Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reunion as Commencement

Nothing makes you want to flee the country like a high school reunion.

It’s not so much the event as the inescapable arithmetic of 30 years having whizzed by, with so much left to do.

I’ve been to Paris three times, and cruised up the Seine to Normandy, but I still want to inhale a lavender field in Provence. And the sight of a thousand Londoners in a sudden downpour, magically extracting and opening their brollies in unison, is a treasure, but I also dream of navigating a barge down the Thames, popping off for a wander through tiny villages now and then.

In my world view, where distance is a metaphor for success, those of us gathered at the pre-reunion happy hour in Old Bowie were still stuck in the gate – we’d settled in Fairfax (39 miles), Olney (24 miles), Bowie (0 miles). I’ve only gotten as far as Reston (38 miles), so I have no room to talk. And, certainly, there are other measures of lives well-lived – children raised, lives saved, trees planted – but the clock is ticking, and I’m itching to pick random curries from a menu in Thailand, trail after Rick in Petra, and find out what made my brother fall in love with Bhutan.

And after that – after the quick hits – I want to start over and go deeper: I want to sit quietly in some crazy cultural disconnects until I am at peace with them, until I no longer feel the need to chatter and impress and befriend. I just want to get it…what it’s like being someone other than a middle class American who grew up just outside Washington, D.C.

And then, maybe, I’ll come home.

Photo (c) Rick Collier

See more photos of Petra and lots of other really gorgeous stuff (though yes, I do admit to a bit of partiality) at Rick's website.

1 comment:

Kuzu said...

Perhaps you will "get it" when you understand why you chose to grow up as a middle class American from just outside D.C. Bhutan link: Maybe consider adding link to Tsewang Nidup would be pleased!
I will be a regular visitor to your blog.