Heart broken from a city and hating the things I've done to people. Confused and lost with little to hope for, I decided I needed to get out of Toronto and drive. To discover some truth that I've never known and maybe live the cliche of finding myself. Well I never did find myself but I saw things I still wrestle with and maybe that's why I've put off for over three years to finally share those feelings, emotions and images.
High hopes and excitement started me off. A weight was lifted and I felt limitless in my exploration of America’s West. Images flashed in my memory of the bright and colourful pages in National Geographic’s vivid magazines. Travel advertisements of green mountains and crystal lakes with wide smiles of those that go there. “The West” as how marketing professionals would have it- glossy and picturesque. How could I not only see beauty on this trip?
The American West seemed as different and as far as I could go to escape. To drive freely and with excitement of being detached from what I was leaving behind. Along the trip though I felt loneliness and fear. I was geographically detached but memories and regrets plagued my mind. As I drove with these thoughts lingering I saw abandoned towns with gutted houses. No one was to be seen, everything was empty. I would stand still to just listen yet everywhere was eerily void of sound. The wind picked up and it quietly howled as it decayed the wood and brick of the houses and businesses. Close by were beautiful vistas and towering rock structures. The wind also was slowly shaping these ancient monuments. This sort of duality confused me: how in the presence of such undeniable beauty be so close to a feeling of loss and emptiness. Pass lives of families with hopes and dreams seemed to be all but forgotten, left in ruins of their old crumbling homes. Ghosts of the past drifting away as time moved on. The air was hot and dry but the chill on the back of my neck was all that I could feel.
These nagging thoughts never left me. They went with me to the ocean coast. I couldn't shake or reconcile the state of things. As I stared out the length of the beaches I shockingly saw distant shapes of people in the distance. Their faces and expressions were hidden from me though. The smog and mist from the sea blocked out any distinctive human expression. They were just human figures, blurred into the environment. Form-less beings, ghosts.