Sunday, May 10, 2015

That Frontier Feeling

There is this feeling I've had a handful of times in my life. It is a swirling mixture of elation, anticipation, fear, and happiness. You can feel it in your body--there is a near tingle in your extremities. You feel a part of the ebb and flow of life. The past is not important. You are 90% living in and feeling the NOW, and it is amplified by the 10% glimpse of what the future holds. Your smile extends beyond the corners of your mouth, up into your cheekbones, your ears. And if you could teleport yourself to the edge of a magnificent cliff, you'd scream sounds of sheer joy into the open abyss. You are on the precipice of something grand....and you know it not just in your mind and heart, but also in each and every cell of your body. It is a consuming feeling.

As I spend my last few weeks in this apartment, I've been trying to take advantage of walking to get around. Soon I'll be living in a big city and getting around a lot by foot. So why not start practicing? On Thursday evening I walked two miles into downtown Colorado Springs to have wine and food with a friend. It was approaching 9 PM when I walked home. 

It was dark and cool. After four days of rain, the air was thick with moisture and the smell of lilac blooms. Cars were speeding up and down the hill on Uintah and I was listening to music courtesy of Pandora (something I hear I won't have access to over there!). I paused to take in a deep breath of the night air. Leaning against the concrete wall that edged the sidewalk, I tilted my head back and looked up. Clouds were visibly moving across the sky and a few faint stars were visible in the distance. And that feeling coursed through me. I stood there, taking it in, feeling it, and tried to pinpoint what it was that creates this "natural high."  

.......and...... I think it is about a frontier. It is about being an explorer and marching off into some type of unknown. It's about really and truly feeling alive, making you a live wire. 

Upon greater reflection, each time I've had this feeling, it has revolved around the move to a new place: 
  • I felt it first the summer before my sophomore year of high school when my mother moved us from Michigan to Pennsylvania. 
  • It came again in 1993 when I went off to college at Edinboro University of PA. 
  • Next was my move west to Idaho in the summer of 1995. 
  • When I was deployed with the Army National Guard in 1998 (to Hungary/Bosnia/Croatia), I had a slightly different shade of it--but had it  nonetheless. 
  • Then in 1999 when I moved to Colorado. 
  • And NOW....with the biggest move of my lifetime on the horizon....I feel it more acutely than ever before. 
Is this something our forefathers felt when they began to imagine a free and independent country? Is it something the pioneers felt when they journeyed west on the Oregon Trail? What about Lewis & Clark? Or the colonists that first established Jamestown? Or further back in time....Marco Polo? Christopher Columbus? Leif Ericson? Or more currently, Neil Armstrong going into space?

Yes, I think it is about journeying into the unknown, traveling to a frontier, (albeit perhaps a personal one)....

AND I think it's about having faith that what one will find and discover will be good, enriching, rewarding. As long as it is those things, the difficulties encountered along the way are worth it. 


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