Pioneers

New Jersey through the train window, Horizon Perfekt, Lomo X-Pro Chrome film

I come from pioneers.

I think about this a lot, whether I'm trying to make sense of a whirlwind cross-country move or just wishing for a journey that led me uneventfully down some well-trodden path.

Of course, I remind myself. This is who I am--it's in my blood and the cultural fabric from which I am crafted. This is what we do, not because we are special or talented or enlightened. Simply because someone has to go first, and the longer I wait for someone else to come along and lead the way, the more I realize that no one else is coming.

Some trails are mine alone to blaze.

Sometimes the hunger for adventure or the vision of what could be overwhelms the need for the familiar and the secure. Sometimes I think that vision must mean that I am hopeful, but mostly I think it just means I don't know what else to do but to write what I hear, to follow when I hear my name called, to build some small piece of a world I imagine so clearly. The waiting around for someone else to come along and do so is tiresome and dull.

I want to write you a book about what this means to me, how these parts of my soul are shaped and align. But I am only beginning to understand, like a dim flashlight at the entrance of an earthy cave.

I sit with the sentence, turning it over and over again in my mind and on my lips, as if these small words hold my whole world. As if they can explain all that you or I don't yet understand. As if they are a prophecy of undreamed-of things to come.