Valencia. I had to stop myself from nearly weeping at the sight of Spain below me today. From my window seat, I choked back tears as the formations of windmills and orange trees began to take shape while my flight from Tel Aviv brought me closer to the place where so much of where my life has taken me all began.
Still hovering in flight, my thoughts seemed to be dictated by my bodily positioning between the earth and the heavens. At once, it seemed to register in my mind that Spain is like an always familiar lover to me, steadily romantic and oddly dear. At the same time, Israel is the child of my love affair with the Spanish Al-Andalus, the petulant product of my love of knowledge and chronic thirst for testing the boundaries of my complacency.
At the moment, I am without sleep and desperately suffering for it. Now alone after a sleepless night of travel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, from Tel Aviv to Rome, from Rome to Valencia...and a full day of visiting with a dear friend and entertaining her 6-year-old Spanish step-son, I am beyond exhausted. Culture shock on the train, meeting my friend's new Spanish husband, and conversing in Espanol more in the past 12 hours than I have in many months...I have returned to my far-too-posh hotel room to confront my fatigue. I will happily confess that I drew my first hot bath in many months, and enjoyed walking around naked while experimenting with every perfume bottle and light switch as the bathroom mirror steamed and the bathtub readied itself for me and all of the dust I brought it from the desert.
For the first time in months, I sunk down in a tub full of water and exhaled for a minute before I found myself choking up with tears again.
Maybe it has just been one of those weeks.
Or maybe I am just...overcome by this gnawing state of arrival, true loneliness and exhaustion.
How does a girl like me get to a place like this?, I wondered.
Maybe this is what I am here to find out.
I am looking over now to see that one half of the bed remains empty and untouched. I feel the need to lament for a moment or two more. I realize that I am lamenting the nature of my longing, but there is nothing worse than dwelling on what I will never have. Everything happens for a reason.
In the meantime, Spain has me in its embrace for the next several days, and I intend give it everything that I've got.
Off to adventure...