For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like an alien in a place I don’t belong. It’s like somehow I ended up here in this place and time, but really I was never supposed to be here. It’s silly, because where else would I be if not here? It must be that at a young age, I decided that it really was a mistake for me to be here and I should just somehow leave and go somewhere else.
My mother once told me I used to take off on my brother’s tricycle and never look back. The trike was too big for me and I could barely reach the pedals, but away I went whenever the opportunity presented itself. She would then have to hunt me down, pull me off the trike, and drag the trike home with one hand while trying to carry me kicking and screaming all the way. She said I was the most willful and determined of all her children – determined to have things the way I wanted them. I still like having my own way.
When I was very young, I remember wandering off into a large field of tall grass and wildflowers on a hot sunny day. I walked until no buildings or telephone poles were in sight, nothing but wide open blue sky, butterflies, and lots of crickets and grasshoppers around me. I sat down and was pleased with the feel of the cool damp ground under my legs, the quiet air, and the sweet smell of grass and wet dirt. I wanted to live in that spot forever, but then my mother started calling for me far in the distance. Not wanting to be found, I remained silent and sat very still hoping she would give up and leave me there. Eventually others were calling for me, and I could hear people talking and walking through the grass as they looked for me. A strange man found me - the gig was up - so I followed him back to the real world, the edge of the field where my mother waited angrily. I was so disappointed! Paradise lost.
Time and again, I left home only to return because logistically it was too difficult and complicated to live without shelter, money, and adults to keep things in order. Perhaps I was just too spoiled to be comfortable enough living on the fly by myself. And now here I am more than a half century old, with a secure-enough job, my own home, and a family. I have a huge footprint on this planet. I have no idea why I’m still here in this place and time, but really, it doesn’t matter. Here I am.
If I’d been born a tree, I’d be 30 feet tall with roots half-way to China by now. Do trees ever feel they don’t belong where they are, or does their size and roots make them feel like part of the world wherever they are? I wonder if people who have lots of things or lots of people in their families feel like they belong in this world more so than people who have very little material wealth, or few people in their lives?