The last few years of my life have been an experience of displacement.
I've always had a nomadic spirit, but a true nomad follows a path. There's no wandering, but there's definitely movement.
What's it like to be a lost nomad, then? I think that just means one is lost, and if that lostness should ever be carried like a trusty walking stick, one becomes a wanderer.
The history of the Jews and others who have faced diaspora, including my own people, have recently struck a chord with me. I don't think I've landed for the last seven or so years, and there's a sense of fleeing, escaping, of living on the run.
I remember watching "Fiddler on the Roof" and wondering about the symbolism. And someone explained to me: When you are a persecuted people, you learn to live lightly; a fiddle is easy to carry, and where you stop to rest, you can still make your own music.
My most recent displacement from my apartment has brought up these feelings of being unsettled again. I wonder how wise it was for me to invest in a space I don't own, make and put my art up on the walls, buy a heavy bookcase and real bed (not that futons aren't, but I graduated from college years ago) and other furniture. They're all liabilities.
However, they made my life richer than if I had continued to live a spartan, ascetic existence like I had in my earlier years. I've written before that I had "creative anorexia"--not a creative block, but creative anorexia: a refusal to create or be touched by creation.
But what has this cost me? And is it worth it?
I admit, my feelings of displacement were further exacerbated by locking myself out yesterday.
So what keeps me together during the proverbial flight out of Egypt? The Jews have their religion. The Chinese have their food. The West Africans have their music. These are things done in remembrance and affirmation.
What I have is what's in my head.
I think, and my brain is a philosopher's stone. It transmutes mundane experiences into profound wisdom.
This is what keeps me going. This is what I bring with me wherever I wander.
Right: From Nomad 2 Dervish, Little Beauties Art Card available on Etsy.