One day until I leave for India and I am in full worry mode: the laundry, bills, children, work undone, calls left unreturned. It amazes me that I love to voyage as much as I do because the dither leading up to such a trip seems to augment with age. Perhaps it is, as my daughter mentioned to me today, “Life has so much to do, bills and work and laundry that have nothing to do, it seems, with life.”
And yet in the end it is this quotidian which binds us to our lives. What I adore about a trip to a far way, never before seen, by me, land is that I know everything will be different. Every scent and taste, each bed, coverlet, all the thank yous and good byes will assume enormous power and for the duration of my trip these details will gloriously eclipse my daily life so entirely that I will be someone else. Yes I will still be a mother and wife, and a forever friend, but I will be seeing in the haze of a Mumbai sunset, and watching others wash, all colors and gauze. I will walk where my feet have never trod, instead of plodding furrows along the Hudson or knowing the time of day by the clip clop, frisky or downtrodden of the police horses who mark time as I write. All will be different, and so the cells I make, the poems I memorize, the food that will fuel me to think and remember will all change me in a remarkable way.
In truth no one may notice but me. And that is another marvel because I am on a secret mission to transmigrate my soul through all my senses.
Tomorrow I will walk the Hudson to recall that light. I will hold the kitten tightly until he purrs, so in case I have troubled dreams I can recreate his sound and his heft and his dusky, garden dirt scented paws and fall asleep in a known world. I will kiss my children and my husband and then when the door closes and the taxi takes me away, I may cry. Because transitions large or small, joyful or laden with sorrow bring me to tears. I am built that way.
But at the airport I will be ready to construct my nest for a daylong flight. I am primed to pretend that I will love to read every untouched New Yorker story and cram poems into my head as I wing. And then a day later, at midnight I will walk out of the trashed airplane and touch down in India.
And in case I can not fall asleep thinking of coco the kitten I may try the remedy of poet Vera Pavlova. Here is her poem A Remedy for Insomnia
Not sheep coming down the hills,
Not cracks on the ceiling –
Count the ones you loved, the former tenants of dreams
Who would keep you awake,
Once meant the world to you
Rocked you in their arms
Those who loved you . . .
You will fall asleep, by dawn, in tears.