Archive | August, 2012

The Emerald Cities

1 Aug

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This whole summer of adventure has brought me down a golden road that has been freeing, yet also treacherous. I’ve never traveled alone nor lived with the idea of doing exactly all the things I have longed to do. When I set out for Martha’s Vineyard I knew without a doubt that with a tiny amount of bravery, some good friends to be with, a camera, and a pen I could see what it is to really live. Dorothy’s journey has been with me since last October. I remember a dream, a terrifying dream of a tornado and a house, the whole scene from the film exploded into sepia storm in my early morning imagination. A house, a storm…WHAM. Where did these red sparkle shoes come from?

Traveling like this, though, has taught me valuable lessons but none more important than this: I can go anywhere I want, do anything I desire to do, and enjoy myself. I have always been able to do these things, I think, but its surprising to me.

Going to  Boston with Mom, I had to swing into being the one in charge. The derecho changed everything and navigating both home issues and Boston at the same time really showed me what I can handle. I drove that sportscar into Boston, navigated maps and streets and metro for us without GPS or a smartphone. I had my own room which allowed me to write more and I was able to process events much better. The really nice dinners began then, too. The House of Siam on Tremont where we ate on the street and then Roisin Dubh, the best Irish pub in Boston, I miss those moments. That night proved Mom can still chat up anyone anywhere at any time. My game absolutely dissolves in her presence. She is an enigma when it comes to chatting up men. The story of the Fleet Week Warrior still needs writing.

And then there was our walk into North End where we navigated endless streets of Italian restaurants and bakeries and grocery stores. It was a veritable sea for the senses: flowers baskets, and open windows and crystal glasses filled with wine, bread and olive oil and espresso on the corner. Dinner at Assiaggo, amazing.

But then, something dawned on me. I realized, I’m still sharing this. Mom was with me and I wondered what my life was going to feel like being totally alone at home again. It worried me a bit and I also realized, as my phone buzzed every hour or so in Boston, that I had I begun to give the experience away again to a friend during the last few days of our trip via text. Mom complained about it, too. When are you getting off your phone? she’d say. I’ve only had one for a year, I’d reply. I’m catching up.

When I went off to Richmond, something really unexpected happened. Through a chain of events, I found my phone silent and myself traveling pretty much alone. I had a huge lesson in promises and men being asses. A suitcase full of dresses had accompanied me to Richmond ready for promised dinner dates by someone who suddenly ghosted me. Well, what now? Yes, I had a educational workshops during the day. But at night, why couldn’t I go out to dinner anywhere I liked? Why couldn’t I tour the city the same way I did in Boston, just completely by myself? It seems like an obviously simple thought, but it never truly struck me that indeed, I could intentionally go to certain places alone. When I went, words would come, usually half lines of poetry or imagery, maybe a thought or two. But a cocktail napkin and a pen can be a perfect mediator between me and my experience. I didn’t have to text someone while I ate or watched people. I didn’t need a friend to dance or listen to a band. I could do it all with myself. And that’s what I did. To every place he intended to take me.

I suppose you could say that I’m still giving the experience away by blogging about it, but I don’t really see it like that. My writing is largely a conversation with myself. Somehow, it seems important to me to do that. Its a different kind of sharing, one in which I can still own the experience, but share it at the same time. It doesn’t mean I don’t really enjoy going out with people. Believe me, I love going out with others. But traveling this summer reminded me of the difference between “need” and “want”. And I think that’s a very important lesson when it comes to relationships of any sort. I still love to share my adventures with others, but I don’t need to have them with me to do it. Facebook has truly been a friend of mine.

So, Clar and I began to follow the yellow brick road this summer and for sure we needed a wizard to guide us. Somewhere in the summer’s journey, I realize something is at an end. But I now have a set of very sparkly shoes and they will take me further down a golden road to another glowing green city in the distance. . .and then hopefully back home.

 

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