Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This River Is Homeward Flowing

I received quite an interesting e-mail yesterday from a dear friend who also was a teacher of mine a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far less affected by the long-term effects of vodka and cynicism than the one I presently inhabit. Doc is spending this year teaching in China. You think about the things you encounter on a day in, day out basis - including those that give you cause to celebrate and those that give you cause to do something far less joyous - and then you think about someone you know doing something that you know you could never do.

I found it impossible to deal with relocation when I went less than five miles up the road from where I had spent the bulk of my professional life. Then again, Doc has it easier than I did. He only has to deal with living on foreign soil, eating exotic foods and trying to wind his way around a centuries-old culture. I had to deal with trying to understand an altogether alien way of life. Not as hostile as these folks to be certain. Nor as cunning - regardless of what they believed to the contrary.

I know not whether it is the expulsion of air from the post-Christmas balloon or something else completely that has my mojo a bit out of whack these days. In the interests of fairness, I do not think I can lay responsibility on my timing being slightly off simply on Mr. Kringle. There has been something off on the periphery of my vision field for a while now. A distraction? A portent of something to come? No bloody idea. I know simply that my steps as not as purposeful as they usually are.....or at least as I like to tell myself they usually are. Perhaps there is nothing askew. Is it possible that I have simply ceased believing my own BS? I suppose anything is possible but I perish the thought nonetheless.

Regardless of what it is that is nipping at the heels of my psyche - and has been for a while now - it was nice to hear from Doc. It was nice to be given a heaping tablespoon of perspective from someone who has been a friend for as long as he has been a mentor and who has perfected the art of delivering help in a fashion that can be fairly described as "effortless".

He shared with me how he celebrated Christmas in his temporary abode on the other side of the world. And while the words were written and not spoken, the emotion contained within them was palpable. It was indeed a combination platter of memories, good and bad, which shall accompany him on the homeward leg of his journey at year's end and everywhere else he walks for the remainder of his life, which hopefully is many years still in the making.

And in the midst of my little bout of inexplicable angst, good news arrived from another source yesterday. At or about the end of her work day, my wife telephoned me to tell me that her oldest niece Megan and her husband Adam (great name, great guy - just saying) welcomed the arrival of twins - one little boy and one little girl. My father-in-law Joe has been a great grandfather for as long as I have known him. Yesterday he officially became Great Grandpa Joe - and two times over to boot. Although I have not seen him since he first heard the news, I can feel his ear-to-ear grin - as well as those of Nona and Nan, both of whom had seats with unobstructed views in the delivery room to ensure that everything went according to Hoyle for Meg and her babies.

The sea refuses no river....

...and the river is where I am.

-AK

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