Monday, May 21, 2012


April 20, 2012.

“There is a time for departure, even when there's no certain place to go.” – Tennessee Williams

Denver, 4 p.m.

This is how I travel. I am sitting on a bench in downtown Denver surrounded by a mountain of luggage – the old green suitcase that I took to the Marshall Islands years ago; the dirty, fraying backpack I bought for $100 on a streetcorner in Missoula; the giant duffel I carried to Hawaii. My life is in these bags – and yet, it's not. Anyone passing by could easily snatch one, and my life would continue, this great journey that belongs to me and me alone. I do not doubt that there will be someone with whom I will share it for a good long stretch right down the middle, but in the beginning and in the end, it is solely mine. There are stories and moments and memories that reside only in my own body. I try to write some of them down, and many others I share as I travel over this earth, along its highways and through its maze of cities, up canyons and ridges, down rivers and seas. I meet so many people along the way. We pass in and out of each others' lives like planets spinning in orbit, intersecting at precise moments in space. When I travel I call up these old friends, and they pick up me and my luggage and we go places and do things and talk about where we were when we first crossed paths and where it is we hope to go. They shuttle me between each other, these friends of mine who live in the same city and yet do not know each other except through their connection to me. Six degrees of separation. I travel without a schedule, without plans. The roads sweep me up and drop me in places I never expected. I find myself sitting in downtown Denver among tall glass buildings mirroring the sun, scribbling in my notebook and watching the people who walk by, each of us wanting the same things but taking different roads to get there, some of us smiling at each other, some looking straight ahead; some in pairs, others alone, none of us knowing quite where we will be when we wake up tomorrow morning.

In the glass wall of the bus station I see an image of myself, dissected by the square panes of glass: a pile of luggage and a girl sitting next to it with a notebook and pen, a river of cars streaming behind her. 

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