I've never been able to get along well with my couch. I can't get comfortable. I don't sit well. My idle mind a death sentence lurking in the cushions. My skin itches, I pace, I tinker, I'm lost in my own home. A cell full of reminders of what's out there beyond my walls. The idea of relaxing feels as if my worst enemy is pounding railroad ties into the tops of my feet leaving me pinned to the floor of my own home, left to consider the world outside my cell with no hope of ever seeing another new horizon.
My downtime is a dangerous place for me. A conversation with boredom I don't like having that seems to only present itself when my couch is in the throes of a particularly needy episode. I'm home when I'm not home. I'm comfortable only when I know I'm leaving.
I look to my arms and hands for reassurance that I am indeed moving forward. My left hand darkened by the sun, the little hairs on my left arm bleached from the rays as they flicker in the wind like wild fire. My right hand is four shades lighter. My hands tell the story of great distances behind the wheel, they're my truth, scarred by the open road. I'm too fascinated by what's out there. By both the good and the bad. I want to know those I hate as much as I want to clank glass with those I love. Much like my hands, there's two sides to every story, and to not read the story, to not create one of my own feels far too similar to that dangerous place, that dark and uneasy downtime. A couch who's only view is a box that's merely giving me someone else's Cliff Notes to another person's adventure.
So I travel. I'm happy on the road. The bigger picture reads more like an epic novel then a practical contract with life.
Opportunity springs to life in so many unexpected ways, in the most remote of places. The kind of opportunity that feels like it must be taken, for every opportunity passed another ten seem to be lost. I say yes on the road. I skip the extra insurance.
I look for contrast, I search for the roots of culture, I read the signs like paintings. I get lost. I'm often in places I don't like but that is part of the experience, the adventure. I prefer the road that scares me, there's a better story to tell down that path. I talk to those I ignore at home. I'm a better person when the road is my guide.
Someday I'll find my way home, and I'll love that couch like it's the parachute that gave me the soft landing back to Earth. But for now, I'm still on the road.
-Mark Rivard, 2017
Dedicated to the life and words of Jim Harrison.