Monday, February 23, 2009

A walk on the ice, nest building & some ouzo after work ....

"Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow."

Robert Frost
(San Francisco born)
Some lines from: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Could winter ever become fun for me again?

When I moved back to Minnesota, I rented a house by a lake for several months. Sunday, I drove out to that lake, parked in the driveway of one of my former neighbors, talked with him for 30 minutes and then went for a walk on the ice.

I have spent a fair amount of time walking on the ice, starting as a boy playing hockey and going hunting. I had not been on it for a couple of years now, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy walking on it. I have lived by lakes. I think that is one reason this winter has been harder on me than most. I live in town, not in the country by a lake or a river.

I have not walked on the ice under a full moon for a long time. I have not heard the ice and the water beneath it "talk" -- gulping, gasping, swallowing, roaring, rolling, cracking, crackling, the sounds reverberating, coming and going, beneath my feet -- for a long time. That is another "end of the earth" sensation. True winter is something to be enjoyed, and that does not happen when winter has been reduced to shoveling sidewalks and driving on ice-covered roadways.

Sunday, my ice walk was in daylight instead of moonlight, but it still had a familiar, comfortable feel to it. I really am in need of wind, water and sun, very much so. But, maybe after a few years of such living and then settling in the "right" location, it would be possible for me to enjoy winter once again.

Women, and the desire for nest building ....

When you cannot sleep, what do you do? I have been up pretty much all night for two nights in a row. This is not insomnia, either, at least in the usual sense, and this is completely unlike me. I normally fall asleep within two or three minutes of my head hitting the pillow. (Once asleep, the slightest "unusual" sound awakens me, but I sleep right through even the loudest "familiar" sounds.) These two nights, I think, have been the result of dwelling (too much?) on thoughts about once more changing directions in my life. Which direction to go now?

This seems to be a common dilemma running through many blogs. So many individuals are experiencing change or seeking change in their lives. I said once before, and I quote myself now: "There is so much wonder in the world, to see and to know. My choice would be to have experienced 1,000 jobs in 1,000 different locations before I 'cash in'."

The essential question here is, do I accept the fact that to do this, to continue seeking new experiences and new country, means that I most likely will do it alone? Or, do I actually think that maybe, possibly, I will randomly encounter a woman who could love me and would have the same nomadic attitude toward life as I do? It seems to me my position is in direct conflict with the innate instincts of a woman. If that sounds chauvinistic, so be it, but are not all women nest builders?

Ouzo on the beach, but only after work ....

New idea: I have participated in two archaeological digs as an amateur volunteer. (That means no money and a lot of grunt work.) One was at a battlefield site (hiking up and down a steep hillside, up and down, sweeping the landscape with a metal detector -- uff da). I was there for two weeks. The other was at a prehistoric Native American campsite, near which had been uncovered an ancient dugout canoe. That was my first such venture, and lasted a week. Really fascinating.

Anyway, "Archaeology" magazine contains advertisements for such projects round the world. At least it once did; I signed up for a subscription again last night after an absence from it for a few years. I'll soon learn if such projects continue to exist. Possibly, this would be a sensible way to begin a trek around Greece.

I can envision myself on my hands and knees for a couple of weeks, digging and sifting dirt. Then later, sipping brandy on a sandy, secluded beach (all right, in this case probably ouzo), and cooling myself in the "wine dark sea" of Odysseus. That would be an appropriate reward to come after "the dig."

Maybe ideas like this are why "true love" is difficult to find. Good idea? Bad idea? Thoughts?

Music Note: Back to the radio, listening to a classic rock station ....


Piper .. said...

even before I reached the concluding line of that paragraph, this is what I was thinking. Most women(the ones I know,including myself) are nest builders, as you put it. Stability is the essence. A nomadic existence is ok for a while. BUt the appetite for that kinda life gets satiated pretty soon. After a while you want to zero in. It happened with me. It happened with almost all the women friends I have. Having said that, I should also add this : I think its also got something to do with your cultural backgrounds. The women I`m talking about, happen to be Indian. Its unheard of, in an Indian scenario, for a woman to go cruise around the world alone. Ofcourse times are changing. And most young Indian women do lead pretty migratory lives. But they are the 'mavericks' really, instead of the normal ones. Whereas here in the West, its normal to see such free-spirited and independant women, who might consider a nomadic existence extremely exhilarating. I`m sure you`ll 'randomly encounter' a woman who has the 'same nomadic attitude' towards life as you :) Not ALL women are nest-builders.

