Published: September 17th 2012September 17th 2012
No, I'm not traveling anymore. In fact, it's been one full month since I hopped off the plane and into Ryan's waiting arms. (Actually, he was sitting and reading a book about cholesterol... but he did launch out of his seat when he finally saw me and so concessions must be made.) The other night though, Aunt Sonia asked what had happened to the blog? I had written in Bariloche and then everything after (a full three weeks) was lost to the annals of weary traveling?
Not so. But yes, I got tired of writing. I was tired of doing most everything associated with the trip. Riding on buses for hours (alone), going from hostel to hostel and eating dry cookies for breakfast (alone), spying beautiful vistas (alone). But here's the thing: traveling alone does force you into automatic personal growth mode. When people asked about the trip I didn't have words for the things that happened and so I replied with some kind of canned response that would put them at ease and let them know that "yes, I prefer it here." And that's the truth.
But. In my inbox this morning was the following poem, and it is also the truth. It gives me words in black and white for what happened, and so I include it here. In conclusion.
Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces
of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language
to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies
and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear
your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they — like you — must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.
~ Geneen Marie Haugen