…shape-shifting and soul-changing
…trains through snowy landscapes, passing friendships that last as long as the time to the next destination, many night-time border-crossings, feeling timeless, feeling at the mercy of fate, feeling the wild bandits lurking in the forests and I am sure they watch me from their hiding places, from their spots just behind the dark foliage of that dense pine forest wilderness…. Bandits posing as border control, my final disappearance only prevented by someone’s last minute change of mind, but of course I have no proof of any of this.. After all they pretended to be border control, didn’t give away their bandit identity with passes and formal introductions…
I arrived in Sofia, “Time present and time past, are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past..” ..”..all time eternally present..” , yes T.S. Eliot, I agree, time past was there with me in time present… We shook hands when I stepped off the train onto a, communist grey, communist imprinted, now democratic new European Sofia central station platform…. and still the scent of the past is so strong, it is more present then the air of a fresh 2008 we would suppose, would expect to smell like. I couldn’t smell 2008 but a lot of 1988. So again I found myself time traveling… See I am living proof time travel is possible, and it does leave a lasting effect on one’s heart and bodily tissues, but not the effect that an astronaut might experience, somehow it’s different. One’s soul changes. A nip and a tuck on the tissue here and there, not performed by skilled surgeon’s hands but by time, by traveling from this zone to another, by crossing human realities, intangible forms, shape shifting as I go along, leaving me changed irreversibly forever…
… walking in knee-deep snow with heavy luggage, putting a wild dog in his place, making decisions, making not enough decisions, looking for answers, finding more questions, chance meeting with mystical figures from the past, unlikely arrivals in hidden places just in time for most beautiful rituals, finding needles in haystacks and I wasn’t even looking, standing for an hour in a ceremony that told me I was in the late Middle Ages, perhaps the 16th century or so, learnt that 4 is 2 and that friendly helpers have motives I never understood, the only woman on this carriage was me and so I received special treatment and a compartment all to myself, the sink froze shut that night, much maneouvering of the train, back and forth and back and forth four times before all the carriages were re-connected in the correct way, where would mine go..? Did they get it right or would I wake up in Greece instead of en route on the tracks to Istanbul?? Careful glimpsing out of the windows not wanting to provoke a border-patrol as I had inadvertently done somewhere between Serbia and Bulgaria, resulting in sharp bangs on my window and mean looks worrying me if it was an imprisonable offence, uncomfortable registering of the deep snow in which I could just disappear until the big thawing in march or so, blue, deep frozen, freeze dried and who would ever know?
… eventually arriving in Istanbul two hours after the first onset of train-fatigue, beautiful sunshine, spending time, weeks, too much bread, not enough tea without sugar, eyes opening to the realities of our world of differences, East and West so bloddy far apart, cultural gaps greater than diplomacy perhaps… The deep discomfort of the new understanding, some hopelessness for the first time in life, maybe the populations of the world will never unite harmonically, feeling disturbed by the divide that faith causes, would one god allow his creations to be so pained in discord? Can I believe that?
…Whirling Dervishes, grilled fish sandwiches, a lot of walking, some art, friendly independent cats, over-friendly employees trying too hard to recruit our custom, some late sunshine, sad departures, return to flooded kitchen and broken fridge, how come breakdowns don’t come in individual packages, 2 at the time of one… lots of disinfectant and now I am here, gazing through my window, into a sunny world. Time to re-join that life here.
I discovered Roibush and Vanilla tea, my inexplicably huge comfort. Welcome home to me. How is the world from your window?