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Three Days

March 13, 2011

We’re a little over halfway through our trip, and we’ve just returned from a three-day weekend in the Rotorua area south of Auckland. Rotorua is known for its geo-thermal activity: volcanos, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, geysers. And of course, the ubiquitous smell of sulfur. We stayed at a bach, a weekend house, overlooking Lake Tarawera, soaking up every minute we could with our dear friends and their eleven-week-old son. Three days of pure pleasure, our bodies rhythmically attuning to the baby’s needs, our conversations starting and stopping but never really ending. Having lived so far from these friends for almost three years, I was pleasantly amazed to capture comfort and closeness in just three days. When four adults shhhhooosssssh a fussy baby in unison, and simultaneously burst into shoulder-shaking silent laughter, all is right with the world.

It’s been a long time since I spent three days away from email, phone, all forms of communication besides talking (and hugging, and stroking the cheek of a baby). When we arrived back in Auckland last night and checked online, we learned that all is not right with the world. While setting out leftovers, we tried to figure out exactly what was going on in Japan while unsuccessfully absorbing three days worth of horror and trauma. While stuffing laundry into the machine, I also tried to absorb the news from the personal front, the news that something I love, Hawaii Women’s Journal, has suddenly, within three days, come to an end.

So much happens in three days. I wrote a few quick emails and went to bed.

When I awoke, however, I didn’t feel sad. I thought I would. I thought I should. But I didn’t.

I felt acute empathy for the people of Japan, for my Japanese friends, for the women and their families I met while traveling several years back. And I felt acute emptiness from the giant hole that has been left by the ending of HWJ. Yet I didn’t feel the full-body sadness that can often swirl around one’s self and squeeze.

I think it’s because if I were at home, I would experience this as a complete break in my continuum. But here, I am already in a break in my continuum. I think it’s because that during every three days we live, we might add both good and terrible memories. For every one of those good ones, there is certainly a bad one. And for every one of the bad ones, we change our perceptions, possibly even act differently, and wind up spending the next three days doing, thinking, and seeing in ways we might not have. And, in the end, we just live the three days, and the three days after that, doing what we can with each one.

I think it’s because of not-memory, too. Of watching an eleven-week-old smile each and every time his mother sings Spanish love songs, because each and every time it’s just that good.

I think it’s probably because of diapers.

 

Looking forward to the second half of the trip, and to returning to NYC absolutely soaked with new experiences.

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One Comment
  1. what a gift this trip is for you and justin. i am glad. loveyou:)

    Like

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