Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Lost, Getting Found

So here you are at the airport rental car trying to find your way out to route whatever. Miss one sign and you’re back to Baltic or Mediterranean. Already you are lost and isn’t that the reason you are traveling? Sense of direction, familiarity, control? You have come willingly to give it up for a while, to experience yourself in the unknown. You are a cork on the wave. A runner who rounded first and isn’t sure where second base is. Every trip is a re-enactment of that first voyage out.

It could be the Gehry museum in Bilbao or the renaissance cathedral in Milan. The stones on the Salisbury plain or the cave walls in the Dordogne. You are here for the otherness.

In Florence the street names seem to change on every block. In the U.K. they’re all driving the wrong way and the roads are equestrian trails. What‘s the matter with these people? And why don’t they have a place to pull over so you can take a picture? Give it up. Enjoy your disequilibrium.

Why travel at all except to shed old skin and turn away from the paved landscape to a canvas of Pollock drips. Maybe that rush of water under the bridge is your own blood finding new tributaries. If you had a map you wouldn’t be on it.

With a zither for a heart your own disquiet is now prime minister in a parliament of rooks. Maybe you are preparing for your next incarnation as a fly in the soup doing the backstroke. Or you could be trailing the guy with the too-perfect alibi who just stepped out of an Edward Hopper café lit by blinking neon and a sixty-watt moon.

Soon you’ll be home back in your old shoes that fit just a tad too well. With a little luck the eyes of your eyes will stay open and you might even find yourself on a street around the corner you have never seen before.

1 comment:

  1. You have described the story of my life. I get lost going from the bedroom to the bathroom at least once a week. OK, I lied - twice a week. There is nothing I can do about it except sit still.
    That's what I do best.