Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"Your body is away from me, but there is an open window from my heart to yours." - Rumi
I've been away from home, traveling abroad. I like that expression a lot,"traveling abroad". It sounds a bit old-fashioned, but fits well the journey my husband and I just completed. We were in Europe, visiting old cities: Berlin, Innsbruck, Rome.
For 19 days I felt like I was moving through a continuously unfurling picture postcard. It felt like a dream, really, or as if I were an extra in a movie. Was it really me walking along that high Tyrolean ridge, awestruck by the fabled Dolomites? And could it truly have been me standing there inside the Pantheon gazing up in wonder at the sky so blue?
I took photos along the way, though I know that others have taken better photos than mine. I only had a cell phone camera with no zoom to speak of. Some might ask why bother when there are so many better images readily available on the Internet. But now that I'm home, I understand the impetus better and am glad I heeded it. Indeed my photo can't do justice to the view shown here, but it serves well to remind me.
It reminds me of unseen possibility, for one thing. Because it was me walking along that ridge. 15 years ago I could not imagine a reality in which I would be able to do such a thing. My 2001 self would never have believed it if you tried to tell her so. Yet somehow there I was, walking right along and pausing to take a photo just like everyone else.
And this photo reminds me of all that remains unrevealed -- and not just to me. In the 1990's, somewhere on the high slope of a mountain like these, some hikers found a man's body. Turns out the man had lived some 5,000 years ago. When in Balzano, we visited the museum in which this man is preserved and learned how sophisticated he was. We learned about all the science and technology being used to understand him more and how the knowledge gleaned from studying him can help us understand ourselves. We also felt encouraged and rejuvenated by the enthusiasm and excitement of our guide, a young archaeological researcher. When I look at this photo I remember how much I do not know, but I do not feel small. I feel connected to the past and to the future and understand that this connection is not dependent on my personal experience of either.
And this photo reminds me of home, too. Because as I stood there looking at the mighty Dolomites in the far distance, I thought of my own mountain home. Would my appreciation for my daily view be diminished by having stood in the presence of such grandeur? No, as it turns out. It's apples and oranges.
I have only been home a few days and I took lots of photos, so there's lots to be reminded of. It will take far longer to process and absorb than it did to travel and see.
When I packed my carry-on bag, I included yarn and knitting tools. In the 19 days I was gone, I managed to knit one pair of baby socks, and that happened in flight to and fro. The me that knits was on hiatus, my brain too stimulated for my hands to work.
The photos remind me of that, too -- that I could live without every day knitting.