In the hostel at Fort Mason, near my bedroom, there is a little room. A window facing the water. Sofa chair, Windsor chair, large bean bag chair. It’s raining outside, first time in months in San Francisco. I prop my feet on the warm radiator and peer out into the damp grey that is San Francisco Bay. Sight seeing boats, the odd yacht, a large Korean freighter passes slowly, having made itself know by several blasts of its deep booming horn. Just a few people, out running, walking dogs. And one writer, looking out the window, searching for words. For feelings, for happiness, for belonging. For meaning, for purpose, for reason.
I can’t believe my tour is over, already, and I’m no better equipped to face the challenges of my life than before. Mission accomplished? Hardly. Right back where I started from.
But is this true? Or am I just practicing again my habit of dragging myself down. Perhaps what is most true is that I’ve lost the false bravado, the arrogance, the pride. The hundreds and hundreds of miles, the exposure to distant lands and vast expanses of skies, to dozens of people, to empty aching loneliness, all this has stripped me bare, to my core. I am naked, shivering, alone. This is why I set out, what I was trying to get to. I want this. The bare body. The vast emptiness. The raw hunger.
“Why these mountains? Why this sky? This long road? This empty room?” – Lyrics from Gravity’s Angel by Laurie Anderson (1984)
Rest in peace, Lou Reed.