The first of September was spent in an aluminum capsule, fleeting towards the upper atmosphere. The components of the landscape blurred, as the runway vanished, and the rush, the resistance of air, compressed me into the shoulders of my seat, like a stringent shove. In the trembling turbulence, of ascent, my insides churned, sloshed, like pancake batter in a mixing bowl. Hands crossed, eyes closed, I eased myself into a conception of being nestled in a cocoon of egg whites and cream-colored fleece, softening my conscience into a slumberous shape, as we slipped into a film of clouds.
Sixty days since, and I am homeward bound, taking back memories of candlelight, conversation, cafes, cigarettes, and card games. Of aeroplanes, and trains, bunk beds and baked bread, of foreign accents and foreign scents, backpacks and borrowed blankets, the exchanges of culture, and the igniting of consciousness.
In Lisboa, amongst architecture erected in old world grandeur, and glory; embellished with Easter holiday hues, pinks, yellows, baby blues, powder purples, and painted tiles. In Morocco, lying, a slip on the bed sheet, in the ambiance of ancient Arabic prayers, dripped from devoted lips, echoing into the Egyptian blue medina that sits snug, in the lap of the enveloping mountains. In Barcelona, strolling down seemingly immortal sidewalks, shaking strands of hair from my peepers, to study another Antoni Gaudi structure - smile slipping crosswise - the man whose idiosyncratic spirit left the city with such a incessant whimsy. And everywhere, languages, the colors of Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and French, taking flight from the nest of my throat, in timid whispers, as I try to harmonize, and fit my tongue around the foreign sounds.
On an evening, lapsing into night, over drinks that cost entirely too much, a befriended traveler questioned what impulse had brought me there, thousands of miles, far removed, from all that I knew. Because I am ill-fitted at being responsible, was my reply, and he said, quite quickly, and convinced, that, no, we are the responsible ones. I hesitantly turned this hypothesis over in my head, swallowing the notion, its simmering taste scalding and tearing at all the preconceived impressions I had of responsibility. He was right. We were living, not plainly existing, but living, in a way that makes all the air whistle away from your lungs, and your heart inflate from the ecstasy of the risk, of the days finally fitting into your dreams, of being alive.
We are responsible for ourselves, for our hearts, our happiness; what we leave to others, where, and when we go from here. Who can live for you, instead of you? There isn't a soul, who can. The secret is that we are the keepers of our own reality, to do with it, to make of it, what we wish.
I am drunk on dreams, doubtless, with no sense to sober up. Maps lay wrinkled from the forging of future vagabond ventures. Graph papers lay scattered, bearing inked blueprints for my treehouse, which I'll dwell in. Journals lay stained by sprawling scribbles and notes, for the tentative book, I'm crafting. Then there's the illimitable list of life aspirations: live in a treehouse, a tipi, a nomadic camp in the desert, and perhaps a gypsy caravan; take a cross-country road trip; be well versed in the romance languages; learn how to whistle, wink, and blow bubbles with chewing gum; attend a Kings of Leon concert, maybe a few; go skydiving; adopt many cats, and name them after famous surf locations, like Waimea, Teahupoo, and Bonsai, just because. And on, and on...
Who knows if all will be fulfilled, but that scarcely matters. You see, it is not so much where the road, in life, will take us, but that we set out, down the road.
Title Quote: James F. Bymes
Photo Credits: David Shama at www.davidshama.com.