I think there come times in a life when regrets and fears have to be faced, acknowledged, owned. And, once owned, sifted, weighed. What regrets and fears are follies or the result of follies–and so rightly censured? What regrets and fears are miseries–and so rightly pitied, even in oneself?
I have been driving westward, away from the morning, my interstate journey mirroring my existential one, as I move ‘westward’, away from my birth. Closer to maker than mother, as Lloyd Cole once memorably more or less put it. I wanted time, but even more, I wanted space in which to come to grips with myself, to not just know but to believe myself 51. The lush claustrophobia of Alabama has yielded to the barren agoraphobia of the high desert, of Montana and New Mexico. There is space here to turn around yourself, maybe enough to see your back parts as you pass, assuming you have the stomach for it.
I’m in Taos for a couple of days, then I slip down to Sante Fe. A couple of days there and I begin the trek home. Eastward and ‘eastward’: can a man be born when he is 51?