They say that time and space
can heal everything
so I bought a train ticket
for my broken heart and
set it loose to see the world.
The hurt began to ebb
as I watched the last train car
fade into the distance and
from time to time I will
get postcards from my heart-
it never stays anywhere for long.
It goes where it wants
when it wants and I
was never very good at letting go
so I am very happy to know
that it is doing so well on its own.
There is a wharf I like to walk
where the pieces of broken bottles
break upon the shore until
their edges are smoothed and they
become lovely, polished sea glass
that accumulates in the pockets of
vacationers perusing beaches.
I never collect these shiny baubles
because I have always felt that
the metaphor would suggest
that we, the broken and jagged
just need to be worn down until
someone finds us safe enough
to add to their collection on shelves.
I would prefer to stay in the ocean.
There is nothing quite like
the feeling of your body as
your foot departs from the
rocky surface of the cliff
and your body is suspended
in the air for milliseconds-
your heart trumpeting a
perfect cadence of adrenaline
and delicious euphoria.
In that moment your thoughts
are as clear as the water that
is hastening towards impact.
Heights cease to be scary when
you learn to enjoy the fall.
I was walking alone along a path on the waterfront of Catania. I stopped at the kiosks and sifted through rows of fresh fruit and pails of snails for escargot until I was distracted by a lone man on a bench by the sea. I wandered over to him with a forgotten peach in the palm of my hand, drawn by the way he looked sketching the scenic panorama before him.
I sat next to him and watched him execute perfect strokes of lead across the page, envious of the way he could perfectly transcribe what he saw. We performed the traveller’s handshake of telling each other who we were and where we were from, and he showed me his book of sketches. Some of the drawings I recognized from the sights that lay before me but deeper into the book was a visual guide to his home in England. I gazed at expertly composed pages of streams and cottages and felt truly transported to the countryside.
He asked me what Canada was like and I, lacking his artistic skills, instead described the way that pine trees look dusted with snow, and the mountains that cradle crystal lakes between them. I detailed how my city looks split down the middle with a twisting river and deep valleys of green juxtaposed against the cold concrete of the city sky line.
He closed his eyes and said, “Ah yes, I can see it.”
There were two things that I realized in that moment:
The first being how well you can truly appreciate the beauty of home when you are miles and miles away from it. The seemingly mundane things that you would not notice in the day-to-day become features you feel compelled to describe perfectly to do the scene justice to a stranger.
The second was that everyone creates in different ways and being jealous of another’s ability to construct reality is like (as a dear friend would say) counting others’ blessings when you should be counting your own.
If I could time travel
I don’t think I would
try to change the past-
instead I would relive my firsts
slowly and luxuriously.
The first time I fell in love
or jumped from a cliff into water
to remind myself that regardless
of how scary these can be
they were the things that
opened my eyes to new worlds
leading me to where I stand now
and the firsts I have yet to experience.