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On travelling. On 39. And sun. Trees. And oranges.
The thing about traveling is you remember to look at the sky.

Tonight, the last day of 38, I remember the nights of February 6th when I was not home. When I was in another hemisphere, even, staying up late to greet the sun.

I remember the poetry that brought me to those places, those times.

In Spain, a Jaques Prevert poem brought me to Alicante for my birthday:
Une orange sur la table
Ta robe sur le tapis
Et toi dans ma lit

Doux present du present
Fraicheur de la nuit
Chaleur de ma vie


Christy and I watched the sun rise on the beach after a long train ride. Then we went to sleep and woke up to hundreds of doves cooing in the church across the courtyard. She had gone out and bought an orange. And put it on my bedside table.

In Jerusalem the next year, I met a French boy. He actually turned out to be a bit of bad news, but he taught me a poem fragment by Paul Eluard: La terre est bleu comme une orange. You’ve probably heard this one before. I hadn't. I thought it was beautiful and told him so.

In an effort to...er...court me (despite his undisclosed girlfriend) he left a lump of modeling clay and an orange on a table beside my bed.

For my 20th birthday eve that year, it was the Jewish Holiday of the trees, a beautiful if obscure holiday called Tu Bishvat, where (and this is a Kabbalistic interpretation) you celebrate trees as an intersection of the earthly (roots) and spiritual (branches stretching to the sky) and eat special foods mentioned in the bible.

We walked all night to the old city, our backpacks filled with dried fruits, oranges, nuts. And ate it on a rooftop overlooking the Western Wall as the sun rose and prayers rang out. It was sublime. The sky was so beautiful. Everything gold.

This year, I am in my Toronto home. I have been here for many years. I don’t travel much these days. I shuffle back and forth from work with headphones on. My office faces another building. I shrug off the cold and look at the ground.

But this year, once again, my birthday coincides with the holiday of the trees. And it being a lunar calendar, you can count on a fat, full moon in the sky tomorrow night. In fact, it was looking pretty close to bursting when I walked home on this evening, and lifted my head up to see it beaming through the bare branches.

My mother often told me about the day I was born that morning in ’73 after 26 hours of labour, how my great-grandmother Rose came to the hospital, held me in her arms and pronounced “a little ray of sunshine”. I made her tell that story to me every year. No matter how complicated our relationship was, I knew her love was full, beaming.

Back to Spain. I saw Christy the other day. The first time in ages. She surprised me with tickets to a play, out of the blue. She asked about my mom, and out of nowhere the big teary lump came up and I had to bite my lip and force it down again. “Remember when we traveled together?” said Christy. “She was right there with us. The whole time. She loved our adventure. She was so excited for us."

Back to the French boy. One day I was riding the bus in Jerusalem, some weeks after our sunrise on the rooftop. I hadn’t seen him since. I was looking out the window, daydreaming and wondering when we’d see the last rain of the season. And he came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. “It’s good to see you are looking at ze sky! So important.”

“Of course I am looking at the sky.” I said to him impatiently. He was so prescriptive and pretentious with his French poetry and inappropriate courtships. “I always look at the sky.”






«« past   |   future »»

2.7.2012
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post #1535
bio: adina
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2/7/2012
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