Sometimes you get in the car and pull out of the driveway and hit the road without knowing where you are going. You go to the river because you don’t know where else to go. You wander the streets of the town looking for distraction, for direction, for something that makes the jangling in your brain and the fizzing in your blood a little bit softer. You look for things that are beautiful because beauty reminds you that people are trying to love, even if we aren’t always succeeding that great.
You go to secondhand stores and bakeries because these are the places that feel familiar when everything else seems tainted with somebody’s big agenda. You go looking for simplicity, for pointless concrete things that make the human experience feel human, and not just like a theater piece on idealism or an outsized power play. You realize you got stuck thinking that life is so goddamn important, but you’re not yet strong enough to carry that weight. Or smart enough to realize there’s no weight at all, just the heaviness of your own reflection.
You sit on the banks of the Vézère with your feet in the muddy water and remind yourself that politics and practice and impatience are just a part of this life, and as we have, pretty much, no choice but to live it, we might as well live it well. So you eat some chouquettes and commiserate with the dragonflies, wonder when you will live it better, call it a day, then go home, hoping to live other parts of this life a little bit better, for the time being.
**This post is part of a larger project culminating in a week of creative journalism in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal chronicling the cremation of the Tibetan spiritual master Shamar Rinpoche. To find out more or make a donation to this project, go here.