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More Notes on Moving to a New Place


If you haven’t figured it out yet, writes Ernest Pipe, I’m moving.

It’s not something I like doing. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking, I want to move today, I want to relocate, I want to uproot myself from where I’ve lived for so many years and plant myself elsewhere.

My predisposition is sedentary.

I’m predisposed to staying in the same place as opposed to moving someplace new.

Not everyone I know is like this.

Some of my friends are like sharks: in constant motion. If they stop for too long, they will sink to the bottom and perish.

There’s something epic about sharks. They are the ones with adventure in their lives. Not a boring drop of blood in them.

I think of them as direct descendants of Odysseus. I, however, am not in this line. No branch in Odysseus’s family tree reads Ernest Pipe.

But this isn’t something I lament, writes Ernest Pipe, because, well, I’ve had my share of adventures. More than my share. You don’t have to be a shark.

While being in constant motion does help tease adventures out of life, even if you try to hide or run away from adventures, at least one will catch up with you and push you out of your comfort zone.

This is a good thing: suddenly being uncomfortable. It means change and, ultimately, growth.

But remaining in one place for a long time has its benefits, too.

Not to quote myself, but very recently I wrote:

I don’t get attached to places. I don’t let my roots grow deep into places. Places are meaningless. Places have no meaning, no worth.

A view is a view, a hill is a hill. I’ll bet I can find another view, another hill that is equally beautifully in its own way.

But if we’re talking about people, about letting my roots grow deep into people, I’d have to give you a different answer, for people are where I grow the most.

Less than one week after writing what reads like something I’ve thought a lot about, and I have to politely disagree.

Places are not meaningless. Places do have meaning, worth.

I had this epiphany last night, while watching a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy, the British sculptor. Here’s one of his land art pieces:

I love the golden ratio because I am alive. But that’s besides the point.

I was watching this documentary on Andy Goldsworthy, and he was telling the video camera about the importance of Penpont, Scotland in his art and in his life.

At the time of the recording, he had lived in Penpont for almost two dozen years. He said that if you really want to understand a place, you can’t just live there five years.

If you want to understand a place, if you want to understand the seasons, the tides, if you want to understand the births and deaths, if you want to understand the interplay between the flow of life and the place, you have to live there for at least 12 years.

That’s how long it takes to understand a place intimately.

And this deep understanding will reveal well-kept secrets that will further assist you on your search for truth.

Andy Goldsworthy believes in letting his roots grow deep into a place.

Unlike myself, Andy isn’t willing to claim a place has no meaning, no worth just to justify being violently uprooted.

For him, being uprooted from a place is an irreparable tragedy.

But this great gash of a tragedy doesn’t discredit the importance of people.

Andy understands that people are what make a place. They are part of the seasons, the tides, the flow of life. Letting your roots grow deep into people is the same as letting your roots grow deep into a place, and vice versa.

People and places are interconnected. If people are precious, places are too.

A view is not just a view, for Andy, a hill is not just a hill.

Each view, each hill, interacts with the cycle of life in its own meaningful way that is, in the end, dependent on the place.

Mountain mist abounds
wildlife scurries to and fro
sweet home of my heart.

::illustration made with ScribblerToo::

March 18, 2010 2:09 pm

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