Posts tagged: life
The way that I travel for work is not the same as the way other people travel for work. I add on days, I stay with friends, I drink too much coffee (ok, a lot of people probably do that), I go for walks, I sometimes have one more whiskey, I laugh, I cry, I eat at local dive joints, I give late notice, I don’t have a good plan, I rendezvous, I sleep but not much, I read, I race, and then I leave. Always the leaving.
But here is the best part about traveling for work in the way that I do…the people. Once in the past I stood in the same place that Thomas Merton had his famous epiphany on the streets of Louisville. I didn’t have an epiphany in that moment but perhaps it was one of significance along the long, slow path that finds me here today. Sitting in a Chicago apartment, one friend at work and another upstairs asleep, the rush of the day echoing through the windows behind me. Cars, garbage trucks, taxis, bicycles, walkers, all people going somewhere to see someone about something, except for those who aren’t and who are instead waiting for someone to come see them. Row homes tucked between auto body shops and 24 hour Mexican taco houses. It is these people that I watch, I study, I observe to learn the city. Who are the people that churn to make these places what they are? They are tall ones and short ones and rich ones and poor ones and lonely ones and lovely ones and frightened ones and bold ones. And sometimes I meet them and we speak and then we leave. And sometimes there are other travelers and again we speak and then we leave. But sometimes the words do not pour from the mouth but shine through the eyes. Sometimes there are tears and other times there are sparks, the kind seemingly made of stars. Sometimes followed by emails and texts, more often there are hurried and then unfulfilled assurances to do so, not out of malice but instead the shifting sands of circumstance. And when I leave I miss them, I miss the cities, I miss the rural towns and the in betweens, I miss the Chicago pizza and the Austin street food and the San Francisco piers and the Nashville honky-tonks and the Kansas City coffee and the Montana mountains and the Portland hipsters, the City’s tunnels, the District’s ‘Tro, Seattle’s sound, the palms and bars and paint and pain and beauty of East Los A. And I miss the people. The ones from the planes and the trains and the hotels and the quirky little museums and the sidewalks and the churches and the sessions and the dinners with old friends and new ones who become old ones. I miss the conversations about sports and politics and faith and family and confusion and encouragement and pain and love and hope and struggle, the weather and the warmth, the darkness and the light.
But these moments are not the single serving friendships that Palahniuk wrote about, not a packet of sugar to sweeten the bitter or a flimsy plastic bottle of water to be drained and dumped. No…these are the close encounters of the human kind, that which makes life what it is, hot and frantic, cold and needling, beautiful and sharp, the shore and the sea, a climb and a fall, the rain and the trees and the wind and the dirt. These are the people who make up the cities and the towns and the clubs and the jukes and the businesses and the streets. These are the ones who make this life. These are the ones I love.
New post on the Peak Collaborative blog.
Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place
Paulo Coehlo (in The Devil and Ms. Prym)