(circa August 2016)
Sometimes I wonder if people can see where I’ve been on my skin, in my eyes; if my travels leave an aura, an essence, a glow of elsewhere.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what will happen when I officially leave my house and go back to the USA in September. Farther down the line, I’m speculating what it will be like to arrive on the campus of my university in August 2017 after so much traveling.
Right now I’m sitting outside on my patio, looking at myself in a little cracked mirror I have (if you’ve ever lived with me, you know this is my habitual, somewhat narcissistic meditation). The sky is blue, a deep sapphire, above me. Half my face is lit by the sun, and it illuminates my hair into a halo.
I wonder what my few friends, my family, will see when I return, recently marked by another place. What “otherness” do they always see?
Do they feel the intense sunlight warming my features, sinking deep into my veins, my skin… the way the sun can only be in Limuru because of it’s altitude and latitude?
Do they see my cats, so stark white against the vivid green grass, watching me with their gem – like snake eyes? Do they hear strange birds that are so familiar to me, that I grew up hearing as a child romping through my backyard? Do they feel the spirit of each tree whispering in the wind while the moon hovers and ripples overhead?
Do they wake up to the sound of my dad shutting the front door to go jog, and do they run their fingers through my younger siblings’ blonde hair? Do they cook all day with my mom, chopping carrots and onions, peeling potatoes while we talk about anything and everything? Do they bask outside to drink hot green tea while my dogs snuffle around me?
Do they sleep the way I’ve slept when I’m away? Do they know how my body has continued to heal and rest since I’ve been gone?
I will miss my home a lot. Two weeks after getting back from the United States, I feel as if I’ve slipped into a dream again. However, I know that soon there will be a morning when I wake up and go to the airport and fly to somewhere else. And that’s okay, because the things that are meant to stay will never really leave, even if they hide for a while. Then I question if I’m just something temporary, a blossom of one day in a garden of centuries. What if I leave and nothing ever stays, and I stay with nothing?
Sometimes I too am overwhelmed by an essence of elsewhere, even while I’m in a place that I know as home.
I was walking on a short road in Brackenhurst the other day, one that I’ve walked thousands of times, and suddenly my world almost became still. It felt like the air turned into water, and I saw the land around me the way it was before – before this road, before me. I’ve never defined my home as anything other than “home” before, but then it was something else, part of a wilder terrain that is now greatly diminished. I felt dizzy. The cold, crisp air seemed to bite my skin with a power tripled many times, somehow also making my hair stand up and my arms erupt in goosebumps. I was displaced from reality, gasping for a few seconds. Then the moment was over, and I kept walking.
This has happened before, but never really on this level. Sometimes I hear a song, or see an old face, or touch a tree that feverishly reminds me of my childhood. It’s like magic. And one day, I’ll be an older version of myself, looking back like an invisible guardian over where I am now, with my cracked mirror in the sun, and I’ll think “Oh. Of course. I remember now.” And the cycle will go on.
I hope wherever my journey takes me, I will feel this”otherness,” this lostness of self. I hope that, for a while at least, I will carry an essence of elsewhere into the next adventure, wherever and whatever it may be.