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16 March, 2008

Punctuated Travelibrium

A sojourner is someone who stops for a night, and moves on.

I wish I'd though about that a little more before naming the blog, because my movement seems to be big jumps, followed by years of root growth. This works for any fan of "punctuated equilibrium," the theory that evolution moves in sudden spurts, followed by millenia of relative stasis.

So I met my wife in college in DC, and we stayed in that city for 7 years. I majored in disequilibrium and it took 6 to finish 4 years of college. We worked low-paying jobs in a crack-maddened city, taxed but not represented in Congress, unwilling to spend another years inside the beltway. The colonies ain't pretty if you're not one of the gentlemen running them, and the American people had inexplicably re-elected the demonstrably criminal enterprise known as the Reagan administration. When in the wake of a raft of Iran-Contra convictions Bush I came to power, we moved about as far as we could without a passport.

Not completely to escape, because there's no getting away from something as grand as a New World Order. We had a kind friend in Hawai`i who would let us stay for a while, my wife could definitely get a job teaching. I had a BA in anthropology, and it's as easy to work off-topic in Polynesia as anywhere else. Turned out that we both got jobs on the same day, less than a week before we would have had to turn around and go home.

What happened after that will appear in later posts. But we stayed not the one or two years planned, but 11. Managed to ease ourselves into some semblance of comfortable equilibrium, had a baby and friends and parks and gardens.

Then my dad got terminally ill, and we suddenly knew we had to move back home. He died in less than 2 years, and we tried to make a go of it in Virginia. Had another baby. Bought a house. Planted more gardens.

But we found ourselves having lived in Virginia for 7 years, increasingly poverty stricken for life there, much less attempting a move back to Hawai`i. For most of the period, I had been what amounted to a well-paid migrant worker: fieldwork in Hawai`i for a month or two at a time, sometimes 6 months. Too much separation.

And suddenly, a series of doors opened one after another, and now I sit in the South Puget Sound watershed, 3,000 miles from the Chesapeake. From thinking about moving to getting a job to being here it took about 3 months. I'm guessing I could continue this blog from this room for years to come.

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