This month, for the first time in my life, I saw a frozen river with my own eyes. It’s almost mythical. The first feeling that came over me was being grateful in the grace of this beauty. What a bliss is to be alive through seasons of new beginnings.
The surface was so white & smooth, a fresh sheet of cover underneath the life goes on as usual. If I had waited long enough, perhaps I’d catch a glimpse of a bird landing on the thin ice, unsure of the potential under the frozen cover. The premise of the unknown is juxtaposed on the imminent & familiar threat of survival.
I’m grateful for the winter sun, generously shining over the frozen pond, covered with the snow of the yesteryear. I see her sparks of orange and yellow on my eyelids when I close my eyes, I feel the warmth inside.
I listen to a perfect collection of roady songs, Tracy Chapman to be specific, while window shopping the lives of drivers passing by.
Here goes the mother with her kid at the back child seat, tired of the day’s chores, proud, focused on the road and the task at hand: get home safe. The comfort of knowing that you’ve taken this road many times before is at times overwhelmed by the anxiety of having to drive in the dark, in the company of those drivers who are always too sure about their skills and drive aggressively, almost always men. “Dear, you don’t have to risk your and others’ life all the time just to prove a point”, she wants to consult them. Yet she knows better, life taught her better.
Here goes someone’s father-in-law, in his 20 year old brown Volvo station wagon. He has stuff at the back, all the way to his neck and some more on the passenger seat. This is not a trip from point A to B; it’s a pilgrimage. He knows he has to stop at least five times before he reaches the other coast. He knows where these stops will be, he is meticulous when it comes to trip planning. He may have chosen the hotels because of their low cost despite their basic decent quality, he is not the kind of guy who would go ‘cheap’ when it comes to dinner. He’ll have a full steak every night, with wine. He knows where these diners are, always within walking distance from the hotel. He knows the foolishness of drinking and driving. Life taught him well.
There is the lesbian couple in their Subaru. Of course I can’t ever know if they are in fact gay; they may perfectly be sisters or just friends. Yet, this is my story and I want them to be lesbians, happily married. There’s a silent joy in their lives, you can see this in their eyes, when they occasionally look each other, not talking. They know each other so well, words aren’t necessary. Don’t take me wrong, they haven’t been this happy all their lives. It’s been tough, ever since both of them discovered who they are and who they love. That unassuming little smile they have, in the last rays of the sunshine of the day almost blinding in the horizon, speaks volumes. This trip is not an escape for them, not a weekend getaway. It’s a reaffirmation of the promise of a new struggle. They are driving back from yesterday’s Women’s March, in solidarity with thousands across the nation. It felt good, really good being part of something greater again. It was a glimpse of sunshine in the middle of the storm of the century. They know this trip back home is not a victory lap. There’s still much to do, much to overcome. Yet they recognize the beginnings of something majestic. They’ve been there before.
As I continue to imagine the lives of people whom I’ve never met, sun sets down for another time. We keep skipping from a sunset to a sunrise. I’m sitting in this bus, going home away from home. It will be another week before I go back to my first home, my sanctuary in her arms. I’ll make these trips for a few times more until all is set and my two homes become one again. Until then, life will go on for all of us, with both the promise of possibilities in the future and the legacy of the past. As long as we cherish each moment and those who add value to the series of moments we call life, the sun will keep rising to keep us warm, to keep the kindle going. Hope in the company of love is what moves this planet. That’s what I learned so far.
This piece is previously published here.