Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vietnam from the Back of a Bike

It started when I was a kid in the back seat of my parent's station wagon, looking up at the black sky as we rolled past all the farm houses and church steeples and pine tree tops that scattered past the edge of the window as we roared by.
I used to lay on the back trunk floor of the wagon, no seat belts then. Sister Lisa curled up with chin propped on elbows, little bro Grant fast asleep on her lap. As we roared into the blackness, I would think of people I knew. Just faces really, an usher at church, some kid's older brother I knew about from gossip at school, or a neighbor kid down at the river, I would think about their lives. I would think about them so deeply, and how they would never know.
I still do that.
I think so deeply about people that have basically no idea I exist. I meet them at a party and shake their hands or run into them in the elevator at the gym. I piece little bits of information recieved from all our mutual friends and create a visual. I wonder about what troubles them, what soothes their lives, what they chase, and I whisper for them.
I know that people are self-centered and follow only their vain interests. That no one is good. That to a person, everyone in the world will do what is best for them, and not what is good for the other. I know that.
So it's probably crazy, but I can't help it. It's either that I am just too curious or care too much.
Either way, I'm still that little kid in the backseat thinking about people that have affected me and I just hope they know how important they are to me. Even it we don't speak anymore or I have lost them somehow, I'm still thinking about them.
It think travel does that to you. It does to me. I could be hanging off the back of a train in India or on some slow boat through China or standing on a deserted tarmac in Eastern Russia or in the black night heart of some unknown city stumbling my way home, and I am thinking about you.
Today I rented a bike and tore out of the city of Hanoi, up north past the ceramic villages and silk farms and perfumed pagodas and just saw the world unfold. There is nothing like seeing the world from the back of an motorbike. The things travelers know. The things we hear in whispers. Most people will never know. They will never see the world this way, to learn it's secret possibilities. I feel so rich. I feel so alive.
I am thinking about you. You who do not know me or think I am important or redeemable. I am thinking about you. I am praying for the world for you, all alone by myself, because for some brief moment you mattered.
And I want to matter too. So you may not know me, or know me anymore, but from the back of this bike, it's meaningless. Because we're one. You and me and this open road. We're one.

No comments:

Post a Comment