Saturday, June 25, 2011

Every Distance Is Not Near


Rohinton Mistry writes, in his wonderful novel A Fine Balance, "Distance was a dangerous thing...Distance changed people." The context of that comment is a young man going off to school in a large city in India, but the fear of distance remains universal. I suppose we have all lost someone to distance. I can think of a few examples in my own life experience when distance unloosed it's dangers on someone close to me. But if change is to be embraced, maybe then distance need not be dangerous.
I see many examples of how distance changed someone for the good. The freedom to be is certainly part of that. But coupled with time, distance really achieves its potential.
I've been spending the weekend about 600 miles away from home. Re-living my life in the city where I previously lived. The changes are subtle and then all of a sudden something crashes down. Today as I drove my truck toward an intersection I used to see daily, I felt momentarily lost. Something was missing. How about a building! I lost my sense of balance because I suddenly looked up and saw air...sky...and the S.F. Bay in the distance. There used to be something on that corner. It's gone. Distance has changed my perception.
I've seen people too who I haven't seen or lived near for a number of years now. As I am muttering to myself how old they look, or how gray their hair is now, I wonder if they are doing the same when they see me?
Tonight, at an Indian restaurant, a beautiful young woman from Nepal was our waitress. My mother-in-law quickly engaged her in conversation by greeting her with "Namaste" and clasping her hands together as many Asian people do. She was so full of life and positive energy and so far from home. Next she wants to go to nursing school in New Mexico. Why there? Because it seems like an interesting place to be. I will probably never see her again, but then again I hope to see her every day.

No comments: