Lucia has something to say

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Edges of the World

I didn’t have a globe from Isak Dinesen, but I had my father’s National Geographics. And I too marveled at those nations that no longer exist: Tanganyika, Siam, the Belgian Congo, Ceylon. And I too dreamed of traveling to them all.

My subconscious must have drawn me to this book. Sprung from the shelf like a magnet to my hand. I do not watch CNN. And yet, here in this book is a kindred spirit.

I sometimes come back. And find I can’t speak the language either. Too many choices. Paper or plastic? Pouty models hawking lipstick. He captures it. Right there.

When I was a child, I measured my life by comparing everything to living under a horse cart in India. With no knowledge of India. Or horse carts. My childhood self would matter of factly say, “Is it worse than living under a horse cart in India?” And, no, it never ever was.

Steamy tarmacs. Orphanages. Transport in the back of pickups. Roadside trash. Why would I want to go? Poverty. Beggars. Why wouldn’t I want to go? Mattresses tossed on a concrete floor. The makeshift airport. Mosquito nets. The sack of mail in the next seat. Fruits and vegetables for sale along the road. I want. To stand on the edge of the hurricane. To leap the fence. “The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s very easy to fall off.”


Blogger Heather Plett said...

My heart knows your heart. I need to find that book.

9:29 PM  
Blogger KC said...

You really have a great job for you. I'm glad you can travel and see and feel the edges.

5:40 AM  
Blogger QT said...

When I was in college, drama students would re-enact the scene of a horrible accident or natural disaster and we had to interview the "victims".

Honestly, it was the worst part of journalism for me - and it wasn't even real!

I am glad your job allows you to participate in something you feel so strongly about, Lucia. I have not travelled half as much as you have, but I understand part of what you are saying.

The natural disaster part, not so much. :)

6:26 AM  
Blogger Lynnea said...

But are there really monsters over the edge?

Falling off edges of maps - maybe someday.

7:03 AM  
Blogger thailandchani said...

Glad you are liking that book so much. I've had largely the same reactions to it.

And I appreciate AC's passion.



9:01 AM  
Blogger Gordo said...

That last paragraph describes hell for many comfortable, privileged folk. It sounds like heaven to me. Thank you.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

What a great post on perspective!

Things can ALWAYS be worse.

Unless you're the one living under the horse cart. ;)

10:13 AM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

why wouldn't you want to go.

exactly. my hunger is immense.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lucia,

How funny, I was just settling in to comment on you blog, when YOUR comment came to my blog. Harmony. Thanks for your kind note!

Your words remind me of a friend's feelings in 1983 when he returned from a year in El Salvador. He'd seen so much pain, illness, violence, and injustice that he could barely wake up in the morning and walk the streets here -- much less go to a store to buy something. We went to the shopping mall to buy shoes, and he broke down weeping over the stacks and stacks and miles of goods available here.

He ended up going back to El Salvador.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Susan as Herself said...

I imagine living under a horse cart would be better than not having a horse cart at all.

I have come to believe that no matter how bad a situation is, there is always a worse alternative.

I've always wanted to visit India, but I have a feeling I'd be one of those people lugging around a tub of disinfectant wipes everywhere. I'm not proud of that, but that's the truth.

9:48 AM  
Blogger gary rith said...

maybe NO horse cart is worse?

10:26 AM  

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