it's 4am and I am awake. no I have not been out all night dancing. I just woke up. I brushed my teeth and I washed my face in the dark. last night I managed to make it to 9:30 before falling asleep. no I am not 73 years-old. I have jet lag. sleeping in sporadic bursts, feeling tired during the day, crashing while others are eating their dinner. and now it is 4 in the morn and I am wide awake -- a small price to pay for seeing paris on valentine's day.
something I wrote from paris:
it never ceases to amaze me, how easy it is to end up someplace else. one foot in front of the other, airplanes and trains. one connection after the other. 12 wrong turns for every right one, but always getting there in the end. I don't even think I would trust it if I reached my destination on the first try. I take strange comfort in pantomimed directions in foreign tongues, the first few rounds leading me somewhere other than the address in my notepad, but ultimately leading me to the instructions that work. and there I am, a hotel in paris, laughing to myself that I made it. all the walking with heavy bags, all the sardining myself onto tightly packed trains, all the attempts at sleep in awkward positions, all the effort, all the exhaustion, all the frustration... it all falls away and what is left is shock at how very easy it all is. I am here.
and there it is, why I travel -- to gather up lovely little metaphors for the rest of life. and I wonder, why is it when I am home, and I lose my way for a bit, I am not so forgiving? if I can't find my hotel in paris, I keep looking. it bothers me not that I am meandering through the cobble-stoned streets asking strangers to guide me. and yet at home if I take one false step, I get so frustrated with myself, with the street, with the directions or lack thereof. the fact that I'm not there where I intended to be immediately is so upsetting to me. but things aren't supposed to happen immediately. we're supposed to meander. we're supposed to solicit the help of others. we're supposed to take wrong turns in order to discover the lovely little streets we've never seen even though they're right around the corner.
of course these are things we ultimately know, and that's most likely why we subject ourselves to 11 hour plane rides. even though those 11 hours can feel like infinite minutes stuck in a broken clock, even though we allow ourselves occasionally to wonder if we're going to fall from the sky and die in a fiery crash, we still trust in our hearts that the plane with land safely and we will reach our destination. that is why we are there. we trust the plane, and we trust the pilot. so when we are home, why don't we just trust ourselves? as dear ralphie emerson once put it, "If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me." trust in yourself, and you have the world on your side. trust the plane, trust the pilot.