in Northern Michigan. Snow has always felt comforting to me and nothing beats that first heavy snow of the year that quiets the earth and everything around us. Being outdoors has always had a grounding or centering effect on my soul/spirit.

Somewhere along the path of my life, I fell prey to the "city life" and the trappings of the American way of life. I allowed myself to be pulled further and further away from the great outdoors. I surrounded myself with "stuff" and to busy myself with indoor pursuits and city pastimes. Don't misunderstand me, I do not mean that any of these options are bad---but they are NOT what feeds my soul or spirit or heart. And so, I got lost along the way. There were moments of clarity, when I would be out hiking and would strike that chord deep inside of myself. I could feel peace and freedom. But then I would return to my home and the suburbs and that feeling of being centered and free would fall away from me, just as the dust fell from my boots. Lost in the wind.

In Michigan, I grew up on the 45th parallel. In Ulaanbaatar (capital city of Mongolia and called UB for short), I will be on the 47th parallel.  UB is THE coldest capital in the world. While I'm certain I will have to acclimate to my new home and it's depth of cold, I know that if I'd met a man in Costa Rica there would be no way in hell this adventure would be happening. But the cold does not scare me. So I wear a turtleneck. And mittens. And a hat. :)
I can do cold. 

Now I know what you are thinking.....wait, you're going to live in the capital city? With 1.5M people in it? How is that getting back to your roots? To the great outdoors? Allow me to explain. It's true that we will live in an apartment in UB and I will hope to work at a school in the city. HOWEVER, we will also have a home outside the city, "in the countryside" as they say in Mongolia. Anything that isn't in the in the countryside. Also, when hunting and fishing and traveling within Mongolia you often stay in ger camps or make your own camp with tents. I will have ample opportunity to leave the big city behind me and be on the steppe or in the mountains. As UB is the second most polluted capital city in the world, I've told Zorig that getting me to the countryside most weekends and breaks is required. He has agreed to accommodate this request.

While I have not spent much time as an adult hunting and fishing, my fondest memories from childhood are of doing those things with my father. Zorig and I talk about traveling to hunt and fish. We play it out in conversations. Hunting in the mountains on horseback (he has already purchased me a saddle!) and then making camp and cooking our quarry over an open fire. Surrounded with a few good friends, we'll drink beer and vodka, eat our kill, and share in stories and laughter. All of this on the expansive land of a country that knows no fences. And light pollution? What is that? I can't wait to sleep on the steppe, under a sky full of stars, and with the sound of wolves howling in the distance. 

And no, I'm not naive.....I know that city life has softened me. That first trip or two won't be so easy, I'm sure. It will take a little getting used to, especially at 40+ when aches and pains are too often our companions. BUT.....isn't the beauty of being human the ability to change our minds? To change our course in life? 

As the song "Rewind" by Stereophonics says, "It's your time. It's your day. It's never too late to change lanes," and "If you could rewind your time, would you change your life?" While we all know it's impossible to rewind a life, we do, in each and every moment, make a choice about the course of our life. My life is completely different than it was six months ago. And it will be all together different again in another six months. I know some heads are spinning thinking about how much has changed. Sometimes I can feel the ripple effect of so many changes.....BUT, I can also say that I've never been happier. I've never been more excited to see what the future holds. I've never been more in love. I've never felt so loved by another human being. I've never been more eager to see what's around the next bend. And at the top of it all, I've never been more anxious to discover who I will become as I travel this new road.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, my friend, at the end of it all, so often it's love that inspires us to be our true selves. So excited for your journey.