Surrender. You’re Surrounded.
This is what happens when you spend a lot of time on public transport or in airports. I think. About where I’ve been, what I’ve done, where I’m going and where I want to be. Then I write – actually truth be told the thinking never finishes before the writing starts, I’m too impatient, and consequently, the words are probably jumbled and poorly planned.
Sitting here, next to a plug socket and some kind of service door next to gate 27 in San Diego airport, I’m thinking about the month I’ve spent in the states. I started in Utah where I was immediately embraced in the arms of the Bowman family, not just ‘hosting’ my stay in conjunction with the Banff Mountain Film Festival, but treating me like family, as did their close friends. If anyone is used to feeling comfortable with almost complete strangers its me, but I wouldn’t expect others to feel the same way. In so many cases in the last few years of my life however, they seem to. I refuse to believe that the only reason I meet such lovely people is through luck. No way, otherwise the only lottery ticket I’ve ever bought would have turned me into a millionaire. I’t didn’t.
Then, After Utah, it was LA where others – also almost without exception complete strangers – welcomed me into their fold. I don’t necassarily have a lot in common with some of these people, and my sometimes over-critical attitude had to be reined in as I encountered very little of the shallowness that LA is famous for. Then, from one extreme to the other – Lompoc, where Ernie – the linch pin of my journey over the pond – tolerated me sleeping within a foot of him on the fold down booth in the RV. I might be less surprised if Ernie was my age, but he’s more than twice that and very often it seems that the older one gets, the more inflexible one becomes in terms of habits and breaking them. Ernie could, justifiably, have accused me of being a bossy unsympathetic slave driver, but he didn’t, he even seemed to enjoy my visit – a relief given we will be spending 4-5 months together.
Then south to spend time with the people that cradled my two wheeled journey on both sides of the US/Mexican border three years ago. Things have changed, the children have grown, families have divided or fused, memories have shifted slowly over time like chinese whispers. But the kindness is just the same.
Strangely, and perhaps stupidly, the seemingly ubiquitous kindness makes me sad or confused. After more than two transient years in the saddle with ever changing stimuli, I already have an unhealthy fear of getting stuck in one place. It would be a little easier to do however a bit of nastiness corralled me in to one small friendly space. But it doesn’t. You can find kindness everywhere if you’re not counting the cracks in the pavement.
I’m grateful to all of you for making my life so pleasantly frustrating…..