THE PISGAH FOREST, NC—Wake, Work, Drive, Work, Chill, Sleep. Repeat.
I obviously haven’t gotten the hang of this lifestyle yet, but a couple key stressors to this new-found freedom are easing—the answers to the questions “Where will I sleep?” and “Where will I go next?”
The sleep I’ve already talked about (the mental “Red Line” has really helped) but the question, “Where will I go next?” is a surprisingly persistent one.
“What’s the plan?” the mind shouts—which is a perfect example of just how much the brain wants to control things. It wants to control things even when there’s no need for it.
A lot of people believe that when you wake up, when you step through the gateless gate, your brain is completely rewired and you get a new mental operating system. This isn’t the case. You simply realize (Realization) that “you” along with most of your world, is made up almost completely of thoughts.
The thoughts continue, but they become softer and more distant (they are your mind’s thoughts, not your thoughts) and you don’t take them so seriously. But Conditioning is a persistent bastard and the mind is still going to follow its old habits and try to control everything.
As I finished up work for the day—writing code in a little bookstore cafe in Waynesville, NC—I asked myself, “Where will I go next?” and my mind started in with the should I stay here another day, should I head to Asheville, or maybe explore the Blue Ridge Parkway some more or make a dash for Boone or maybe even Vermont and on and on and on, and while my damn mind was asking all these questions my eyes fell on the map of the Waynesville area and I saw a lake—Lake Logan—that appeared to be in the national forest, so I said screw it and went there.
Like a lot of land on the eastern seaboard, while the maps make it look like there’s a lot of virgin forest out here, the reality is that it’s infested with people. While Lake Logan looked (according to Google Maps and Rand McNally) like it was in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest, it was surrounded with “No Trespassing” signs put up by, of all things, a church organization. “Go away, we’re the good and loving and kind people of God and we don’t want your type around here (and don’t even think about parking next to our lake).”
Luckily though, a little past the lake I spied a “National Forest” sign and a little past that I found a forest road and a little down that a pleasant (even unoccupied!) camping spot right next to a mountain stream.
I pulled in and set up my chair and sat for a few hours doing absolutely nothing.
As I write this, though people drive by about every thirty minutes, I still don’t have any neighbors—I’ve got the place all to myself with just falling leaves and a babbling brook to keep me company.
Sadly, there’s no Internet signal here either, so—because my current work load is high—I’ll probably be here for just the night. Still, it’s a nice change. It’s been almost five months since I’ve had any solitude like this.
And that’s about four too many.
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