Saturday, October 25, 2014

Journeying

Written during the Hurricane Sandy indoor days, Oct. 2012, while studying at Yeshivat Hadar.

        Sounds like you are really
        journeying,
she said. I knew what she meant, but it still took me by surprise. Woke me up a bit. Hadn’t been thinking of my life like that, hadn’t designated these months as a time for personal development, for growth, for "discovering myself," none of that sort of stuff. I guess sometimes a journey takes long enough that you cease to remember that you're on one, that you're traveling across some sort of internal or external ground. It’s like riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad for three days straight. If you look out the windows you see the landscape scrolling past, but with the curtains shut you can forget you’re even moving, forget that there’s a life to live outside of your companions, your bed, the toilet, the aisle, the water dispenser, the instant soup. You’re stationary. In a space instead of traversing a space. The trip becomes everything that has ever existed—until you arrive, when all of a sudden, it’s like the trip never happened. Your journey, once its own lifetime, becomes some hazy recollection of happiness, a dream bookended by disparate realities, a dream severed from reality. As if you’re a Sorry! or Candyland or Chutes & Ladders game piece that landed on a square, slid along a squiggly path, and ended up on another square farther along the board. For a second you slide along, maybe accompanied by some sort of sound effect, but no one really cares about the squiggle after the fact, not really.
        Except for in conversations about one’s "Jewish Journey." Then everyone’s fascinated. It’s suddenly all about the squiggle, about using calculus to tease out the discrete points and angles and velocities that form the curves of your increasing and decreasing levels of frumkeit. What were the seminal events and people that led you to be where you are today? How did you morph, silently, ponderously, to accept ideas and positions you once ridiculed?...

1 comment:

Joel Knopf said...

Beautiful! I love your prose!