packing for the unknown

I’m really good at leaving.  I pick a place, set a date, save my money, pack my bags, and go.  The reality of what I’m doing hardly fazes me, until the last few weeks before my departure.  Before I jet to the other side of the world, I start thinking about all those little things I could be doing for the very last time.  Sure, I’ll come back to New England sooner or later, as I always do, but things are always changing and always different when, and if, I return.  The feeling of homesickness before even leaving home hits at the most unanticipated moments—-lying upside down on the dining room floor and looking up at the lamp on the ceiling; cycling home from work and seeing the pine trees stretching borders from New Hampshire to Maine, while the sunset over a field sends a kiss of cool air running across my skin.  Everything has a certain sweetness that wasn’t there before, the mundane day-to-day now holds a heightened appreciation.  Yet among the sweetness and sentimentality, a big ball of excitement buries itself in my stomach and refuses to be ignored.  Flashbacks send me reeling to reveries of three years yore—the story of an idealistic nineteen year-old who shaves her long locks and falls deep deeply in love with a country.  The smell of firewood from a neighbor’s yard flies me back to humid days in India’s bustling cities, sunrise yoga on the banks of the Ganges, and the rickshaws whirling by as we sprint and laugh our way across four lanes of incessant traffic.

The things that need to get done take a back-seat to daydreams and packing lists.  Ten page papers are put off, while travel guides get engulfed, pots of tea sucked down over pages of reverie, names of places to see replacing street signs amongst me.  Locust, Back River, Islington, and Congress beget Leh, Diskit, Likir, and Thiksey.  Yet with all the planning and plotting, the only thing that is for certain is the reliable unknown.  I have no idea where I am going, or what exactly I’m doing.  Such is my life, such is the day-to-day, from the sea to the mountains and back again and again and again.


One Comment

  1. This is a beautifully written, thoughtful and moving piece, Elizabeth. It affirms how special and gifted you are, and no matter when you go on your journeys, you always have many here who lvoe you and have open arms ready to embrace you when you return. May you never be so far from your loving place, regardless of the distance in miles.


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