I have a very good friend who has what he calls a "go bag," a large backpack filled with all the items he deems necessary should he ever want to pick up and just go. Granted, he's single and middle-aged, unencumbered by small children, a spouse, family that lives nearby -- and the expression is one part fantasy and three parts how to stay sane when you're approaching the age of fifty and perhaps a little closer than you might imagine toward being utterly bored at your work and desirous of something different. For all my talk of living in the moment, and being grateful for what I have, etc. etc., I, too, fantasize about living a different life, starting over, picking up and going. Naturally, I don't wish to abandon my children but there's a frisson to be had imagining the release of all one's cares and possessions, hitting the open road, waking up to a truly different day. As I drive around Los Angeles, a city that I definitely love, as I stop at the post office to mail the catalog return, as I turn up the radio to drown out Sophie's constant humming, as I turn off the radio to better hear where the siren is coming from, as I watch my boys tumble out of the car and into the parking lot and on to sports camp, as I pull up my driveway, get Sophie out, bend down and pick up the circulars that litter the path to the house, step over the errant cleats and into the house -- well -- I imagine what might be in my go bag beyond the basic living necessities.
I'd bring a copy of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, I think, and a copy of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, maybe The Collected Poetry of William Butler Yeats and something by William Carlos Williams -- Asphodel, that Greeny Flower -- but then there's Emily Dickinson and William Blake, Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje -- my go bag would be too heavy -- and anyway, where would I go?
Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each separate fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, via Gratefulness.org