As If It Would Never End

An airport is a vacuum, a place of an unwelcome sort of timelessness where one can introvert and come to three hours later like someone who has been knocked unconscious.

I’ve been knocked unconscious.

Lately it has been impossible to get the sort of time alone I need. I wonder from time to time this year just how much time alone I’d need to feel repaired and rested, restored to a place where an abundance flowed out again (if it ever did). My feet planted in the earth up to mid-calf, I might stay from one winter solstice to the next before it was enough. It has taken this long for me to reach full height and breadth; now all that’s left is to go deep.

I feel the cold dirt between my toes and it’s very good.

When I go out of town every month to my Jungian studies program, I feel giddy with joy by the time I’m ready to leave. Every moment I spend by myself is a resurrection, even when spent in the airport, in the limousine, in the hotel room with its muted lighting and mocha-colored walls. Every single bit is like life was when time stood still.

Building villages of pebbles, stones, and sticks behind the hydrangea bushes.

Lying full length along a branch of my favorite tree, mesmerized by the swirls and eddies of the creek below, glinting green, brown.

In bed with my husband, newlyweds, my arm thrown across his chest on a Saturday morning, the smell of the magnolias coming through the screens.

Nursing my first child in the middle of the night, her lashes dark and lush against skin made silvery by the moonlight.

As if it would never end.

That I can feel such a magical sense of time in these places full of travelers, weariness, dirt, conglomerations, noise, hustle, churning, banging, squeaks, dongs, crackling speakers, wheels that go whop-whop-whep-whop, crying children, a cacophony of languages shows just how long it has been since I have been able to sit at my own hearth and stir the ashes.

12 responses

  1. I love airports. They are so exciting to me. They are a place where people begin a grand trip, or are finally returning to family and friends. It means travel. And I love to travel. I don’t even mind waiting in an airport (if I have a good book). : )
    Airports are even magical. Really! One boards onto a hollow metal tube and BECOMES AIRBORN FOR HEAVEN SAKES!!! Then one is wisked anywhere in the world.
    Astounding.

  2. This is the third or fourth time I’ve read this post. There is so much there, everything from the kind of splendid otherworldliness of airports, the importance of finding a bit of solitude and the way your mind can find such serenity in amidst the noise and haste…a very moving post.

  3. Eve,

    It’s funny, though maybe not ha ha, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote but it didn’t seem to tie in with anything with where I was at.

    When I was younger, driving through the mountains with my dad to/from camping, skiing, whatever and we’d pass an inevitable “watch out for falling rock” sign. My dad told me that Falling Rock was an Indian boy who had been sent off with another boy his age for an initiation. I don’t remember anymore what the initiation was but something went wrong and Falling Rock, unable to complete the task, did not return, choosing instead to stay out/away in an effort to complete his task. His father, looking for his son, placed the signs, asking for people to look out for Falling Rock (Last Dance in Dumbtown).

    Oddly enough, one sentence from Jung’s “The Undiscovered Self” on a flight from Denver completely clarified my own Falling Rock moment: “Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.” (p.59) and in looking at the whole thing and putting the pieces together I can see that I haven’t been home or had a home in a very long time. I have definitely understand Lü / The Wanderer.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I spend a lot of time, in my job, waiting for people. They always apologize for being late or delayed, or taking longer to perform the task I am waiting for them to finish. I am always bemused by the apology. “I don’t mind waiting,” I say, and yet perhaps it is the inadequacy of this statement that makes it hard for anyone to believe; “I like the excuse to be still,” might be more accurate.

    • David, “I like the excuse to be still” is wonderful. If I remember it, I may well use it.

      I thought of you this weekend at the Jung seminars. We talked about a great number of things, of course, being in the archetypes phase of our studies; but talk about DID came up, along with introversion and intuition and how Introverted iNtuitives work in this world (or don’t, as the case may be). Of course, depth psychologists are, in the majority, Introverted iNtuitives.

      No wonder there aren’t many of us. But we all “like the excuse to be still.” I can tell you that for sure!

  5. When I’m running hills on Sundays for training, I look up and see the airliners coasting in overhead on final, gear down, and a part of me is on board, just arriving.

    In the place that used to be mine I used to sit outside and watch those same planes, as well as those taking off, against the fading horizon’s glow, Orion’s belt, and the waving palm fronds, while listening to the Psychedelic Furs, BoDeens, Cowboy Junkies, or Assemblage 23, while enjoying a cooling cocktail— home. I wondered where they were headed as they went “feet wet” and wished that I was on them, slated to arrive in some far-off destination to pursue some unknown goal, person, or agenda however mundane…for such moments is life made of.

    In Charleston, I used to park at the end of the runway in my red Jeep and drink and write while watching the C-17’s descend out of the darkness and ether to touch down on terra firma once more, the sound of their engines drowning out Jimmy Buffet as loud as I could play him…Come Monday indeed.

    Which all reminds me of ridiculously old poetry when, I hazard, it wasn’t that good. And yet, as vacuous as airports may seem…I’ve always found a magic there in the possibility of endless destination…if only I was on that flight…going there…

    It is at once the magic of possibility and the neurosis of movement for movement’s sake.

    O’Hare- 4 a.m.

    At heart, maybe I am a wanderer—
    feeling best when underway.
    The perpetual stranger
    with no place to call home
    but where the winds hide
    and the Western sun sets.
    Steel for skin
    and jet fuel for blood
    miles my only friend
    save for
    a stewardess’ friendly smile
    or watching the sun fall from 39,000 feet
    and seeing it rise from a plastic seat.

    8/9/92

    • Librarian, “the magic of possibility and the neurosis of movement for movement’s sake.” This is so good.

      This weekend one of the things Dr. Hollis talked about is “home,” which you write about here. Home, the place where you and the BoDeens watched the planes come in. He has a friend, he says, who is writing a book about home: What is home? Where is it? How do we know when we are there? What if our home is not a home? What if our home is a danger? What if we don’t know where home is? What if we didn’t have a home? And so on.

      It was provocative, enlivening, deepening and (as always) had me coming home with more questions than answers. The questions about “home” remind me of what you wrote here. What if home is wandering? I thought you might get some flyer miles out of this idea.

  6. I often feel like I’m relearning many things that the busyness of life has erased from my memory. I’m learning from my little ones to be so immersed in the moment that everyone and everything else just melts away. I’m loving every minute of it and lately it’s what makes me giddy.

    • Alida, what you wrote about mothering children is one of the most often overlooked blessings of being an at-home mother: we get to revisit childhood. I wish I’d been more aware when I was at home with young children of just what a treasure this time was, and would seem in retrospect. Looking back to my home schooling days and days as a mother of preschoolers still fills me up, they were so lush. I’m happy for you, that you’re awake and aware. And giddy!

  7. I like that idea of stirring the ashes.

    I’ve been dreaming of dinosaurs, dragons, islands and boats. My dreams have become busy places that I can’t wait to fall into at night. Maybe that’s because when I’m awake, life kind of sucks right now.

    Glad you’re enjoying the course and your time alone. I know how important time alone is to me.

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