Meditations on Restlessness
Heather Eaton

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Art By: Jeff Westover
Art By: Jeff Westover

From the window of my garret, I see the dreary, gray afternoon. The usual afternoon clouds have gathered in the West. I like it. I always like it. It is ominous and old. The wind and dark sky remind me of cold winter days when I spent the morning and afternoon snuggled in front of the fire. Mac Dog would snore close by and the wind would whistle through the chimney and the poorly-sealed doors.

Here it is September in not-so-sunny Florida and the thermometer reads 90 degrees. The heat is depressing, unchanging. At times like this, I always feel as if I could pack up and run away to the Northeast or across the ocean. I am just so restless.

Nothing is really wrong with me. I am just unsure, restless, and isolated. I do not want to change my isolation, though. I like the private world I have created. I suppose the problem lies in stepping outside of that world. Work, schedules, school--all are operating according to the mass plan of social order. I, however, do not operate like a cog in a steely machine. I sometimes wish I could just float out in the world, walk on the grass, bicycle on the beach, or swim in the river. Just be. Not be a part of, but be one with the life I see outside my window.

How trite and transcendental. Romantic and idealist notions of a 20-something generation X-er. Mother tells me it is growing pains. Sister tells me it is an unhealthy love relationship. Herman Hesse tells me it is ego. I don't care what it is, I just have a selfish desire to be fixed. I don't want to be restless. I am still waiting for divine grace or cosmic order to zap away my fatigue.

I feel old somehow at 27. My old soul is restless in the 20th century. So much noise and interference a body and spirit can hardly hear. Too crowded to move around or expand. Limitations I have placed on myself tie me to one place, one name, one life. Freedom is always just around the corner, awaiting the completion of a degree or the appointment to a position or the closure of a debt. External limitations, true, yet why does my very soul ache with indecision and inactivity?

I have a green cutting growing in a glass bottle. The roots grow up toward the light and the air but they cannot spread out and stretch. No soft earth covers their head. Only translucent water. The water provides all of the nutrients the plant will need. It is basic, plain, void of color. Three molecules unite to form an odorless, tasteless liquid that mocks my shallow, complicated life. No color, no taste, no smell to a neatly ordered, civilized life.

This life is not a bad one. It could be and has been worse. I cherish the fact I am living, breathing, seeing, walking. I am okay. Day-to-day is just fine. Routine: coffee, shower, dress, drive, write, drive, teach, drive, home, read, eat (sometimes), talk, sleep. What else do I expect? I am not Cinderella. No castles or exotic places await my presence to light them.

Spoiled, Mother says.

True, but I don't want to be spoiled. What do I want? I suppose that is the true problem. Chronic dissatisfaction and restlessness. We always want what we do not have. We believe that external things, people, and places will make us whole.

Inside my heart and my garret, I guess I have everything I need. The trick is finding it.

Heather Eaton is a restless freelance writer and editor in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has published articles on literature, photography, spirituality, and business management. She is currently working on a series of articles exploring eco-tourism in Central Florida.

E-mail Heather at

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