Do you want to know why I am going to chase every eclipse?
I crave the sense of familiarity with a rare, once in a lifetime phenomena. I desire the feeling of my hair standing on end for the few minutes of totality. The short period of time when hundreds, thousands or millions of people are gathering around the ones they love, or the ones they just met to look into the sky and see something that our minds simply cannot comprehend. The feeling that presents itself in the cold, dark air when the world is supposed to be bearing light, welcoming the new day. The feeling of change brought by a force of nature. The feeling of millions of eyes staring into the sky looking at the same exact thing. For those who have seen multiple, it’s the smile that cracks across our faces as we replay the past months or years of our lives. We play out these scenarios as if they were short films. We remember things we buried deep into our own closets. We smile because we made it. Some of us plan out goals for the next eclipse, some of us just anticipate every single footprint they will leave on this earth until the next one.
The first eclipse ignited a fire inside of me, I am searching for the perfect string of words to describe what I saw and how it made me feel. Fortunately for this lifestyle, there will never be enough words to perfectly describe that feeling, so clearly I have a lot of exploring to do. The first time I looked into that black ball in the sky, I felt as if I was going to burst with a stream of vivid, powerful emotions that I was unable to control. This second experience was different so I will admit that I was wrong- which is uncommon with my stubborn nature. I watched the moon cross over the sun to create something that my memory failed to remember. I watched the darkness of the moon cover the brilliant rays of sunshine, leaving nothing besides a few flickering solar flares lashing out from behind the moon. Everyone reacts in their own way, the eclipse has a way of bringing out the best in humanity. People come together from all walks of life to witness an extraordinary astrological anomaly. I have seen people burst out into tears. I have seen people embrace those around them. I have seen people stare fiercely at the sky while the rest of their body falls into a hypnotic, numb state. I have seen people pray to their gods. I have seen a whole showcase of responses but the one common response is that no one knew the universe was capable of THAT.
“You get an overwhelming sense of humbleness and how small and petty we really are compared to the mechanics of the solar system, the clockwork of the universe. These events that are taking place, that in no way can we affect or stop. It gives us a sense of how tiny we are and yet how we’re connected to the whole system. All this happens all at once.” -Fred Espenak
I spent 6 days in Central Oregon at the Eclipse gathering. I had 6 days to cultivate these thoughts so I could try to make sense of this. I spent a few nights outside of my own head, and I learned a lot about myself the the huge world around me.
I am running. I have been running away from myself for a very long time.
I am running from the image I pressed into the memories of old friends, lovers and enemies. I am running from the burden I’ve imposed on others. I am running from the love I have showed, while simultaneously running from the pain I exposed them to when suddenly, without notice, I disappeared. I am running from the feeling of permanence because I’ve never been in a home without leaving with the weight of it’s history on my back. I am running from understanding my intentions because it’s easier to whirl through bright places than to run in circles in the dark. I am running from my current self because I have the rest of my life ahead of me and I don’t want to understand myself yet. I am running from falling completely in love with myself right now because I’m always anticipating change, and I know I won’t ever stop improving. I am running from all of the parts of myself that I will openly admit that I am not proud of. I am running from the people who believe that they have me figured out.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not running towards something. I am running towards the unknown because I’d rather immerse myself into a blank canvas than the lackluster art that was auctioned off to someone else. I’m in the process of painting my own masterpiece, one that will inspire me everyday. I run towards new situations because I find myself in ones that are lacking growth and nourishment. I have become the catalyst of a beautiful creation.
I have found myself in many situations where I was left with a choice, but instead of taking time to think about both possible outcomes, I chose the easy, adventurous one. I voted against most opportunities because it was safe to say “No, because I’m leaving in X months” Earlier this year, I decided to test out the waters and jump into something different. A relationship where in the end, I was the one that got hurt. I felt exactly how I made others feel when I decided to leave without a trace. I felt what it was like to have the security rug pulled out from under my so-called “grounded” feet. I decided to run from that canvas, I did not want to mend things with that human because they mirrored my own flaws. I used to create my own lonely world because I knew I could find the instant gratification by skipping in and out of other timelines. I always believed that I was simply a blip on various timelines but now I know that I am so much more than a ship passing in the night.
Recently I found myself in another similar canvas. I felt what it was like to explore someone else’s brain while in return, opening an invitation to my own space. I lit a match without the expectation of watching it burn. I entwined myself into another timeline without my skin crawling with the dread of abandonment and lack of security. Thank you for holding space and making my importance clear. Your tenderhearted nature is contagious and I know you will illuminate your own path with nothing short of fulfillment. I am forever grateful for your compassionate existence and I know that our paths will cross again. Keep on being you.
I’m not afraid of settling into a consistent, orderly life. I’m excited for the day when I purchase my own space, adopt a furbaby, or eventually meet people I want to spend the rest of my life with. When my heart is ready to dive into that chapter, I want my mind to be there too. My heart loves to get comfortable in little, temporary worlds but my mind is always somewhere else. My heart has grown resilient, and has become stronger than I give it credit for. I am able to fall in love with places, and have the courage to leave them. I am able to feel loss, and experience heart break, even if its self-inflicted. Most importantly, I am always able to bounce back. One day my brain with be ready too. Some days, my mind is snorkeling into a rainbow pallet of thriving coral underneath the waves somewhere in the oceans of Indonesia. Sometimes my mind is taking shelter from a monsoon in a small Vietnamese home, being offered ears of corn, green tea and giggles from a small child. My mind is always hitchhiking through these memories, eagerly waiting for whats next. My mind is not here, serving tables or forming long term plans. My mind is not holding a pen for the sake of signing a lease just yet. My mind is on the side of a freeway, holding a sign with the word “Anywhere” on it.
Eugene, it’s been lovely getting to know you. I am grateful for everything from your fruit-bearing streets, to the countless smiles beaming from behind the counter of the Wandering Goat and of course Red Barn, I will never forget the plentiful meals I crafted from your distressed produce shelf. I introduced myself to the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast, the first shoreline that challenged my untouched love for the Long Island Sound. My love for salty air and rocky beaches is the one shimmer of consistency in this otherwise transient state of perpetual motion. You have nourished my soul, you have showed me a community built on curiosity and humans who I’ve had the pleasure of diving into. In as little as 6 weeks, I have nestled myself into friendships that I will stitch into my soul. Do not worry Oregon, I will be back.
As I sat under the stars and string lights tracing the backyard of the Eugene Whiteaker International Hostel, I decided it’s time to dust off my passport. Although I will miss my simple mornings with Oso, the scone-loving guardian of the hostel, I am re-energized and I am ready to explore. My flight back to Long Island is booked. Boston, I’ll be waltzing down your cobblestone memory lane before you know it. Copenhagen, I can’t wait to stitch my first European flag onto my pack.
East coast, I cannot wait to bury my toes into your shoreline.