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Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Aging Adventurer

Ah yes -- welcome, my dear friend. Please, have a seat and come close, for I wish to tell you something that would be better kept between you and me.

Where to begin? The beginning I suppose. But the beginning is always an arbitrary location which the narrator has arbitrarily chosen to start his tale. A beginning only takes place in stories, not in real life. So I shall begin this confession knowing I could easily begin it elsewhere.

It is hard for an adventurer to admit that sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- he feels himself growing older. He's begun to see some lines under his eyes, and notices when he wakes in the morning the ache in his bones and muscles from the prior day's adventures. It is hard for an adventurer to admit that perhaps he'd like a little plot of land for himself in which to retire. It is hard for an adventurer to admit that sometimes he would like a simple life in which he can shop in Trader Joe's, watch excellent television series, and read and create a philosophy of life. For just between you and I, it is true that someday I will no longer be able to adventure.

Yet I think of this plot of land, this "apartment," and I shiver. It was once said:

"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society.. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

The truth is, an apartment, a house, is no different than a piece of ground enclosed by a fence. And what evils am I perpetrating by fooling myself and others that a silly piece of real estate is all I want and need? Is it sad to want that? Is there never a good reason to "settle down?" Should one always adventure? Am I an "imposter" for wanting a place of my own? Should one always ride, settling for the night wherever he may take shelter, and then pressing on the next morning? How can we possibly know these things?