The Hermit Poet

July 27, 2007

The Road Goes Ever On

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 8:08 am

After spending the last few weeks packing and getting organized, the time has finally come to leave. In a way, it feels like I’ve been doing dry runs of this departure for the last little while. Last week I drove out to Vancouver to attend the Vancouver Summer Dream Literary Festival in Stanley Park. I spent the weekend with a friend in North Vancouver and had a good time visiting, despite the continuous downpour. I was even invited to sit on a panel at the festival and later asked to give a short reading. It was nice to be included in what undoubtedly was my last reading in Vancouver for some time. It was a good way to say goodbye to the city of rain.


This morning I head out with the last of my things and drive first to Vancouver where I’ll be dropping off my mother to catch a ferry to Victoria. (She’s headed over to babysit for the next week or so while my sister helps me drive my things down to LA). On Sunday I’ll be picking up my sister from the ferry and we’ll stay overnight at one of her friend’s. And then the real journey begins We’ll drive for about 3 days before arriving in LA. After unloading the truck, we’ll spend the next few days acquiring furniture — craigslist will be our friend. Then my sister flies back to Victoria.


Journeys like this one are somewhat epidemic in our family. It seems we are always embarking on some long road which turns and winds into the unknown, but promises a new vista – a new unfolding world. For this journey, I’ve stocked up on books on CD and will listen to the 13 cd BBC version of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Fitting in a way, because on the journey from LA to Vancouver, I listened to The Hobbit. On my last road trip to Vancouver, I listened to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road — a post-apocalyptic road trip which fit the mood, the ending of which made me think of my own father. Strange how these things work out.


I’m excited about this journey, but sobered as well — once again I am leaving “home” and will not be able to return. The house is up on the market and my mother hopes to move to Victoria before the year’s end. Once again “home” will become unanchored and unknown — more a sense of being, than place.


There is something about the hum of the road — the wide open sky — the movement of one speck across the vast skin of earth. What is it about this traversal – this transportation of one’s markers of space and identity – that is so compelling? Is it the sense that we can remake ourselves anew at each stop? Is it that we jettison so much of the old along the way? That we are anonymous in our journeying? Each move is an act of translation, and from mathematics we know that every translation is a transformation.


See you in a few days. I’ll be back online on Aug 5. Till then, be good.

3 Responses to “The Road Goes Ever On”

  1. Robert Says:

    Bon voyage and happy trails. It’s nice and warm down here. :)

  2. Oliver Says:

    Holler at me when you drive through.


  3. Robert Says:

    Aug. 5? That’s today!

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