Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything Old Is New Again

Wednesday, November 19 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Everything old is new again, as the Peter Allen lyric suggests. Here I am, back in Albuquerque, my unexpectedly brief journeying complete. And I move into a new rental here on Monday.

When I left town on September 30, I didn't know if I'd ever be back. All I knew was the call to the open road, a call I (once again) had no choice but to obey.

Through 40 days of driving, I traveled south and east into Texas, then back north into Louisiana, crossing it and the Mississippi before veering up through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. After a pit stop in Albuquerque, I continued west into Arizona, then south toward San Diego and north to Sacramento.

That rainy night in Sacramento, dining with a minister friend and her husband (who, themselves, are planning a move to Albuquerque), I knew that Albuquerque was calling me home.

As if to emphasize the point -- and to remind me that I wasn't going back, I was moving forward -- I woke up two mornings later with "everything old is new again" playing in my head. (And in case I missed the message, the song reprised itself for me the following morning.)

I don't like the expression "coming full circle" because it suggests that we're returning to a place we've already been, having learned nothing and grown not at all. My preferred image is that of a spiral, where we return to a place along the same axis, but at a higher level of consciousness and understanding.

As I wrote in The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, "Each cycle’s completion returns you not to where you began but to a higher level of awareness, mastery, openness and trust." I wrote that about the creative process, but isn't life the ultimate creative process?

So here I am, ready to embark on my own version of the Peter Allen song. Everything old is new again.

For a start, I'm committed to returning to The StarQuest, the first of two projected sequels to my novel, The MoonQuest.

The StarQuest has been in my life for more than a decade, having begun to work its way out of me before The MoonQuest was finished (even if, at the time, I thought it was finished). I've worked on it in fits and starts since then and have yet to complete a first draft.

This week, I began reading through its 200-odd manuscript pages. The book is far from complete. But it is ready to be birthed, and I'm ready to be its midwife. Everything old is new again.

Another renewal is my relationship with the Sandia Mountains. This magical range, which marks the eastern boundary of Albuquerque, is a large part of what keeps calling me back to this place.

Like my previous home here, my new condo is in the Sandia foothills. As wonderful as my last location was (half a mile from a trailhead), the new one's is even better: nothing across from it but open land and mountain trails. Everything old is new again.

This past Sunday while at church, the passenger-side rear-view mirror assembly vanished from my car. I don't know whether it was an accident, vandalism or theft, but a way of looking back -- into the past -- was taken from me. A new mirror was installed yesterday. Everything old is new again.

As I was wondering this afternoon, in the midst of writing this piece, how I would be supported in this re-newed Albuquerque life, I received a phone call from a local magazine that is seeking an editor, its content similar to one I worked on in Toronto more than 15 years ago.

I don't know whether I'll get the job -- or will even want it if it's offered -- but it, too, suggests that everything old is new again.

The turn of the spiral is complete, and here I stand at the threshold of a new life that resembles the old one in surface details only. Where do I go from here? Across the threshold and into a beginning still veiled but replete with the promise that all new beginnings offer.

Once again, from The Voice of the Muse: "From silence to silence, word to word, trust to trust -- the spiral is an infinite one, carrying you from one beginning to the next and one ending to the next on a journey with no beginning or ending."

The spiral is an infinite one... How perfect that through my 40 days of travel I, somehow, unconsciously, drove an infinity symbol through those 10 states, with Albuquerque as its center point.

Photos (c) 2008 by Mark David Gerson: #1 Sandia foothills, Albuquerque, NM; #2 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK; #3 Stone cairn, Meditation Mount, Ojai, CA; #4 Sandia foothills, Albuquerque, NM; #5 Winterville Mounds, near Greenville, MS.

More photos from the journey at "Forty Days on the Road."


Mr. E said...

Hi Mark David,

I resonate with your resistance to going back to where one WAS. I've never been good at that. Cannot reuse a diet that worked a decade ago, or return to a church I felt drummed out of.

Old clothes are a different matter. I've been knocking around in a pair of jeans I packed up for a yard sale so long ago I don't remember ever wearing them. They have a large hole in the left knee--getting larger by the day. It's been fun, because they were new to me again. And fitting the new me which needed to find smaller clothes.

Do you think that's the crux of what is old is new again? It supports us. It adds rather than subtracts. It fills a new need rather than merely replaying an old memory.

Glad to know you're settling in the Southwest, at least, though we'll miss you in Sedona.

You can read my blog at

JoJo said...

I literally cannot type the term "Going BACK" so I choose an action that connotes "new eyes." Seeing a place that is familiar with new eyes is a marvelous experience to build upon! ~ Joie ~

Mark David Gerson said...

Lin: Sedona never lets me stay away too long. I'm sure I'll be seeing it, and you, again reasonably soon!

Joie: I love "re-turn"; because it suggest a turn not an old one!

Mark David Gerson said...

Lin: As soon as I hit the "send" button, I remembered that Rule #2 of my 10 Rules for Living (the first being that there are no rules) is that what works today may not work tomorrow -- very much in alignment with what you wrote.