Friday, August 26, 2011

On the Uses of Travel (or what I did with my summer break)

I am adrift, severed from the sense of time or season that geography lends a life.
Travel has scrambled me, undone my sense of sequence, jumbled spring summer autumn and winter. The calendar of days where I was seems strange now, the unspooling of hours where I am equally odd. I can’t seem to catch up to myself. Where am I, and what is real?

I have no idea.

I race from east coast winter to a season of wind, dry days and cool nights in Mexico. Autumn?—but the calendar reads April, May. Then I return home, briefly, and rush away again, west, to British Columbia.

Habituated to twilight foggy Junes in Nova Scotia, I am frazzled by the constant light. Cold enough for three wool blankets at night, but the portlights stream with sun after 4 am. 18 hours later, we tumble towards twilight. Summer light but not summer heat. When will that come?

Oddly, only north of 50 degrees latitude do we discover heat. And deep fjords winding between snow-covered mountains. There a glacier, and here, seawater warm enough to swim. A landscape of contrasts so large your eyes feel as if they must roll in different directions.

We turn south into cold, and then fly east towards lightening—a strike on the wing!—fog, heat, more darkness. The loon cries; the full yellow moon says fall is coming. So too the calendar (for once they are in accord!), and the sudden onset of school related work.

It’s glorious but confusing. I can’t keep up, my sleep seems forever in arrears.

Adrift, in debt, a little bit lost—that’s sailing isn’t it? We are deranged into change.