*a few of my travel journals*
As fingers stall in the shadows of my thoughts, I pluck slow minutes, in time with a bowl of grapes, wondering to where and when my words have wandered.
For the purpose of paying taxes, I was recently asked to create a calendar of my 2005 whereabouts. At first annoyed with this incomprehensible task, I quickly realized the ulterior motive of this disguised divine mission, when I found myself — three hours later — still curled up with my travel journals reading, with fascination, of a girl suspiciously unknown; “Who is she? Who speaks so easily? Who never needs to try, but finds adjectives rolling down mental slides with careless speed? Who is this girl, that cleans inspiration from under her fingernails with a flick of curiously calm confidence in causality?”
I hear it in my parents’ voices when they call. I hear them seeking too, in my own tone, for some lost song. No questions pertaining to the strings that might conveniently hold a daughter down to a continent much closer. No. Instead I hear the sigh of expected relief in the end of their exclamation marks when they ask, “and when will you be leaving!”
A bardo (Tibetan word meaning: liminal passage, intermediate state, the state of consciousness in the course of migration between death and rebirth), I again wander. Gone is my desire to spend five days a week dancing — as my heart strays to allow the distance that, at once, breaks the love affair of my immediate community and looks to the horizon of a new one brimming. At the supermarket, I hesitate. Coffee, olive oil, peanut butter; commitments to long-term condiments I haven’t the time to make. 28 days left. Tickets purchased, I have only to hold my breath. But so sad for my boss! My passion for work officially tapped, projects of which I am now guilty of emotional abandonment and neglect.
“I’m DONE!” I want to shout. “Done. Done. Done. Now let me leave.” But the details, like vines, they creep from the jungle of established expectation, cling on, and hold me down.
I am the girl that always disappears from the party without hugs, goodbyes or parting pleasantries. Where, when, how, with whom and why I went always on the list of the next morning’s mysteries. Strangers with whom I may have wandered home they often hypothesize; but little do they know that he who has caught my eye is but the dark handsome hand of a breeze, that beckons and whispers with a rustle through the trees; “Come. Come. There’s nothing left for you there. Your part in that party is done. But your calling over here has just begun…”
This dark, handsome, hand. It beckons me now. Distracts me. Dissuades me. Calls me. Encumbers me. Tells me that this party – of stationary friends, steady salsa circles, social commitments and solid workloads – is done. Waves me to the edge of the cliff. Where I stand now. Transfixed.
And I feel her. Reaching out to me. Tingling at the touch — where her fingertips meet mine. And I hear the words in the distance. Rolling in like waves. Yelling out fair warning of their impending crash against my cliff. I’ve turned my back on all behind. But my eyes have not yet adjusted to the darkness and I find myself — despite my determination — dizzy, deliriously, blind. Not here. Not there. Not present either. Standing. Questioning. Seeing. Seeking again my song through which those who know me hear my smile. I remind myself that the first step on instability is inevitably imbalanced. At once a subtle skill, a disciplined dance, and a clumsy climb, this is the one and only nature of bardo migration: intermediate, transitory, liminal, divine.