March 23, 2006

Other Lives

Most of us have led other lives. I do not have to roll back the years too far to see myself as another person, standing in another house, thinking thoughts that would be foreign to me now. I am always amazed when I meet people whose paths are orderly-in which one dot leads to the next in a straight line-and I am almost offended when someone from my childhood tells me, "you know, you haven't changed one bit." I suppress the urge to to curse, and tell them the lie they expect to hear, "you know, you haven't changed either."

Sometimes in dreams I am transported to one time or another. I will be back in Rajastan sitting on the roof of an overcrowded train, watching the monsoon sweep across the desert, waiting for the men who sit cross-legged on elephants to raise their umbrellas one by one. I will remember what it was to be a shaggy haired nomad detached from the world experiencing that moment: the smell of the rushing hot air, the blue holy man, immobile, his hair whipping around his face, the roar of the train, and those umbrellas going up. I will forget I am asleep in my bed next to my wife and child. Except for a lingering feeling akin to deja vu I do not remember what will come, so I will lose myself in the rain, and feel all joy and sadness I felt back then.

Sometimes these dreams go on for eons, but invariably I will be pulled back, startled by my smiling son with a poke to the face and a burst of speech in strange toddler language best described as a Gallic yodel. In the seconds that make up that post-liminial eternity I cross the divide. I am that guy on that train and I am this guy now. Soon... by the time I am fully awake the other lives fade back to their proper place and I am ready to start the day. My one lingering sadness: knowing this moment, this day, will be one that someday I return to in dreams for I will be someone else, in some other house, in some other place.

posted at 12:54 AM by raul

Filed under: fatherhood


03/23/06 12:20 PM

I want to tell you our morning routine.
I am awake first. I visit your site and a few others and make print outs.
I then leave the printed copies on the breakfast table.
Soon the other O'Clery's join and everyone reads the pages. If a piece is particularly good dad will read it aloud. Heading East is read aloud quite a bit, a small honor of course, but important for us. If you ever find yourself in Derry Ireland, please look us up. As you often say, "you won't be sad."

03/24/06 08:29 AM

My first time visiting your blog. (Just found your flickr through a picture on the mainpage.) This resonated with me.. I can definitely relate.

Also, that's pretty wild about the O'Clery family. Very cool. :)

03/24/06 01:22 PM

Beautiful. Another Raul classic.

03/27/06 06:27 AM

so nice

11/13/08 02:03 AM

I've been having this nostalgia too so strongly lately. Not of Rajastaan but of Tato Pani and my first night trekking, accidentally alone, in a guest house cold and excited. I've started aching these days now over moments and friendships while I am in them because I know they are passing.

That's a poignant moment sense you've described. Thanks for that.

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