Fluid Dynamics of Mind

Once, there was a bearded stranger on my flight to Santa Fe. His eyes hid behind black spectacles and he carried an Oxford English Dictionary under his arm. When we arrived in Albequerque, he boarded the train heading into the Sandilla Mountains and beyond them, Santa Fe. He sat across the aisle from me, the OED riding shotgun next to him. It was more than my restraint could handle. I have loved the OED since I was a small girl, its content obviously the key to worlds I hadn't even dreamed.

I stood up and walked the aisle to his space. He looked up. Smiled. Motioned to the open seat. I opened my mouth and poured out questions.

He left home at 15 to learn about life. Not because home was bad, but because he was curious. He drove the country as a long haul trucker, worked as a farm hand and learn the trade. He could build, transport, politicize and philosophize. He'd come from Portland to Santa Fe after living in a friend's yurt for a couple years while they developed a sustainable community. The man was wise and clear, full of faith in his ability to meet life on firm feet. I was deeply inspired and provoked. We were the same age.

I tried to imagine leaving home for the wide world as a teenager. It quickly turned into a romanticized version of going to sea to seek one's fortune. Hardly a realistic portrait of negotiating modernity and bureaucracy- so I asked him how he had the courage to strike out so young.

He just shook his head and looked out the window. "I wasn't scared, so I didn't need courage."

As much as I'd like to live with that kind of open-armed trust in the inherent support of life, I couldn't then. But I can try now.

So I came to Brooklyn, New York with the intention to bring curiosity and very little else in the way of planning. Oh, I tried to book accommodations and activities, but none of the plans stuck. The one thing I did know was that my friend would pick me up and the airport and deposit me at another friend's house. The rest of my five days and nights would be an unfolding experiment to see if I could stay engaged with life in the midst of a blank slate.

I know that excites some people and you might think that having a friend to stay with rather eliminates the looming unknown, but for me, it compounds it. Being in intimate proximity to the same human for any length of time without a space that is my own, brings up pretty hefty Unknown. So the idea of negotiating 5 days in another person's direct space AND having a nurturing experience AND experimenting with feeling comfort in the unknown...well.

I'm in the middle of it right now. Today at brunch/lunch, who knows really, I realized that time becomes incredibly fluid when I breathe within the unknown. Not trying to plan where we'll go next, not racing to catch a train or squeeze as many experiences as possible out of the next 3 days- but simply looking around. Meeting the hunger in my belly. Rolling through the sun and pausing to appreciate the sensation without needing to know which direction north is. It feels like I'm surfing down barrels of reality, sliding back and forth between universes running parallel.

The rides get richer, sounds snuggle into bone. I find myself winking at strangers and singing on the streets. Bridges appear everywhere. Fluid is free. Unknown, a caress. Beautiful, bending grasses, waving about, calling me over to marvel at a hand...


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