“You, you were a sailor who burned your ship and walked on…”
Every act of leaving is also an act of entering. We don’t have the luxury of finding ourselves nowhere, ever. We shake the dust from our feet and take a step. It isn’t that we forget the step before, or that, for the sake of the lyric, forget the ocean where we thrived until we languished in familiarity and comfort, as if it were the womb itself. We take it with us. We walk with it far enough until we reach the point where it serves best to bury it in the ground where it becomes roots in the soil.
It would be appropriate to conclude that our comfort is a burden we carry. After all, can a person dismiss their fears in such a way that comfort is no longer a paramount desire? And what is more comfortable than the place where the paths have been chosen and worn down and deepened by our own feet? This place where the ocean speaks a common language and the birds sing familiar songs is home, until it isn’t.
In the public square, anyone who would speak of comfort as a disease, some form of slow narcolepsy, would be laughed at until they were stoned for heresy.
We do like our patterns, and our routines, which are also good until they aren’t. Until we have the privilege of being tossed ashore with nothing but our life experiences, and told to start walking away from what we know, Inland.
Inland as a metaphorical destination is the place we don’t know anything about. It might even be a disservice to call “Inland,” a destination at all. It is, more accurately described, a direction.
A new job, a new school, a new love, a new way of speaking to an old love, a new place, a new anxiousness, butterflies in the stomach, a new path.
What does it represent for you?