Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Odyssey

Odysseus finished up that 12 year Trojan War and headed back home. His adventures were over and his Penelope awaited him in Ithaca. The journey should have been short. But a storm blows him off course. And he discovers that his adventures have just begun. Adventures: adversity, challenges, the antithesis of Disneyland, and a meandering journey in which all his men die and his return home is always uncertain. And here we are. I always feel better if I can compare my life to a great hero. Odysseus was no god, and was never meant to be. Just a man lost at sea trying to find his way home.

So, our ship of family is trying to sneak by the economic downturn we'll call Charbydis. We thought we were done with adventures in poverty at the bottom of the economic dog pile. But, alas, our adventures are just beginning. Getting the degree is starting to look like a piece of cake compared to what lays before us now. Where is the path home? How long until we get there?

And this week we are preparing for a modest Christmas, a trip over the mountains for a week of visiting family, way too much snow, record-breaking cold temperatures, moving before the end of the month, Huck's car isn't starting, Blue changing schools, and me speaking at the UU church on Sunday about solstice (I'm so nervous I could wet my pants). A dark time indeed. The deck seems stacked against us. Time is not on our side. Pick your morbid cliche and insert it in to our lives here:

I, perhaps mistakenly, spent the greater part of my life thus far pursuing adventures far and wide. Career? Shmeer. Money? Shmoney. Adventure? Gimme, gimme, gimme. And now I have an arsenal of adventure stories nobody wants to hear and nobody believes when they do. And now I want to settle down, to burrow into a little home, and make a solid community around me. But no. I'm on this path of adventure and life is going to hold me to it. Stop this train, I want to get off.

I can learn all the lessons I want to from this misadventure we're having here. I can learn learn learn all day long. I can grow humility like hair. I can learn to adapt and roll with the punches and plan for the most uncertain future I've ever seen, and honestly I've seen some seriously uncertain futures in my brief time thus far. But all of that will not change the national, nor the global, economy. No matter how much I learn, it won't change a damn thing.

And now I have to get back to packing up this house. And don't expect a Christmas card.

Hearing the plea for more photos, here's one of our Karate Kids. At this point Coyote is just bouncing around a lot. But Blue is learning to harness her powerful spirit. We bought her an archery set which she took to the UI Arboretum once. I didn't really notice her play until some college girl gasped and took out her camera. Blue was standing on a rock, bow and arrow pulled back, and she looked exactly like the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Artemis. I get the same chills when I see her practicing Karate.

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