All afternoon and evening as I drove through the brightest reds of our fall so far, I thought of Ken, flying for almost seven hours into spring. He should be landing in Lima, Peru soon, changing hemispheres, seasons, languages, proximity to the ocean (as in right next to versus 1,400 miles from), and even time to some extent.
Being close to someone who is going someplace neither of you have ever been is one way to have a window into the magic of what might come into his/her view. Add to this a restless mind and propensity for imagining things, and I’ve been picturing Ken looking out the window, wondering if he can see the ocean or just layers of clouds. Since I’m a little claustrophobic when it comes to hours sealed up in an airplane, I’m glad I have the advantage of simple imagination. But I also wonder about what he’ll find when he lands, how the air will feel, what strange and likely wonderful new world will envelop him.
I remember that when Ken and I went to Kenya 25 years ago, we arrived in the middle of the night, and were swept off by Ken’s sister and her husband to a room in a convent somewhere in Nairobi. I don’t remember anything we saw, heard or did, just a lot of motion in a very surrealistic world of night we emerged into after 18 hours of air travel. The room was simple, we were exhausted, the bed was heaven.
Then I was woken up by an explosion of sweetness, the smell of the flowers, so vivid that it swept me out of my dreams. I got up, opened the wooden doors in the single window, and the technicolor world poured in. We were in the middle of paradise, a garden with saucer-sized flowers from another planet, large green or orange birds disappearing into towers of blossom.
This is what I wish for Ken — this kind of immersion celebration into a reality more vibrant than what we imagine. Actually, whether we’re literally traveling or not, this is what I wish for all of us.