In every imagination, a war is fought between dwelling and drifting. The comfort and stability of rootedness pulls strong against wayfarer fantasies. We love the nomad inside us and we feed him with the unknown future. Perhaps it is in our blood: passed down from forebears displaced by war and language and religion and hunger. It is in our ancestors shoulders that we ride when we roam.

The journey is solitary and yet we commune across history. There are physical frontiers: the landscape left by elemental wars. Migrant glaciers. Marauding winds. Wrathful storms. Fire and flood and freeze. There are emotional frontiers, too: a lonely heart, a restless mind. There is family.



The prevailing north wind orients my way. I name the trees: aspen, apple, basswod, birch. The alphabet through to willow. My heart knocks and spins, a whirling dervish, round my rib cage. But the land is steady and I feel brave. on the breeze are common smells of death and life: leaves, grass, sweat, smoke, burning. I don't think about if things are beautiful or not, but just that they are. Sand is carved by wind and sparrow is killed by fox. Seeds surf air currents - pulled under, gasping for breath, they land. Worms labour, decomposing what was once alive into what will one day again be. I take note of mosses and mushrooms. I watch the light perform.

In the firelight I see faces; the mirage of a camp. I recognize pioneers. Refugees with tired hands and heavy packs. In Greek myths the winds are tied in a leather knapsack and traded by the gods like money.

Armed with our backpacks of wind, we tumble forward. The mouth at the top of spine inhales. The torso inflates: A cavity created. Cells are saturated: breath integrated. Heels, hamstrings, hands, head. Crown to tail.



They form floating islands. One seedling sets sail, casts off, and years later his family has grown large enough to be called land. Their interwoven roots function as entire miniature ecosystems, housing oysters and starfish. They live improbable lives in the soilless, saline sea. They rock day in and day out and do not get seasick.

Everything moves: Comets orbit. Oceans swell. Songbirds migrate. In nursery rhymes the sky can fall. And we humans can lose things.

And the people we love. And we humans leave home. And spend the rest of our lives trying to return.