Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DAY 2) The 39th Step

Timbuktu. It is a name resonant with exotic travel. So too for Papa New Guinea. At least, that's where George Gear, the helicopter pilot sitting beside me is headed. Not that he now is flying his helicopter; he lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and travels every alternate month to work with the pipe-line industry. The Air Canada Boeing on which we travel is his regular commute. Others on this plane have similar stories, one may readily surmise. After all, the greatest of journeys begins with a single step.

It matters not so much where these 7,776 miles are taking me; it matters more that each minute be alive with the simple fact that I am alive too. Even now, as George the chopper pilot beside me sleeps, we sleep in a sense of being here, or not. Ever had an awakening and not known at all where you are? The body feels displaced. Eventually the orientation of things comes to enlighten you, and it is the new hotel room, or the new continent, or the new guest room that had you discombobulated. Yet altogether more amusing are those awakening moments in the dark of one's own room and still without a sense of being where one is at. Ever done that? Me too!

Acceptance has as its central tenant an immediacy of the moment. Pain is easiest accommodated through acceptance. So too for intolerance and impatience and annoyance and negativity. These things can greatly be ameliorated by the compassion realized in the moment. Without available grease, one may as well accept the wheel squeaking. So too for the abrasive young female passenger approximately three rows up from me in the plane. Her voice carries and she lingers on words, and takes pauses mid-sentence that have the listener waiting, and there is a tone of self-awareness to her speech patterns that would seem as though she is listening to herself, enjoying her sound. Her listener, a young male, occasionally mumbles in some deep based and indistinguishable rumble, shortly, and then she barrages in again. Others are trying to sleep. Even the stewardess, who initially was demonstrating seat-belts and exits and oxygen masks, looked over as if that passenger ought to be silenced during the public announcements, but nobody has yet proven brave enough, annoyed enough, brazen enough, and my three-in-one oil is in my tool-box back in the toolshed, back in Victoria.

Esoteric references are like that. What appears as a mumble to one makes perfect sense to another. The articulation of syllables and the ontology of sounds makes for a foreign speaking person to be understood but by a select few. So too for matters of the spirit, of the heart, of the emotions, of the instincts, of intuition, of synergy. We identify or we do not. And we seek in our non understanding to have the sentences parsed, the phrasing made precise, the meaning made very clear. My German is passable should someone speak very slowly. It helps even more if their semiotics are well developed. It is not always the big word that impresses. Accuracy can matter. Intention is intuited.

The second day of the forty is also the thirty-ninth. Is one dwindling to a Down Under or is one mounting to an Over Yonder? And in the acceptance of the passage of time, of the moments of the flight, of the quotidian nemesis that shall discover each of us for what we do with our days, we breathe easy, or we are frustrated with what is not met.

1 comment:

  1. Delighted with this response that came in today, February 02, quite unexpectedly!

    Hello Richard, I thought I might send you a quick message, although travel should be an exciting or at least interesting endeavor, unfortunately often it is the opposite, particularly when done on a regular basis over long distances as is the case for myself. The best one can hope for is a smooth flight and good company provided by complete strangers, not easily done, as most people choose to insulate themselves from others when traveling. Meeting you was refreshing, thought provoking, and entertaining, I will be sure to check in on your blog occasionally, it is a good read and I have bookmarked your site for future reference.
    Thanks again.
    George Gear (Helicopter Pilot PNG)


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