Sunday, June 15, 2014

On Chasing Contentment

As a general rule, I'm the kind of person who likes to plan. The grass is always greener, you know, and all to often the other side of the fence is on the other side of today. I do so love to plan for tomorrow, so much so that sometimes I forget about today.

Today I am sitting in a cafe here in Copan. Five minutes ago a torrent of rain ended. Thirty minutes or so before that the sun shone so bright that I moved my chair into the shade. And when the rain with a crash broke through the sky and the winds picked up, bringing mangoes from the trees down to the ground, the air was mist not air and the brilliant sky grew dark. But more rapidly than I thought possible the crash of rain ended with a whimper, the sky brightened, and now I can see two lizards running back and forth across the grass beside me, upright on their back legs, dinosaurs in miniature. Who knows what the next thirty minutes will bring?

I think I am content with today even though, right now, I cannot plan for the next thirty minutes. I've often sought to chase contentment around the world and back. On dark January days it is my habit to slip into googlemaps, plotting trips and looking down roads in places on the other side of my today,  places that are not my place.

Ten days ago I was preparing for the other side of today, dreaming that distant future that is now my today. And, unlike my habit, as I planned I was content with my little house in Vancouver, my walks to the beach, my homework and my work with kids.

Now that I am here in Honduras I am still consumed with planning for future events and exciting days to come. But I appreciate these moments when a torrent transforms the brilliant blue of the sky into darkness and I'm forced to remember that this moment is my present, and it is good.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On Packing

I've been purging life's detritus of late. 

I've faced my inner hoarder, the girl whose freezer overflows with a stash of frozen bananas (fourteen if you must know), endless quantities of ends of bread and an empty container of ice cream that remained in the freezer for who knows how long because I was too embarrassed to acknowledge by tossing it promptly just how quickly I finished eating it. I've been chasing after loose ends, making calls to soandso about suchandhsuch, going on errands to find a bitofthisabitofthat. 

I've been gathering these loose ends and dropped threads together into a mound of yesterday's newness and today's trash, moving what I need and tossing what I don't. It's funny how it all builds up around me. 

It isn't comfortable to say goodbye to my detritus. Its build up makes me feel comfortable, at home. I know I am at home in a place when my freezer has fourteen bananas, a past collected with high hopes of future banana bread. But even though packing is a temporary bother, it means new beginnings. In this case, in two (goodness gracious, two!) days I'll be boarding a plane and heading south to a town in Honduras where thunder strikes the night sky and where the cobblestone streets hum with stray dogs and taxis and streams of people. I'll be serving with UrbanPromise Honduras once again, this time as intern director. It is a good beginning I'm moving towards in the midst of present endings. 

I want to start chasing after words again in the midst of my travels. Words have been elusive lately, easily found to write a book report or an email, but less available when just for fun. But they help me to piece life together, to figure out how yesterday becomes tomorrow and how my hoarded bananas are actually (perhaps?) a symbol of hope. 

I've decided to use this blog (rather than for this year's journeying so please take a look here now and again to see some pictures of where I am and what I'm doing and (hopefully) some words that strive to piece it all together.