Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Almost Full

In Travel on September 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I graduated from university in 2008, in a blustery winter.  I steeled my head against the snow and pushed to the place where they would call me done.  And just begun.  The stadium with black robes and red string, where the man onstage speeched.  He promised we had no idea what lay in store.

We wriggled up stairs like salmon upstream.  Our tassels were turned. We were step after step, a sea.

That night I was in the basement.  My girlfriends were upstairs, laughing on my bed.  We’d cawed and strummed and made great play.  It was time for ice cream.  In front of the freezer I burst into tears.

What are we to do?  I have asked this question many times, with many people: my friends, twenty-something, eighty-something, thirty-something, teen-something, parent-something and utterly confused.  Thrown out of pattern that was decades in the making: sharpened pencils and labeled crayons, achy note-taking hands.  Backpacks with one strap near snapping, gym lockers, alarm clocks, exams.

What are we to do when we train for what we do not know is a brick wall looming?  A death that we blossom into and with shutters drawn must outgrow?  How do we become the next us?  How do we say goodbye?

I decided to fit my footsteps in these questions with travel.  Shortly before graduation I’d sat in my advisor’s office.  A picture of her daughter decorated the table.  My advisor reminisced about how her daughter had gone straight to med school from undergrad.  Both wished she’d taken time to see the world.

As a writer or a person who writes (it is a funny cross into moniker) I believed it would be of essence to spend time doing what I would do at home, abroad.  I might as well work, volunteer, love, and live over there, I thought.  One never knows what to expect, how many different strains of existence one might catch when the weight of one’s world is simply a bag on a back. So I went to Ireland and Ecuador and Austin and New Orleans and Columbia and Poland and Paris and Seattle and London and California and New York.

In between many of these places I stopped home and worked and planned the next move. Now I am in Mali, in Africa.  The last leg.  It was an unexpected one, born from Birthright.  A free trip for American Jews under 26.  It got me halfway around the world and now I’m making my way home, slowly.

My cup is almost full.  It won’t hold much more.  Whatever else will come – and it may be the most beautiful of sunsets or waving deserts or delicious, if parasitic food – well it will spill off.  I can’t hold anymore right now.  I want to go and create a home and gather love to my side.  I want to hold it there, cradle it at night, feed it, and dance with it.  I want to take what I’ve learned, lonely walking blue nights, Italian dinners wishing I was with the boy I loved, human spit, woven tapestry, photo cards, and opened beds, I want to take this and create the worth.  It has it.  It’s there.  I want to share.