from john f. kennedy airport, queens, ny
layed-over; en route
not a traveller. not proudly self-sufficient, blood swirling with adrenaline and pride and appraisal as in my early long-distance travels. just holding a sort of stillness, mid-way through a lay-over — not a traveller, but a person at mid-day, spending an afternoon in an airport full of blue carpet waiting spaces filled with connected segments of blue pleather chairs.
the tarmac resembles a taxi yard to me – men and women and children entering the vessels, their things clutched, just to be taken away from home or toward. but, no. it’s better than that. because (chris walters:) home is not singular. and that is why i am not a traveller today. today i am a human woman, american woman, i am this woman who observes — and the stream of people i see moving down the corridor are alive beyond the boundaries of their origins, their languages, their complexions, their views. these are all in tow – but they are beyond them in a central space where we have the real potential to exceed ourselves, our first places, our first beliefs, our first understandings – because we are stepping out; we are stepped out. we are stepped out from a place where the view is small into a space where it is larger, into a bazaar of crossing paths.
there is a woman, not two seats away, tears in her eyes, looking for a tissue in her things, finding one, daubing her nose and her eyes. i can feel the warm lump of her tears in my own throat. a man who works here reclines in a seat around the corner, jacket and shoes off. i can feel his shoulders in my body, leaning back for a while, breathing out, loosening.
three notes on the internal landscape this morning…
- soon i will be surrounded by another language, surrounded, in a way, in that way, by what i am not, what i cannot decipher, what i cannot interject, what i have not yet acquired the ability to exchange.
- i attended a women’s retreat this weekend and this is what i learned: every next thing is part of the sacred journey. every next thing can be approached as ritual. there is no part of the day in which i need be separated from the potential to be present and to grow. all of this is an opportunity to be with intention. still, or active. silent, or speaking. fresh from the washing, or sticky in the armpits.
- walking into the security check while looking over my shoulder to see my mother on the other side of the stanchion tape, i swung my guitar case into a stanchion, affecting a rather loud clang. i turned around smiling – silly, clumsy, noisy moment made out of eyes-on-my-mother-while-still-stepping-out!-stepping-out!. when i got my head around to forward, every TSA officer was alert as a woodland animal sensing danger, all eyes fast upon me. i addressed each set of eyes with my own, smiling, smiling. see? i am safe. i am safe. the one who took my passport said lovingly, “of course i get all the trouble makers…” and i knew with a suddenness that the quiet fear in my out-into-the-world-gut, the quiet fear thickened by sorrow from news and again more news, was a potential these folk rose and attended to each morning… and yet: HERE THEY WERE. here they were, keeping the world open to us. open and open and open and open to us.
may we keep entering the open, keep stepping out, keep entering the bazaar of crossing paths where we can see each other’s eyes and lives and bodies just a little — but if we really let ourselves look and see, then just enough. enough for now. enough for continuing, again, more bravely still tomorrow.
[post script: arrived safe on the ground at destination. more! to! come!…]