For those of us who have lived by the cry Fuck the noise, what to do when we suddenly find that the Noise fucked us? We go walking I guess. On May 9th I plan on walking out my door in Ohio and starting a three-month trek to Seattle. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be leaving on St. ChristopherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s day, leaving the comforts of home for an ill-conceived trek. Abruptly sans site, I will become (a) para-site. I will join a Holy Order of saunterers and meanderers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of tramps. The opening to Thoreau’s “Walking” is worth repeating in full:
I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.
Thus it is that I find myself temporarily forsaking my study of metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology in order to become a metaphysical bum and spiritual bandit. My minor in Marxist monadology will likely be fairly useless this summer. It won’t be a typical summer, of that I’m sure. But I can’t really explain why I’m going. To give you my reasons is to give you my soul. If you know why I have to go, then you know me (and vice versa).
I can offer you but a few glimpses into my reasoning. I can let you know that I am going forth as a prophet of the Semi-Holy Apostolic Church of the Ironic, a church plant of Hazel Motes’ crazy Church of Christ Without Christ. We kept his asceticism, but added Christ.
A Christ who took a vaguely similar journey as mine. Except Jesus’ was shorter, in length and distance, and was in the godforsaken desert. My Jesus and I will share this in common, and you won’t, and my prideful piety is now nearly bursting at the tent seams.
I’ll probably know, for example what Jesus felt like on the fourteenth of his forty days, when delirious and dehydrated he spent six hours drawing curious diagrams in the sand. Diagrams of the new heaven and earth, maybe. Of his old home in Nazareth, maybe. Did he, like me, think of the women he couldn’t have? I wonder how close, on the thirtieth day, he was to just packing it in and going home? I’ll probably be closer. But I’ll probably be in Iowa.
In many ways, I actually feel over-prepared. My dream has always been to simply walk away at the drop of a hat. To step onto the street with my shoes and shirt and no plan. Instead, I have a fully-loaded pack (40 lbs) and some semblance of an itinerary. I hope my lack of puritanism can be excused. After all, I am only a part-time radical, a drop-out dilettante.
I don’t have a lot concrete goals along my way. One of them is to completely forget ever passing through Indiana. In Nebraska I hope not to die. In Wyoming I want to throw pebbles at bison and fart in Old Faithful. If all goes according to plan, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll dip my toes in the Pacific in early August and crash for a few days with a friend in Seattle. If IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m early, I may hitch down through California or back to Ohio Ã¢â‚¬â€œ otherwise, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll take a train or plane back home. Assuming, of course, that the monks of the Order of Sainte-Terrer donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call me elsewhere. To Mexico. To Florida. To anywhere, to nowhere. To Paradise.