Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Scuse me while I touch the sky

This isn't the usual sort of post I thought I'd want to write, but I don't think the photos would make as much sense without this. Oh, they look fine on their own, but before I move on from Augusta I want to share why my heart wanted to shoot these particular signs.

I don't talk about it much, if at all, but at the beginning and for a very long time life for me here in Augusta was not pretty. It was pretty painful. Moving is nothing new to me, but my experience here was unprecedented. Despite all the times (12) I had moved and thrived Augusta has been the place that shut itself off from me for a long while, as if it did not want me to feel at home here. Somehow, somehow, even the familiar things like Target and Lowe's and Barnes and Noble felt alien and closed to me.

I mean, come on! Those places are familiarity personified. Except they weren't.

Time after time I felt that even though I was trying my best to pay attention and watch what I was doing, I still managed to find that one imperceptible metaphorical crack in the sidewalk and trip over it to fall smack on my butt.

More than once I wondered why I should even presume to want to make a home here. The place was rather intent on reminding me I was 'alien'. Sometimes a tiny part of me would question if this was a not so subtle nudge from the universe, perhaps, to put aside those 'alien' ways.

After a number of 'trips' when I'd lie sprawling on the sidewalk, the wind knocked out of me, I finally got the idea that maybe the universe was acting like that boy in middle school who used to bean me over the head with his spelling book. My parents told me it was because he liked me, to which I said, 'Yeah, right.' I thought I might revisit this concept in light of my circumstances so I picked myself up from the sidewalk and went off to think.

If this was not a nudge from the universe to change my ways, what was it? If this was like the tactics of a middle-schooler with a slight crush, why take action in a place that felt so alien?

Here's the thing about being a stranger in a strange land: I always have myself. I came to see my time here as a license to really just dig in and get to know myself. This was my chance to really look at myself as Barbara in relationship to Barbara, no one else - not my spouse, my children, family, friends, co-workers. Barbara. Just Barbara.

So, I guess I must say that after the stumbling and the tumbling, the pain and the tears in the middle of so many nights, I made it to the heart of the matter.

It feels so good to make that 'victory leap' and touch a piece of the sky. Now, as I finish this post, I find myself thinking that maybe the universe was just letting me know it was glad it finally found someone to play with here. Maybe it was just glad to get someone's attention.

1 comment:

BrianC said...

I only ever had one experience with August. (Have spent far more time in Savannah.) Nearly 20 years ago I met a woman (ten years older than me!) online who lived in Augusta and worked at the Savannah River facility. We chatted for several months on the old Compuserve network - before anyone knew about the "Web." Finally, I was driving back to VA from Knoxville and made a detour through Augusta for a night. We had dinner and I stayed the night. One of my more memorable moments of youthful debauchery.