after graduation, i set out for europe for three weeks with a couple of friends. before i left, i received a very pretty, very thick blank book- leather bound, lined pages, smelling new and waiting to be filled. so i decided to take it with me to europe. before i left, i typed out a quote i really liked- a passage really- and taped it to the cover. and it ended up changing me.
this european whirlwind was amazing- i saw things and experienced things that i was desperate to set to paper. the journal was filling up pretty fast, and i wanted to somehow capture my entire experience and write it to people. i wanted to send out a mass email that would completely epitomize all of this fascination and beauty. and of course this was impossible. there was no way i could photograph everything and describe everything and share everything. sometime during the second week, i happened to reread the passage taped to the front of my journal, and this time i let it sink in. i don't know what had inspired me to tape it there in the first place- i had simply liked it and stuck it down, on rather an impulse. but now, reading it, i realized how difficult it would be to give everyone a perfect impression of all that i had done and seen- and really that wasn't necessary or even preferable. what i wanted to do was to share the spirit of my trip instead. and with every trip i've taken since then, i've continued to write about it in the vein of this one- this passage taught me how to let the story flow, to let it... let go:
at some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough.
you don't need to photograph it, paint it or even remember it.
it is enough.
no record of it needs to be kept and
you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to.
when that happens- that letting go - you let go because you can.
the world will always be there- while you sleep it will be there -
when you wake it will be there as well.
so you can sleep and and there is reason to wake.
(morrison, tar baby)
true, it is easy to read an amazing book that practically places a variety of perspectives before me. in life, it is much harder to put on other people's shoes. but i love the idea of not changing my perspective, but simply gaining some. being able to think about things from another direction keeps my feelings from being hurt; makes me more compassionate; makes me more patient (and believe me, this i can use.)
i remember one morning in egypt, i was rushing through breakfast and i happened to read a new fridge poem that my roommate must have written the night before. the part i will always remember went:
squirms through the window
speak to the present
the rhythm of the dance
is slowly changing
of course, later, my roommate didn't really see what i was gushing about, but in truth this poem brightened my day. that day, i had woken up the same routine and in truth the sameness of it all was getting to me. here i was in a country in which every day went a little bit haywire- the unexpected was commonplace, the well-planned was absurd. and yet i was feeling as though i was beginning a day which was wholly uninteresting in its similarity to the previous day. and yet, suddenly, reading this, i felt a sense of history squirming through the window along with that slice of summer. i felt that this place, this city, had seen the world change- that the roads i walked, the very dust on the ground, had been witness to era after era. that i was here, at the end of a long, long history, and that even now, things were changing. how many people had lived here, in this very city, even on this very street, who had woken up one day and felt, as i did, that there was so much to be done and seen and experienced? had they given in to the dulling effects of routine? i had no idea, but here i was, one more speck on a giant timeline, and suddenly i felt as though revolution doesn't have to be a noisy thing.
when i walked out of my flat that morning, i felt like marching. it was a vague victory i had won over breakfast, but the feeling of inspiration was very tangible.
all from a fridge poem ;)