After a very long time in motion, I have arrived in Thailand. I'm not sure I can say forward motion, since movement in a direction seems tied to time, and time is out with me right now. Currently waitng for my next flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, by the time anyone reads this I will have been travelling in airports and via planes for 24 hours.
I'm excited to be here in Thailand. It was always the most hyped-up last minute weekend away deal you would see plastered on all Bratislava's travel agent store-front windows. It looked so very inviting every time. Of course, most of those adverts were the beach, not Northern Thailand, with its valleys and mountains and no sea at all.
But there we come to something I've been thinking again about. I say again because this thought is neither a new thought to myself nor the first time I've shared it, though perhaps the first time in the forum of this particular blog.
Place isn't really choosy, so to speak. It invites anyone. Some places draw more people than others, especially some unvoiced thing inside them. Other places draw only a few, but those few are come with the call of the place clamoring in the very core of their being.
It doesn't make pretense, either; place simply is what it is, though it may perhaps not be what we had preconceived (a fault on us, not it). You can be absorbed into a place, grow green or brown or whatever shade predominates. Sometimes we say it claims its tribute of us--perhaps a climbing accident if you are of the mountains, or drowning if you are of the Sea: the completion of your absorption into place.
When my sister and I returned to Slovakia, we sought to see the place itself. The place that called to us, pulling at our hearts from so very far away. A far away which seemed so often insurmountable. We sought to taste, touch, breathe, feel--to smell it, to assure ourselves it still was itself; to assure ourselves it still welcomed us despite the distance stretched so long between us--unwelcome shadow. You can stay in touch with friends easily now in this day and age; a goodbye to a friend no longer need be the death of that friend to yourself; but a goodbye to a country, to a place is still something like a death because you cannot facebook it, skype it, email it, or meet up randomly with it except to go home again to it. To seek it out as we did on this trip. Sometimes even without all these forms of communication which can almost suffocate us now, you still "now" and you can still "pick right back up" with some friends without the slightest ripple.
Ripple. And there it is--the catch. Because people and place aren't isolated from each other, or from time. So while we returned to place that welcomed us home and could keep us again if we would; where we had lived before was in a particular space--an intersection of people, place, and time opening into our place of reality (which again was slightly different for us both as a result of our being individual beings already). This could not be revisited; cannot ever be revisited (unless you are dating Dr. Who...)
Returning releases us from the power of that space; we are no longer tied to it in the same way but are free now to make of that space--as well as the place and people of today, the moment we visited--whatever we would. That is the gift of closure.
The dificulty with people in a place is they haven't usually invited you... you simply showed up on their doorstep and said "surprise!" When we move to a place--any place--we should never expect its welcome to include automatic enrollment in the community, in Society. We are the newcomers, foreigners. Those who have yet to build and to establish trust. And as people ourselves, we must also learn to trust those around us.
People are so much harder than place to establish yourself into. But when you do; people are portable. Build your world into people and people into your world, and you will find home wherever they are, too.