The Forest Dark

I confess I spend quite a lot of time on the internet, simply because my illness limits my activity and I can’t get out much. I have multiple twitter accounts, and (don’t tell facebook) multiple facebook accounts. You would hardly believe how much I dislike facebook, given that fact, but I really do. There is almost no control over what you see in your timeline and it’s not fun anymore. None of it seems all that fun anymore.

The fact that I have so few irl friends here has meant that shutting myself off from social media recently has left me really isolated, and I’m probably not doing myself much good.

But without a job to go to, and without young children to meet at the school gate, it seems nigh on impossible to make real-life friends at my age. We have been down here 5 years now, and I have one friend. One. And it has not been for lack of trying, believe me.

If it were up to me, I would move home in a flash. But it’s not even an option. I am stuck in this beautiful, lonely place.

“Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
And the straightforward path had been lost in strife.” — Dante

It’s one of my favourite quotes, one that I have felt affinity with for many years. (Although I still haven’t got round to reading the book. It’s on my list.)

But perhaps I really do have a tendency to ‘glass half empty’, because I remember feeling like this before all the awful things happened to us, back when we were living in our own house, in the city.

And I remember feeling that I was in a kind of ‘wilderness’ even when we lived there, surrounded by people.

Janeway-and-Chakotay-Shoulder-Massage

While I have been away from facebook and twitter, I have been indulging in a bit of Star Trek fan fiction fantasy (a bit of writing and role play). If you’re familiar with Star Trek Voyager, the scenario is that – in the episode Resolutions – Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay, infected with a parasite that only allowed them to live on the planet where they became infected, have to be abandoned there alone while the crew go on without them.

In the series, a cure was found and they were rescued and resumed their journey home to Earth. But the fantasy is that the crew never return for them and so they live there on New Earth together, fall in love and have a family (in fact this is what the writer of the episode, Jeri Taylor, originally envisaged). Of course, I am Janeway and husband is Chakotay in my fantasy. All that’s missing is a tattoo.

I like the scenario because, quite apart from the romance, I love the idea of being stranded alone, having to pioneer a homestead, grow our own food, make our own clothes, tame animals and raise livestock, and being completely free.

So why do I hate it here so much in real life? I’ve had 5 years to think about it. The reality is that we don’t have any land, we don’t have a homestead, we can’t even keep chickens here. The country is no better than the city if you have no money. In fact, I think it might be considerably worse in some ways.

And I am beginning to think that I don’t actually like people very much (although it’s probably just sour grapes. I’m pretty likeable, what’s their problem?! Nobody smiles, nobody talks to you – it really is the most unfriendly and unwelcoming place I have ever lived in, and the beauty doesn’t make up for that). There are far too many people around here to allow my fantasy of being alone, pioneering on the planet.

So, a way forward? I can’t see us ever being completely happy here, even if I could make friends. I think that the only way to get happy is to get going and move away. I just wonder how far we’d have to move to get the kind of place we want and need at a price we can afford.

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