haunting home

(the sunrise, this morning, in oregon)


(A letter to two former neighbors, dear friends, and fellow divemasters, who continue to live in Taganga, in the hotel of the house where I was living in Colombia.)

Hey boys!

Haven’t forgot you at all. In fact, I gather lots of fine stares every time I pull out my rabbit book and pet the stuffed bunny face (you guys gave me) pasted onto the cover. I think it (the bunny) is lonely for the old times, when it was attached to a birthday bag and used to distribute gifts of tacky taste. But it’s found a happy home now with the other rabbits of “Watership Down”, who are all quite accustomed to a life of pilgrimage and adaptation, and I think it’ll be very content with its new burrow on the bookshelf of my 6-year old niece.

As for me and being far away from our own old shared burrow, I don’t “long” for South America, so much as I simply hold love for it. After all, there’s no need for me to dwell in a past when my present and future have managed to match in adventure and excitement (which I consider the ultimate “trick” to living in the present moment). And although my arrival back in the States was safe and without major complications, it hasn’t been without slight and expected turbulence…

On my first connection, the airline stewardess tried to put no less than six “disposable” cups on my tray table; 1 can of apple juice “double-cupped” with a plastic cup, with 1 more plastic cup full of ice, and then 1 styrofoam cup of tea, double-cupped again inside another plastic cup with 1 more empty cup for water. I handed them all (but one) back. And an hour later, when I denied her offer of three more plastic cups and asked instead for my requested refill in the exact same cup that I used the first time around, she looked at me like I was crazy.

Am I?

This I am beginning to wonder.

And, accustomed to a life of tuning IN to everything (because it’s either silent, new, or not quite understood) I suddenly feel like some one has reached over and swung the life volume knob round 360 degrees . During my layover in Miami, much like a rabbit, I scurried around the airport, hiding from the obvious and bombarding clarity of English cell phone conversations, overhead speakers and televisions. Having no tent to retreat into (as I did during my last lay-over in the Miami airport), I finally found a sunny corner in a hallway that was in the quieter process of remodel – and tuned myself out. You can probably imagine my relief, when I finally took cover in the cozy, quiet and known surroundings of my parent’s home in the hills of Portland, Oregon.

But yesterday, at the movie rental store (while coincidentally renting, “Supersize Me”), I picked up a washer-machine sized “pre-packaged, ready-to-serve” bucket of microwave popcorn (with the popcorn, butter, salt and seasonings pre-mixed in a plastic bag at the bottom of the well) and laughed out loud. I held it up (it took two hands) and showed it to my mom, “God I wish I could show this to my Colombian host mother, Diana! Wouldn’t she have a laugh at this!” And my mom cocked her head and me and asked, “Why? What’s funny about that?” And then my 2-year-former self cocked her head inside of me and said, “Yeah. Why? What’s so funny about this?”

Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s more disturbing or relieving when you come to those moments in your life where you suddenly realize, with inner-self-cocking clarity, just how much you’ve changed over a recent life course. Seems “home” — along with hugs, flannel sheets, organic tofu and 6-year old nieces — is also great for setting that life learning limbo bar.

And I can’t help but notice that my bags are still unpacked and wonder if that might be reflective of some subconscious reluctance to settle in. (Although I think I’ll give myself a break on this one in consideration of the fact that as soon as they are emptied, they will again be repacked). I feel a bit transparent; haunting my old house, dropping in and out of new and old versions of “me,” and letting my mind wander and wonder how a 10-hour flight can really define the difference between “here” and “there.” I probably sound perplexed, but truth is, I’m quite comfortable on this couch of confusion. The world is definitely spinning around me right now, but is there any better way to seek what’s straight, solid and still?

Enough of my ramble. It’s time for me to get going. The sun is about to rise, and honestly, the show here is just as impressive over the mountains and tall pines of Oregon as it is over the hills and smooth beach of Taganga. Thank god the Divine is not prejudiced or biased with where she exhibits her daily displays of brilliancy.

Please give Freddy, Diana and Mayra my hugs and love. Remind Freddy to figure out what (American) size he wears in Chacos so that I can bring him a pair the next time I come to Colombia. Let Diana know that I’m still crying in the isles with laughter at her comic levels of shock over the American pre-packaged and processed food fetish. And tell Mayra that I demonstrated her reggaeton dance routine to my niece, who in turn, tipped over in her own fit of laughter at me.

sending more warmth to your tropics,


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