Wisdom from the Ages

I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all. No... not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that... over-throws life. Unbiddable, ungovernable - like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Travel Bug.

It is nearly three in the morning. I am sitting upright in my bed writing this note. I am smothered in memories that lie in-between pages of Lonely Planet travel books that line the top shelf of my bookcase. The pages are dog-eared reminders of long days and longer nights spent in some of the most fabulous and seductive cities in the world- Moscow, Berlin, New Delhi, Lisbon, Beijing, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, New York City...I take "Paris" down from the shelf and it flips open instantly to the metro map with it's smudged black markings from all the stops I have circled in the past two years indicating locations of my favorite restaurants and hidden boutiques. I pull down the Nepali Phrasebook and re-visit the words that had once rolled off my tongue, but that in the past year had been replaced with Russian ones. My ears perk up to the familiar sounds of Nepali and I sense my heart yearn for Kathmandu and the stunning Himalayas as a backdrop to daily life. I let my eyes drift over "Switzerland" and my mouth suddenly waters at the mere thought of Swiss chocolate and the international flavors that converge in Zurich. I stop here before falling deeper into travel nostalgia. But then I am caught by my display of scarves from around the globe- football scarves from Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, a thick winter scarf with the Russian crest, a light yellow headscarf I found in Nepal, the blue silk scarf reminiscent of Mongolian tradition. Slowly, I look around and I am reminded of everlasting sun, hibiscus-breezes, and the turquoise oceans that sing to me from my seashell collection next to my bed. There are creamy pink conch shells from Waikiki Beach, the annual stomping ground of my mother, then little shards of rusty orange and white coral I picked off the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. Underneath the coral are tiny delicate white shells gathered from the powdery sand of St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Dutch and French Caribbean. I fold myself deeper into my blankets, close my eyes and pretend it is the sweet warmth of a foreign sun enveloping me once again. Perhaps it is the sun blinking off the waves in Cabo San Lucas, or perhaps the lingering light as drenches Cafe Nicola, Rossio in Portugal as I take the slightest sips of a dark and bitter European coffee, watching life unfold around me. Perhaps it is not warmth at all but rather the descending smog of Beijing amidst the thousand lights of downtown as we make our way to the Philippe Starck-designed LANclub for a night of champagne cocktails in the Oyster Bar. Or better yet, perhaps it is the heat of a hundred bodies in Fidel, a tiny DJ bar in the heart of St. Petersburg. As I drift off to sleep, I decide it is the warmth of all those boys left behind- in truth, they are merely boys of the moment, but some, like Michel and Rene in Berlin, will always be of the present moment as much as they are of the past. (August 13, 2008)

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