Into the Cold

November 23, 2008

Behind me is the ever-present, raspy, monotonous blather of traffic along Los Feliz. My worldly belongings are strewn about the livingroom, or at least what survived my latest purging as I pack for my 22nd move in the last 15 years.

Before every move, I go through old belongings and toss what doesn’t evoke any sort of emotion, or is something I haven’t used in the last year. Random card from some person who’s name I can’t remember? Toss. Embarrassing old drawings that are not only awful, but have no real meaning? Toss. Bad photos? Toss.

Yesterday I watched Into the Wild, and now looking through old writing I’m struck by similarities of a somewhat rude idealist who has no qualms separating from society. This page in particular caught my attention, written on Orcas Island at age 21, living in a small, isolated, off-the-grid shack in the woods for a very lonely winter:

walking song by nate beaty

The beginning of Into the Wild was very moving, and revived in me a strong urge to toss everything I own and head out on the road. Of course, I am heading out on the road in a few days, but to another dense urban environment, another apartment tucked in a mess of wires and cement and cars. I started lamenting that I didn’t follow through with my earlier idea to buy some rural property and return a simpler life, or at least move to a smaller city that has easy access to the woods and rivers.

Yet as the movie progressed, I started to remember, as did the character onscreen, that the selfish act of disappearing and removing oneself from relationships of any kind quickly reveals an unhealthy and unnatural human condition. There needs to be a balance. Of course, it didn’t help I couldn’t manage to meet any girls that wanted to date me. This tends to turn a man into a bitter, cynical, self-important poet. Witness:

hopes of forever by nate beaty

hopes diminished by nate beaty

In going through my old crap, I also can see a glimmer of knowledge and understanding, but surrounded by a sea of cheesy, oft-irritating, self-righteous, half-formed ideology and senseless drivel. Then again, I also start to realize I keep repeating the same epiphanies over and over. I just forget things, then rediscover them.

Ok, I promise just one more poem. I’m sure I’ll wake up and wonder what the hell I was thinking posting these. It’ll likely just inspire me to write more to push it down in the archives.

girl like a paragraph by nate beaty