Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
We Are Made To Travel, To Seek | 3.17.24

We Are Made To Travel, To Seek | 3.17.24

Life of Suitcase and Wind - The Sunday Edition

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Lady G in Bibury, UK, searching for falling stars

What I planned on writing here, in this beautiful little space, and what I’m actually going to write are apparently two very different things. Something strange happened to me when I was looking over my notes for this week’s Signal Fire: The Sunday Edition, when I was browsing my hard drives for photographs to accompany the notes, when I started writing the haiku to complement it, and it happened so swiftly and so honestly, it took me by complete surprise.

The notes said only this, undoubtably written after that monster marathon stretch of travel that was mid-March of 2023 through literally October:

“Talk about travel, and how the older I get the more I want the stillness and simplicity of life. 15 years of living out of suitcases. Ready to track birds. Seasons. Etc.”

That’s what I was going to talk about today, this creeping feeling that I couldn’t quite shake about how desperately I wanted more stillness from this life, how I wanted to measure it with different metrics, the passing of seasons, the tracking of birds. The great etcetera that was nameless but carried some strange allure, the beauty of the unknown that just must be great, mustn’t it? I was going to write about how I’m ready for holidays spent at home, like this St. Patrick’s Day, how I’m tired of packing up the suitcase and going through the TSA line and boarding the plane, and then the next plane, and then the next, and then finding a rental car, and driving off into the absolute foreign and unexplored landscape that breathed right beyond the steering wheel, no matter which side of the car it happened to reside on.

Then, mid-way through scrolling through all the photographs I took over the course of the year we just passed through, I found the photo of Sarah above, standing outside the insanely old row houses in Bibury, deep in the Cotswolds, and I started crying. I kept looking at photos, found them from places all over England, all over Ireland, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Scotland, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, New Zealand, the deep South of America, the Pacific Northwest, California in all its frenzy, New York in its grit, and more small towns in more states in this chaotic country than I could ever begin to count. More tears came, more stories on their backs, rolling down my cheeks and across my lips, and all I felt was lucky, all I felt was so overwhelmingly blessed that I couldn’t breathe right, and then something else struck.

The something else was the deepest desire I can start to explain, this pang of aching truth that resonated out from the center of me, and it just kept whispering the same word over and over again, a mantra in the middle bits of who I am. It said, the soft susurration of a whisper: Go. Go. Go. Go. Go.

One day I’ll slow, I know this. One day I’ll truly grow weary of the going, but it’s not this day, and I don’t know which day it will be. I know now, I’ll be old, much older than the nearly 43 years I carry now, and even then I imagine that repetitive voice will still be calling out Go in the back rooms of my dimly lit house I call a brain. Go it will say, Go, there’s time for stillness, there’s time for the simplicity of life, but there’s always a time for the going of it all. There’s always time to leave.

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I thought I was ready to hit the brakes on this wandering life, to push pause on the peripatetic existence we’ve called a life over the last fifteen years, I thought I was ready to only work close to home, to settle into the groove of some safe situation. I thought I could figure out ways to get a ‘normal’ job, get the health benefits, stop trying so damn hard to convince people to financially support my writing when it’s my writing that truly sets my soul on fire, I thought I was ready to stop trying to photograph other people’s weddings and elopements, to stick around these parts and let my roots sink deeper. That’s what I was going to write about today, I had all the plans, all the notes from months ago. Then I saw her face, glowing like a light bulb in the dimness of an England Autumn, and like a lightning bolt slideshow of memory and moment, I saw her smiling like that all over this shining planet, and remembered every time we felt so alive, so lost, so connected to the deep and enduring heartbeat of life.

I saw her, and I realized, we’ll never stop exploring. We are made to seek.

We are the seekers, not the finders. We are the rambling sorts, the weary wanderers that pop off planes and into cars and off into it all. We go, and we go, and we go, and we never know where we’ll end up, but we’ll figure it out eventually. We are made to wake up in new beds with new roofs over these sleepy heads, to meet new souls in new places, to meet you, all of you who we still have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. We are made to spread this strange love we’ve created to any who wishes to see it, to test its veracity for themselves, hold it up like a test strip to the light and then place it under the microscopes of their disbelief. Wow, you will say when the light shines through the cells that make up our connection, it’s real, it’s real, it’s fucking full of stars.

I thought I was going to write an entirely different piece today, settled into my chair and thought the words I’d write would be melancholy ones, ones of a nostalgic back-glance to all we’ve done so far, and maybe even a bit soaked in gratitude for what we’ve gotten to see. It is this, certainly, as my trip down memory lane through all the photographs I’ve captured over 15 years filled me with the strangest blend of all those emotions, but this is not what I am writing today. This is not it at all.

I’m not ready to settle into simplicity and stillness, not yet. I’m not ready to pack away my suitcase and let it find the dust of my own crawlspace instead of some dirt road far away from the things of man. I’m not ready to quit, no, and I don’t know when I ever will be.

So for now, I guess it’s just balance that I’ve been missing, and that’s ok. I will say to the me who wrote the notes for this piece those many months ago, you aren’t right, but you aren’t wrong either. You’re a bit of both, and so perhaps I’ll give you that. A bit of both.

Years of the wander, years and years of it, years of a life lived out of a suitcase, years of wind. One day I will slow, one day I will sit beside Sarah in the quiet light of some late Summer evening and reach for her hand across the warm space between us, squeeze it, and remember. Remember everywhere we have been, everyone we have met, remember all the beauty we have beheld. One day, but not yet.

Not yet.

Years of the wander

life of suitcase and wind.

One day I will slow.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.