Friday, 4 June 2010

Departures and Arrivals

"I never travel without my diary. One should always
 have something  sensational to read in the train".
Oscar Wilde

There is always something very exciting about departures. I have a feeling of thrill invariably at every train station, every airport. Illusion of a new beginning, of a new venture. People, connected strictly by one purpose – to go someplace else, to leave - for a day, a week or for good. Change is the only constant.
This time I am travelling by plane and the diary I am holding is not mine, but of Anais Nin, her Vth volume with the trip to Mexico (I thought it was a suitable occasion to reread it)… While she is floating in the hand-carved canoe near Acapulco, I am being checked for drugs and explosive materials; I am changing terminals, cities, countries. I am waiting. The sun is shining through the glass walls of the airport café in Riga (a pleasant change). Soft trumpet music is pouring out of the speakers. It’s a near-perfect transit experience…The power sockets are different and I cannot plug my laptop.
“I had a recurrent dream always of a boat, sometimes small, sometimes large, but invariably caught in a waterless place, in a street, in a city, in a jungle or a desert. When it was large it appeared in city streets, and the deck reached to the upper windows of houses. I was always in this boat and aware it could not sail unless I pushed it, so I would get off and seek to push it along so it might move and finally reach water. The effort of pushing the boat along the street was immense and I never accomplished my aim. Whether I pushed it along cobblestones or over asphalt, it moved very little, and no matter how much I strained I always felt I could never reach the sea” (Anais Nin).
I cannot push the plane nor change its course when it lands in Samarkand instead of Dushanbe due to thunderstorms. More waiting. More Nin’s diaries: “I took delight in the market. There mere arrangement of ribbons women wore in their hair, the decorative way fruit was laid out in huge round baskets, the birdcages, the smell of melons and oranges, the playfulness of the children. I took delight in the animated and crowded square, in the jetty where the fishing boats returned with their colored pennants flying. I loved to watch the fisherman pulling in their nets at sundown.”
Finally arriving to Dushanbe at daybreak. The air is warm and fresh from the storm. Crowds of people outside of the airport, many of which are taxi drivers offering their services. The young driver of a shared cab I took starts racing with another taxi on the busy morning street…he is grinning in the back mirror. City overflowing with fountains. Breakfast of sweet cherries and apricots and green tea. I am so far away from home and yet this is home.


  1. Those are beautiful words.

    Departures and arrivals are inevitable.

    Why do we fear it so much? Do we dislike the inconvenience? Or is it more likely that we cannot accept that nothing remains the same for long?

  2. P.S. Sweet cherries, apricots, green tea, and sunshine are worth the trip.

    One quote:

    "For the most part we humans live with the false impression of security and a feeling of being at home in a seemingly trustworthy physical and human environment.

    But when the expected course of everyday life is interrupted, we are like shipwrecked people on a miserable plank in the open sea, having forgotten where they came from and not knowing whither they are drifting.

    But once we fully accept this, life becomes easier and there is no longer any disappointment."

    -Albert Einstein

  3. I like departures, big and small. The feeling of moving forward, no matter if it's just a grocery trip to the nearest town, or crossing the ocean... Arrivals are more difficult: I am tired and cant give 100% of myself to those who waited...departures are more clear, definite, arrivals can be confusing. Shall we stay in transit area?...

  4. P.S. Sweet cherries alone were worth the trip :)