A Thursday Ramble

I usually write these blogs on Friday.

Write it, edit, send it out. It feels authentic that way, a true glimpse into how I’m feeling about van life that week.

But today is Thursday and that leaves me staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page. I’m planning ahead, setting myself up to take Friday off entirely. Well, not entirely. But 95% of the way.

Is this even interesting to anyone? (Besides my husband – I see you 😊) I don’t know. I try not to think about it, ruminate over whether I’m truly just shouting into the void. My mother always said I liked making extraneous noises. And I do, so even if I am, who cares?

It’s the consistency that matters. Showing up here, week after week, giving myself the space – or forcing myself to take the space up. Even when it feels cringy or silly – those feelings don’t mean I have to lean away.

The good weeks are always boring to write about. The bad weeks, the exceptional weeks – easy. Writing about elevated emotions is easier than stability. And in truth, this week has been neither bad nor exceptional. It’s been good, stable even. Bangor has a few public libraries and even more parks to choose from, several places marked on iOverlander that the town doesn’t mind vans spending the night in. So it’s been a week of working – not much exciting there.

There is excitement in my future plans – this weekend I’m going to Canada. To the Bay of Fundy, the tidal phenomenon that has fascinated me for years. I will see it at high tide and low tide. I will get up at sunrise to watch the sun break over the Atlantic and set an alarm for the wee hours of the morning to catch the meteor showers. I’m going whale watching and it turns out August is the peak month to see most whales.

But the week leading up to this excitement has been quiet, unassuming. Not easy, not simple – there are always bumps in the road (metaphorical and literal) that require navigating. The parking lot is paid instead of free, the trail is gated (expensively so), the water tank is running low. Some days they feel catastrophic and some days not so much.

I find myself talking to homeless people more.

Not often, but more frequently. I think the van makes me easier to approach. It is a nice van, one that someone clearly lives in by choice, not necessity, and yet there is still solidarity there. Between myself and other vanlifers, RV dwellers, but also the man in the parking lot who lives out of his minivan or his sedan. They are not always unhoused, but the places they hang out in and the state of the dress tell me they do not have a safe place to return to. People approach, they ask to pet the dog or to bum a light and I oblige whenever I can.

Some want what they want and what others want is conversation. To be heard. I offer what I can; a glass of water, a snack, a listening ear for at least a few minutes. I don’t want to be someone who makes lives harder.

I can be, of course, and sometimes I am. But I want to take more opportunities to not be. Someone who rolls down the window and gives the man begging on the corner a snack, not someone who refuses to acknowledge him.

I see a lot of suffering on the road. Homeless people sitting on sidewalks or steps to vacant businesses., Even in small towns with empty, rotting houses there are homeless people. Extended families stuffed together in tiny trailers; the yard littered with junk that may one day be useful. Dogs chained in tiny cages, entire towns hanging on by a thread.

There is a line in the poem At the River Clarion by Mary Oliver “I do the little each person can do, it isn’t much.” I think of it often.

I think of many lines from that poem often. It is one of my favorites.

I usually try to have some cohesive message in a piece like this, but today it is mostly rambling. Offloading some of the thoughts from the racetrack of my mind.

I hope you have a good day. I hope you make someone’s day better.  

Published by Jessica Reilly, Writer

Writer, cannabis aficionado, and poetry lover

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