Thursday, June 13, 2013

Nobody in Particular


Let this entry start with happiness. That’s the gift that descended while I waited to board the boat to Tallin, Estonia. Just anticipating the open sea ahead was enough to set the spirit soaring. Time to shed the cloak of being someone in particular and retreat into the anonymous traveler set loose in the world to simply partake, observe, enjoy— and then comment in my still handwritten journal and this screened public record. No classes to plan (well, actually yes— a full-day workshop tomorrow, but able to set that aside for the boat ride), no expectations to fulfill, no strings attached. Free. Yes, those strings are golden and connect me to my gods in an intricate and beautiful design— but still I need time for them to go slack. And so after a delicious Nepalese lunch with my dear friend and colleague Terhi, off I went on the boat.

Up to the open air deck, away from the screens and bad music, out with the smokers and Japanese tourists. An overcast day, jeans and vest weather, and the beckoning sea. Wind picking up, guys bringing beer to their table, one with a T-shirt that reads “I always come first.” (I’m thinking, “Not a good advertisement for the ladies.”) The phoners, the texters, the nappers, the sea-gazers, the magazine readers, all gathered on Deck 9.

My mind casts out a line into the sea of neurons and starts reeling in all the big boats I’ve boarded all these years. From Staten Island to Queens, from Barcelona to Formentera, from Italy to Greece, from England to France, from Wales to Ireland, from Athens to Santorini, from Helsinki to Tallin and beyond. Each one a marker in a time of my life that carries treasured memories and will never come again. From the little boy visiting the relatives with his parents to the college senior in his first European adventure to the young adult setting off on a year-trip around the world to the young father with his wife and two darling girls to the seasoned father with everyone grown to the astonished almost-62 year old who can call up each age with a mere memory and feels them all still vibrant and present inside.

So much time and energy keeping those golden threads taut and seeking to create the next design in the pattern. The constant e-mails, flight arrangements, workshop details, class plans, music practice, notes organization, reading, writing that go into making it possible for a few hours of joy in a workshop. Of course, it's a rare gift to get the chance to use everything I know, everything I have, everything I am in each workshop and edge one inch closer to that somebody in particular we’re each destined to be. But truth be told, there are moments in which I think I could happily toss it all overboard and just wander this world being nobody in particular, the guy over in the corner of Deck 9 scribbbling in his blue journal.

But of course, I won’t. Or if I did, I’d have to post it all on this blog.

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