Monday, January 28, 2013

DAY 1) Forty Days and Forty Nights

(photo by Justin Neway)

All journeys begin in the dark. At least, this one does. Yet for others too there is so very much unknown, despite meticulous planning. One cannot anticipate the unexpected, the stranger, the advent, the coincidence; momentum may be predicted according to an itinerary, but somewhere along the line there inevitably occurs the insight, the intuition, the light breaking in where once there was little clarity, or perhaps just the noise of the unfamiliar. Thing is, biblical in proportions as forty days and forty nights may be, it could be just a journey taking up that much time, or it could be momentous. We evolve toward enlightenment, or not. And if the traveler is intent, perhaps there might be a revelation, or not. Who would take this journey with me?

Yet aloneness is the essence of the voyager; especially in biblical terms. One goes out and thinks and observes and evaluates and synthesizes. And at some point there are others who talk to me, who communicate. Was Moses so distracted? Even on some of my most solo journeys in life, like hiking in the Rocky Mountains, or standing guard for hours on end in Africa, there were distractions. A bird, an insect, the sound of the wind. We are never really completely alone. And our atoms are but part of the atomic soup.

Air travel is so very full of isolated moments, isolated people, isolated facts and expectations and timetables and codes and regulations. And seen all together it is somewhat like being caught up in the productivity of a ginormous bee hive, from electric hive to hive, single atoms riding on the larger body of an organizational complexity beyond the ken of most of us, rather like life itself.

We do not necessarily fly from. Some of us fly toward. We do not necessarily seek escape. Some of us seek change. We do not necessarily dislike where we are that causes us to journey away; some of us travel in search of farther fields of knowledge, broader horizons, greater insights to bring back to our home base. Travel may do that to us. Then of course, some of us just go to get some rest.

Paradigm shifts do not rely on geographical relocation. They do not rely on physical alternatives to extant conditions, nor do they relay necessarily on someone else's words. Paradigm shifts occur when one's point of view is changed. The impatient realize patience. The angry realize tolerance. The hateful gain compassion. The anxious knows acceptance. Precision of phraseology no longer really matters when one understands the meaning of another, when one integrates the whole. The woman who cannot speak English caught my eye, looked at her case, gestured, and looked toward the washroom; I nodded. And she left her bag in my care. Now she is back, three seats away. Neither of us needed any further ado.

The journey has begun!

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