on getting out and giving in

I don’t even know how to get out of town. 

That is a line I wrote in a journal found in an old backpack I discovered this weekend. The backpack is mine, but hadn”t been opened in a few years (yikes!). But the line? Who did I lift it from?

Maybe it was me. Might have been you. Might have been a friend who was lost one weekend in Pittsburgh – everywhere he turned, there was another river he had no way to cross. The who doesn’t linger as much as the how.  As in: how does it happen — one day we wake up and can’t remember the way out. Or we can’t remember the last time we went there.

Naturally of course and no doubt, comes the road block.

I wanted to back up and go around. The view along Fiddler’s Creek Road was outstanding and only an extra seventeen miles. But really, there was no danger in this washed-out road and really, Sherry, really. Must you always be so willing to give in to mild fear?

Getting there, for me, involves giving in to something bigger than myself. Something so much bigger that there is no way I can be prepared enough, be in control enough.  A favorite author, Pam Houston, talks about why she spent so many years in the wilderness (despite her own set of fears.) “I learned . . . my place in the universe, learned why I need the wilderness, not why “we” need it, but why I do. That I need the opportunity to give in to something bigger than myself, like falling into love, something bigger, even, than I can define.”

So, you find the way to get out of town. And when I say town, you know, right?, that it isn’t about geography. You find the way out, and you figure out that you cannot prepare for everything and that you cannot bring everything with you. Some things must get left behind.

Along the way comes the hunt, the fishing, the search. Pam Houston reminds us about Jacques Lacan who believes men desire the object of their desires but women more often desire the condition of desiring. That search, that hunt, that fishing! Pam Houston again: ” While a man tends to be linear about achieving a goal,




a woman can be circular and spatial. She can move in many directions at once, she can be many things at once, she can see an object from all sides, and, when it is required, she is able to wait.”




About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

11 responses to “on getting out and giving in

  1. I love this, the philosophical meandering, coupled with the pictures, the roadblocks, the text, is all delicious. Going back to your initial comment, I’ve also had the experience of reading something that I wrote some time in the past, but not being sure that the words are mine. That experience is quite disconcerting, particularly if its a good line!

    • redmitten

      the meanderings – touching upon but not dwelling on, can make for difficult reading so i’m glad to have your company on this trip, risa.

  2. I’ve noticed those differences too, the getting there approach or the just get there approach, subtle but profound difference between men and women…at least in the realm of long term relationships. I don’t thnk one is more advance then the other, just different, and when it works…a nice balance, when it doesn’t…I think there’s a constant off-kilter feeling.

    • redmitten

      mel- good to hear from you. i agree, when the zig and the zag match up, it works better in combination than if one had to choose one way or the other. sometimes i can get so circular that what helps me best is a linear-thinking person coming along and helping me regain momentum. (but yeah, sometimes it isn’t about momentum…but sometimes it is….)

  3. Wonderful journey of words and in mind (for me, over here), and I am glad you actually got out of town. My husband spent some time in the wilderness of Wyoming in this state of mind, and this lingers in him.

  4. Rose Hunter

    Mild fears are often the ones that mess me up the most. I think I can do something about them, and then I create problems….

    That’s not a fishing coat? (Is it?)

    I’m glad I got to fish with you after all, through this post. 🙂

    • redmitten

      rose- mild fears are the mess! and yes…the fishing coat is in one of these photos. it was shed coming down the hill. and i am glad you came fishing on this post with me 🙂

  5. Rose Hunter

    It’s on the hill? (It was shed!) Which one? 🙂

  6. John

    It is so about the geography. There are more geographies than we can count.

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