Long Distance Loving

Our generation is in a weird way. Immense privilege has enabled us to scatter in the wind as we chase dreams and muster ambition. We land somewhere, take root a while, only for another opportunity to arise elsewhere and off we go again. As a result, we are inspired and impassioned and broke and rootless. But most of the time we’re happy.

Except when we’re not. Because sometimes the hits keep coming. Some weeks the days don’t unfold as we’d like and it’s a little harder than usual to remember why we ever left the security of that sheltered privileged nest. What were we thinking? That love would keep us alive? That struggle would yield character? That the wide open road and the career ladder would lend itself to more happiness than that big table and soft bed in which we came into our own? Some days I think we were wrong, crazy even, to have ever left. Because some weeks the universe just chews us up and spits us out. It has our way with us and leaves us withered and wet, curled up against the next blow, fragile and needing to heal.

When those weeks rear their ugly head, our generation is at a bit of a loss. Because suddenly the people we love our scattered far and wide. Our safety nets are distilled down to phone calls and digitized letters and long distance loving. The people who know us best aren’t there to hold us up. They aren’t there to rally a bbq or buy a coffee or provide distraction. Because they’re chasing their dreams just when we’ve felt abandoned by ours. And we can’t hold it against our new people. Because we just showed up on their door step and asked to be loved. And they never saw us coming. They can’t possibly know our neuroses, our idiosyncrasies, and we’re scary when we’re sad and they have every right to stay away. A few brave the divide. A few are called in for back up. And lucky for us, a few go beyond the call of duty and rally for an adventure.

And so we take to the desert. We chase the sunshine. We get a little dirty and a little drunk and we get as far from society as we can. We climb the rock, and bruise our knees, and mend our hearts over a smoky fire and a deep glass. Mostly we play. Because it heals us. And because we can. We cling to the edge of the cliff and laugh to the sunshine and howl at the moon. We invite any last blows the universe has to throw our way – and there’s always at least one – and then we head back home. A little bit sunburnt but no worse for the wear.

Maybe even better for it.

Because for a few moments sitting in the dirt under the big desert sky it felt as if maybe new family had been found. More dots on the map of our crisscrossed lives. More knots in the safety net. A few more favorites to linger beside a while before we hit the road again.  At which point we’ll send some long distance loving.

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