Monday, April 18, 2011

Carry me home

I started out this life with Catholic influences. St. John Neumann church, with its brick interior shaped like an inverted boat. I remember the puzzling blue toilet water in Father LaRocca's residence. At some point in time, I wore a frilly little dress and had some holy water splashed on me. Nevertheless, Sunday School didn't stick. I never quite became a Catholic, but I developed an affinity for the religious kitsch - especially prayer cards and paintings of saints.

in my journal: a little baptized me.

In high school, I made a little beaded necklace with a Saint Christopher pendant, a gift from my high school boyfriend's mom when I started {recklessly} driving my purple Chevy Camaro with T-tops. I hung St. Chris on my rearview mirror to ward off speeding tickets. In college, when I was studying Spanish at Fundacion Ortega y Gasset in Toledo, Spain, I marveled at the colossal painting of him crossing a river with little Jesucristo on his shoulders, faded and peeling on the cathedral's wall.

I was in Mexico last December during Puerto Vallarta's Virgen de Guadalupe celebrations, with parade floats of little girls donning virgin blue capes. I marveled at the feathered Aztec dancers approaching the cathedral with drums, hoots and yells, and stuffed my face with sugary donuts from street vendors. Across the street in the obligatory Cathedral Shop, I stocked up on prayer cards - of course St. Chris was in the mix - a nod to my secret protector.

I've spent the last 2.5 years as if I had a terminal illness, racing around the planet collecting memories and stories as quickly as I could, always anxious that I'd be missing an opportunity if I just stayed home. I've been terrified to waste time on the mundane details of everyday life. This most recent trip - a combination of a consultancy (setting up a USAID/OTI project on democracy and governance in Kenya) and product development (checking in on One Mango Tree and working on designs and supply chain issues) - lasted 2.5 months. Over the course of those months, the messages in my journal changed, from "Let go of knowing" to

Carry me home.

All I can think about is growing herbs and vegetables, cooking wonderful meals, and lavishing in routine. Building a nest and tucking in.

a list of ways to stay put.

creating a space to work from home.

books. bed. sit quietly, do nothing.

From The Alchemist:

"...before they left, he came back to the boy and said 'You're not going to die. You'll live, and you'll learn that a man shouldn't be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and looked for a ruined church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, I would find a hidden treasure. But I'm not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream.'

And they disappeared.

The boy stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids. They seemed to laugh at him, and he laughed back, his heart bursting with joy.

Because now he knew where his treasure was."