Wednesday, April 23, 2008


As I was running along the lake again this afternoon, it occurred to me that this year (for me, at least) started a year this weekend.

A year ago this weekend, my the plans for going to the Middle East on my research fellowship in Jerusalem had already come together, and yet I was frantically scrapping together all of my resources (including my wits) to pull off this fancy little acrobatic trick. Nevertheless, it was a moment when I felt like I had reached the top of long climb, and I happened to be feeling the rewards of hard work and painstaking emotional and intellectual labour.

I had just celebrated my first Passover as a Jew. And, oddly, I was being approached by strange women like I guess it is little wonder why I felt it best to just let the wind take me.

A year ago this weekend was a moment when everything felt alive again, but not just in the typical, springtime custom of re-awakening, but very alive for the first time, as if first steps were being taken after a lifelong gestation and even more grueling labor. Really, it was a brilliant moment. Even a year after the fact, I can still taste the sweetness of my own optimism.

A year ago this weekend, I flew home to DC for a weekend with friends. Along the way, I let myself get a little distracted by a red door, a Virginia rainstorm, and this guy. But my own momentum forced me to gather no moss. A few weeks later, I was back to DC again, but only there leave a mango on his pillow and say good-bye for a while.

Of course, the guy was inconsequential to the journey which lay before me. And, like, wow...was that over-heated, always hungry, always looking over-her-shoulder, always had a child in her lap, forever scrambling to learn new words...high-assing it through the desert and just thankful for clean water...was that woman me?

Of course, that was only on the first half of the year. The rest of the year has been yet another set of unexpected roller coasters. How I landed where I am at the moment still baffles me. Yet, how much I love what I do where I am at the moment never ceases to amaze me. A year ago this weekend, I certainly did not anticipate that I would have been offered the first job of my dreams, simply for being in the right place at the right time. I suppose chance is one thing. But preparation is another.

Even still, it is worthy to note how much can be crammed into a year.

A year from now...I will be done with my doctoral degree. From where I am sitting at the moment, the exciting thing is that I have absolutely no idea where this will take me. At the moment, I have silent plans for more time abroad. But for now...I have some good, old fashioned American travel on my agenda. This weekend, I am spending time with Slide in Miami. The trip was originally postponed from earlier in the month until now. Next weekend, I am off for the Jazz Festival in New Orleans. In three more weeks, I'll be meeting up with friends in Denver and blasting off a few rounds of yoga in the Colorado Rockies. Of course, this doesn't account for the family time I am fitting in, or the fact that I plan to buckle down yet again come June 1 to spend the bulk of the summer writing my dissertation...

But a year from now, it is hard to say where I will be. Look at all that can change in a day, let alone a weekend.



Chamak said...

cute pic! you look so zen.

La La said...

I loved Petra, Jordan, when I was there in 2006. You look very relaxed in the picture. Thanks for sharing it.

Alan Ward said...

Change happens - not as a continuous process, but in fits and starts.

I know a guy who lives in the same house, in the same street, with the same neighbours ... for the last 40 years.

Has he changed? Yes and no. Have you changed? Perhaps the answer is also "yes and no".

Restaurant Gal said...

A year ago, I was so sad and terrified about the decision I had just made. Today, I am feeling quite certain the year was worth all the turmoil as well as feeling quite certain of what is next. Hope you have a great weekend in SoFla! (And I love the photo.)

VJ said...

I constantly feel like one of those large sea going tortoises or whales who lives well past their century mark. I'm mainly doing what I've usually done. Year by year, day by day. Some more challenging than others. Some brighter than others, some darker. In some ways, I'm richer now than I've ever been. In other ways I can see the sea around me befouled & polluted by all manner of garbage and dangerous traps & distractions. I'm still happy to be here, fighting the good fight deep in the 'belly of the Beast', at the very bottom of the Ocean of debris of castoffs from our wants & needs & promise. It's an enlightening trip, only I'm still able to surface to occasionally taste the brisk ocean breezes and to survey the landscape to look for more promised lands from whence the ancestor's have come.

I never expect the relief column of humanity to show up. They usually arrive a few decades late. Like clockwork actually. That's heartening to some degree, but at once still tragic in the long run. We never have enough time here.

It's always good to see someone put their time to greater immediate use & discovery. We're all due some small miracles in our lives. Sometimes several even!

Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

EA said...

"Look at all that can change in a day, let alone a weekend."