As my work here in Greenland comes to a close, and the end is days
away instead of weeks, my nose is bump-up-against the thoughts
that I might never be back to this harsh, but beautiful piece of
earth. I've made my regrets about the "lastness" known to friends
and associates, and I'm hearing the expected "so is this your last
trip?", "will you miss it?" questions which might be truly only
inquiries about me, but might also have some basis in fact-finding,
preparing themselves for the journey that I am now on. I am being
watched with the same curiosity as they might view an accident along
the road or of someone in a sick bed. We all want to know more about
our limits and our future.
That all aside, I will say that I WILL miss traveling, but not the difficulties
of traveling. I will miss most the people I have met while traveling,
especially those who have shared their hearts with me, who will always be
one with me, in me. The places are only that: places where the PEOPLE work,
play and live.
Oddly, I have only just come to this realization. While looking around
for photos that I "needed, but haven't taken" to keep the place in my mind,
and then seeing that THAT task was hopeless, I saw that the people already
in my heart constituted the place, that remembering them would reconstitute
the place, the scenery on the stage.
On rare occasion over the past 40 years,I have returned to the town where
my grandparents lived, a place where I spent many summers. There is nothing
really charming about that town in the forgotten coal fields of east-central
Pennsylvania, but each of the visits have been like a homecoming for me, I've
experienced the same joy driving down Coal Street toward 1114, just as I did
when I was a child, just as if gram and gramp were waiting in the kitchen for me.
And, each time, I have also experienced the sadness when I have had to then
drive by the house, not able to get the hugs I've been without for all these
years. The place would be just another dusty little town, without the people
The souvenir T-shirts will fray, a photograph's importance will fade,
but, the friendships and loves you have helped build, will stand up to time,
YOUR time at least, and maybe longer.
Updated: 4:48 PM GMT on May 03, 2009
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