...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Here comes the sun

Today was one of the best days I've had in a long time.

Amy pointed out yesterday while we were on our way to the Saturday Market downtown, that this is my last weekend at Lewis & Clark for about eight or nine months, since the semester ends Thursday and I'm leaving for Chile in mid-July. It's strange to think of it that way, but it's true: I feel as though I have to say good-bye to all my favorite places in Portland, to go to the art museum and the Chinese Gardens one last time. One more day walking around Portland in the rain, one more TriMet trip down to Hawthorne, one more afternoon spent at the Portland Coffee House studying, drinking espresso, and listening to Yo La Tengo on my iPod like I just don't care, except that I do care, and that's what makes it so hard to say good-bye. When I think about not seeing everyone for nine months, I feel like crying and clinging to people. But I hit the wall in terms of clinginess somewhere around early April, and I've been trying to detach a little since then--to try to put a little space between myself and others, to prepare myself to be away for nearly a year. I do tend to get too attached to people, and then I expect too much of them--I know this.

Something about today, though. It was the perfect capstone to a pretty great semester, overall. The bell choir I direct performed during the church service this morning, and it went wonderfully, possibly the best we've ever played that particular piece. The minister asked for prayers for my safe travels in Chile, and after the service several people came up to congratulate the bell choir, or to tell me they would miss me and would be "cuddling me with prayers," and it was just a lot of human warmth and closeness and make me feel loved and watched over.

After church I walked down to 3rd and Ash for our book club meeting, and I felt truly content. It was something about the sun, and the trees, and my new purple bag that I bought yesterday, and listening to Bob Dylan, and thinking about Etty Hillesum, and looking people in the eyes as I passed by and loving them--but it wasn't that intense, painful, ecstatic feeling that goes like a stab to the heart. It was more like a deep-rooted wash of warmth and happiness, and I felt good. Etty writes: "And this grasping attitude, which is the best way I have of describing it, suddenly fell away from me. A thousand tyrannical chains were broken, and I breathed freely again and felt strong and looked about with shining eyes. And now that I don't want to own anything any more and am free, now I suddenly own everything, now my inner riches are immeasurable."

Etty's another topic. I'm going to be writing more about her later. I'm sure this feeling of contentedness won't last forever, and by tomorrow I may, already, feel stressed out and abandoned and nervous. Etty's transcendental moments weren't long-lasting, either, at the beginning of her journey, but I can take comfort in the fact that she started even lower than me, that her relationship with S. was even more disfunctional than my relationships with some people, that she was even more "spiritually constipated" than I am--and look where she ended up.

To borrow her words again, now I feel that "Somewhere there is something inside me that will never desert me again."