Merle’s Door

I’m reading Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote. It’s an amazing book about a man and a dog. It’s about human/animal communication, about freedom, about respecting another individual (in this case, a dog) and giving him/her enough space as to be him/herself. It’s also about living in a remote part of the world, being close to nature, and listening and reading all the subtle clues nature gives us if we but listen.

Is that elk I smell?

Is that elk I smell?

Reading Merle’s Door, I’m struck by how tempted I am by this life. How is it that I live in the city and have thought of living no where else for years, and suddenly, I’m really letting that love of animals and the outdoors speak to me. What if I want to give all this up and go live in a small house somewhere in the woods? Quality of life to me isn’t about how many pairs of shoes I have or how many Prada handbags or how many great restaurants I eat in. I feel lucky to have many nice shoes and to have owned a Prada bag and to have eaten in many delicious restaurants. But sometimes, and lately often, wonder if I wouldn’t be happier elsewhere.

As I child, I was always outdoors. I always considered myself “outdoors-y” until I realized it was hard to keep calling myself that when I didn’t do things like hike, picnic, or sail anymore (although I did well into my early 20s). I think some people, probably like Ted Kerasote, never really had to choose. They didn’t go from one life to another, from the city to the woods or the woods to the city. It was just a given that life would go this way or that. I know there are people out there who have pulled up their roots from the city and moved to the woods. Part of me wonders if the second half of my life wouldn’t be happier somewhere closer to nature, to animals, to trees.

Wesley admires himself in the mirror

Wesley admires himself in the mirror

I’d have dogs, cats, probably some rabbits. I might even have llamas, an animal that can earn its keep and maybe even provide me some income. Maybe ostrich. And I have a yearning to know what it’s like to know and live with a grey parrot. I hear they are so intelligent, and after reading Wesley the Owl, I have become quite intrigued at the intelligence of birds.

There’s no doubt my life is in flux right now. A five-year relationship that I thought was “the one” ended and I’m figuring out who and what I am again. Somehow, I thought I knew, or at least knew more than where I am right now. I was so focused on him and us that I stopped thinking about what really feeds my soul. And now that I have no one else to answer to but my own conscience and my own truth, I let my mind wander to some of these ideas that have always stirred in me. It’s one reason this blog, ostensibly about life in the city, has been often about my interactions with nature in the city. I need and want more nature, more trees, more animals in my life. And sometimes I honestly think that I would and could make my life all about nature, trees, and animals.

I guess it’ll all shake out in time. I just have to let myself go through this now. It’s scary and weird. I wonder what’s going to happen to me. I often just want to be alone because I’m feeling off-axis and I feel strange around a lot of people, that is, unless it’s people who truly know me and my soul, and I could count those on one hand.


~ by Lola on November 17, 2008.

One Response to “Merle’s Door”

  1. I too grew up spending a lot of time in the woods and then eventually ended up in my early twenties living in a big city. I hated it and missed nature. I always felt hemmed in. For the past 20 years I’ve lived in a semi-rural area. I never feel like I want to get away. Well maybe on days like today when it’s snowing/raining it would be nice to be in a warmer place…

    If you continue to feel this way maybe you should really think about making a move out of the city. You could start by going away on weekends. The world is too big and life is too short to be in a place that doesn’t make you happy.

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