TheChicGeek said...

Hello Fram. Lovely posting today. The ice walking sounds so peaceful. I think that is something I would like to do. I might be afraid I'd fall through though. I recently saw on TV that if you fall through you must act like a walrus rocking back and forth and you will just pop right back up on to the ice. (Just a little tip in case of a mishap :))
The archaeological digs sound fascinating. I've always secretly envisioned myself doing something like that. Learning about new things in exotic places, what could be better. I like adventure too.
As far as women being nesters, perhaps so. I love taking care of my kids and home. I do like adventure though and as my kids are now almost out of the house I often think how fun it would be just to take off and explore the world. Would I really go forever...probably not. I'd miss my kids too much. I do believe though that wherever you are, you can make it your home. When I was 20 I lived in the jungle on the Napali Coast of Kauai for 6 months. It was a wonderful experience living off the land like a shipwrecked survivor. After about 6 months I looked up at the beautiful sky and said, "how many rainbows, beautiful clouds, sea, sun, rivers and jungle can you look at? There's more to life than this" I flew home about 2 days later. I missed civilization :)
Have a Great Day! It's always good to dream, right?

Chocobo said...

I don't think your problem is finding another nomad. I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

I also enjoy going new places, moving, exploring the world, but my problem is not necessarily that I can't find a nomad, I just can't find anyone who is going the same direction. And, maybe worse yet, I can't find anyone who will wait for me to come back if we become separated because I have to go.

Maybe I'm a little selfish to hope for such a thing, someone who will compromise, someone who will await my return, but I'm just not willing to give up on going places that I can and seeing things simply because they are there.

That's why I, also, fear that I might end up alone. . .

Katy said...

Gosh, your post today took my breath away Fram. Ice walking sounds absolutely wonderful. I have never done this but your description makes me want to do so.

Are all women nest builders? I don't know. Maybe this question could also be asked the other way around - are all men nomads? The answer to either question is not automatically yes: it just depends. On who you're with, on what you're doing, on what you're looking for, on why you find satisfaction and freedom in staying or going. My mind travels relentlessly whether I'm at home or not. Sometimes I wish it would take a vacation from itself.

Your Greek dig sounds like a wonderful idea. There are few sensory pleasures that beat a long cold beer after a day of hot hard labour. I'm sitting in a chilly kitchen smiling at the thought.

Fram said...

So not all women are nest builders, hah, Piper? Your word is good enough for me.

Your comments also made it clear to me that no matter how many books a person might read, no matter how many countries a person might visit, knowledge is sorely lacking until there is real dialogue with someone who has lived life in a culture different from one's own. I am learning, not only facts, but how to think more clearly. Thank you

Fram said...

Kelly, you are a woman of surprises. That must be where some of the scuba diving took place. Right?

My concept is exactly what you experienced in "paradise." Within a matter of a few months or a few years of being somewhere, it is time to move on to a new place and to enjoy it until you feel it is time to go again. I do not think this is a good concept for a family, obviously, but do think it is ideal for an individual or a couple who are curious about life and who value experience more than keeping pace with their neighbors

Fram said...

Maybe chased up the wrong tree? Another surprise, to find you passing through this neighborhood. Thank you, Chocorollin'.

You are right. I think I have said much the same thing in the past. Caring enough to compromise is one key. Another is to have common interests. Another is to have enough personal strength so as not to be overly dependent or demanding. I think having pretty good control over one's own life also is a prerequisite. Finding the right person is a long shot, no matter how you cut it.

Fram said...

I did not realize walking over a frozen lake or river was an unusual experience. Hi there, Katy.

The sounds are not always present. I suppose it has to do with temperature fluctuations when the ice is "growing" and .... and what? I never really thought about why the sounds are there, I just knew that sometimes they are and sometimes very, very loud. With a large enough piece of water, it can be so loud a person might think the world actually is ending.

On another note, I wish my mind would spend more time in the present and less in the past or the future.

Something special ....