In 1999, I started an online group and mailing-list for people living in trucks and busses; housetruckers. At that time, it was one of just two or three internet resources on the topic. It became a community nexus for like-minded folk, and a place where I felt I could really freely express my passions for the lifestyle.
Time, changes of lifestyle and circumstances, as well as some technical glitches effectively ended that experience for me around 2002, after around 800 written entries. Just lately, I’ve been trying to reconnect with some of those times, experiences, and people.
Here, for general consumption, I’ll be re-posting a few of those classic posts from “back in the day”; before this here blog was born.
Saturday, Sept. 11, 1999
Went camping this last weekend. Away from the town, away from the bus, away from… well, just away. Up on top of a mountain. Not much to see, really… winter is on the advance hereabouts, and snow’s falling, at least on mountaintops. Just camping in the clouds.
Everything I saw there was new to me. Little mountain trees, little mountain shrubs, little mountain flowers. In the snow. “Fragile! Stay on the Trail!” Hmmm… On the trail, or off the grass? Who knows? Nobody, really… That’s the point. Nobody knows the diversity crushed beneath a casual heel. Nothing in our imaginings can prepare us for the immensity of life contained in a single milky mountaintop dewdrop. Nothing.
Trip went well, actually. Just enjoyed it all, not a thought on the matter the whole while. Took a small-town restaurant washroom to get me to thinking. Nothing so peculiar about this particular washroom as to create a whole new line of thought out of thin air, just a little jog of the brain. There, everything in that greasy cubicle (the first proper plumbing in three days, ah, what a miracle that) had been seen by other eyes, and touched by the hand of man.
The cretinous hand that carved the words in the linoleum wall. The daily hand that replenished the paper. The calloused hand that sanded the molding along the baseboard, each nail set just so, once built with care and pride, now left for the kicks and scuffs of the constipated.
Each mark on the wall a testament to those come and gone before. Each mark, each touch, whether tender or careless, an icon of immortality. Everything you see in the world of man has been touched, has been seen. Behind every touch and glance is a person with a life and loves and stories to tell. Stories of glances made and touches received, each leaving an immortal mark upon the world.
“Indeed it is well said, in every object there is inexhaustible meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.” -Carlyle
Look around. What has the eye the means of seeing? Do I see more than you, or less? There, on the washroom walls, and all around, are the traces of the hands of man. Up on the mountain, there was no such sign, just a pair of ruts across the alpine meadow.
In the bus (ah, the simple glorious bus), all that I see is marked by my touch. I have shaped the stories of the universe which I now inhabit. Nothing around me holds mystery. I am my home, and it is I. As my eye has means of seeing it…
I know the stories untold still clinging to the relics in my care. I know all the when and why and where of everything I own and am. As my eye has means of seeing it…
When I move beyond myself, and perhaps beyond this place, this bus, I will still know the days and shaping of the world in which I lived. The ragged wooden edges hidden beneath trim. The cryptic scrawls of rust and aging hidden beneath the paint. The lost spider’s nest dried behind the shelves. All those old bones hidden within my home. As my eye has means of seeing it…
But now is only the baseline beginning. There are stories yet to be created. Touches of others in my home. Touches to be treasured. Look upon my home and see… me! As I am my own creation…
And still, the mountaintop. Free from the touch of man. Can we mere creatures ever know that solitude? I don’t know. It is our lot to thrive upon the touches and glances, upon the immortal marks of our hands upon the earth. And as it is my lot, I try now to find my solitude not in a world free from man, but within a home of my own creation.
It’s interesting to hear myself from 10 years ago. It’s interesting to hear how I heard my favourite quotation back then, and compare it to how I hear it now.