The ceiling is about six feet above my head. A smooth white surface, crisscrossed with a grid of dark, aged wooden beams, the echos of my typing fingers bouncing off of it back down at me. I bring my gaze down to the ledge running the length of the wall in front of me which supports black and white images of a memorial and the interior an extravagant house. The table which this computer rests on matches the color of the wood on the ceiling and has two abstract gold vases centered on it. To my right are mirror-backed, lighted cabinets, no doubt intended to display something elegant. They are empty.
The hotel has been around for a while, exactly how long I can’t be sure. The lobby hints at an earlier decade with it’s marble and brass. Old elevators can’t deny their age either. This temporary home would be comfortable for someone with much higher standards then myself. I am only a guest here. A traveling passenger, living in this home away from home away from home. Can I even call this state home?
The idea of home is a place that is always there, at least that is how I interpret it. Our quest for something that doesn’t change in a world that thrives on change. How natural is this scenario?When a mature tree crashes (silently?) to the ground in the forest, opportunists germinate and race to fill this sun-drenched void. How warmly would we welcome those who, in the wake of a disaster, rushed in and built a house on our old foundation? Can this succession that is the law of nature be tamed?
I’m about to carry my home with me for five months. It’s really not too difficult. It fits in my hand. A home as impermanent as this is erected in two minutes time and disassembled just as quickly. It offers a place to sleep and stay dry. This is minimalism. But it’s not just my ‘home’ that is simpler these days. In six days I will become a nomad (more of a nomad anyway).
In six days I will place my hand on a cluster of wooden posts that rise out of the desert sands on the Mexican boarder and gaze North. With an improbably small backpack, I will close my eyes for a fleeting moment and think ‘this is it’. In six days I will begin walking and I won’t stop for five months.
As a traveler on the Pacific Crest Trail, I will sleep and wake on Gaia’s schedule. The straight lines and concrete and plastic of our civilized society will give way to salt brush, cacti, rock and sand. The curving, rolling landscape which flows beneath my feet funnels me North. An untold diversity of plants, animals, and landforms is waiting just ahead and I will see it all.
Gasoline-powered landscaping equipment is humming outside the wall to my left. Water rushes through piping to a shower head down the hall. On the sideboard that is level with my eyes, sculptures of ginko leaves, made from some silver metal reflect the searing white-yellow filaments of bulbs hanging above my head. This ‘home’ is not my home. My home is the trail, and I will be there in six short days.