Introduction to Snakeskin Journey, March 2008
My sister and I once ran away to the garage–more of a protest of inhumane conditions (my parents were not impressed) than a bona fide break-out.
We’ve all run away before. And for all the times we did run, there are many more when we’d wished to flee. We run (or would like to) from loss of a loved one, uncomfortable conversations, awkward encounters, difficult family relationships, lousy employment situations, and seemingly impossible tasks.
A few years ago I ran from all of those things and more. The escape attempt was clouded, for I knew that as much as I was running away, it could just as easily have been argued that I was running to. I was confused about where I was going but I was surely in search of something gone missing: myself.
To assuage my concerned family and friends, (How can you leave on a long trip by yourself? Your car might break down in the middle of nowhere! We will worry about you? Won’t you be lonely? Are you going to carry a gun?) I created a blog and christened it my Snakeskin Journey. The odd name came from a desire to “shed skins” and try to come to a better understanding of my place in the larger scheme of things.
Could I strip away the dead skin and perhaps begin to reveal the person remaining after these long years in survival mode? I clearly remember a point in time when I understood that most of my friends still saw me as the same person I was before my husband died. That woman no longer existed and I was running to find who she had become.
My car was packed and I was ready to hit the road. I had a box of books, a box of shoes (who knew where my feel would take me?), camping gear, even though the beginning of March was a dubious time for camping, my laptops (one for work, one for photography and writing), and of course my camera. I wandered for awhile and headed home, somewhat refreshed and with a few skins littering the path I’d taken.
In the end, the actual car trip solved no great mysteries, offered up no essential truths, and settled no pressing concerns or issues. But it provided a beginning, and really that is just what a journey needs.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, then there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J. R. R. Tolkien