What the water wants

“What the water wants is hurricanes, and sailboats to ride on its back. What the water wants is sun kiss, and land to run into and back.”

-Sufjan Stevens

Seven weeks ago, as Morgan and I were packing to leave for El Salvador, I wrote this little lyric in the front of my little travel journal. It had been rattling around my head all that Saturday morning, and as consumed as I was with anticipating what the next month and a half would hold for us, I liked the obtuseness of the words. The way they hinted at some unexpected and much longed-for kind of chaos.

Anyone who has spent extended periods of time traveling, followed by extended periods of time not traveling, can probably relate.

I’ve always been perhaps a bit too enamored of the concept of The Shakeup. Of inviting noise and messiness into one’s life in order to bring the calm, still parts into better relief. During a long, long bus ride through the Salvadoran countryside a week or so back, I got to thinking about Me (a favorite subject!) and about which qualities define me most broadly. I came up with: Restless, curious, anxious, and, for good measure, throw in latent perfectionist tendencies punctuated by broad bursts of shocking laziness.

Mix all that together and I think you get a pretty good description of my mental state on any given day. It also goes a ways in explaining my lifelong obsession with strange and distant lands.

But my misadventures abroad have been pretty legion, as my poor, long-suffering parents would attest. I’ve come to accept the scrapes and bumps as par for the course, but they still smart.

How do you reconcile what you want with what you actually get, ever? Really, though, I’m not being rhetorical. How?

El Salvador was beautiful and warm and visually fascinating and full of wild smells and friendly locals. It was also full of salmonella poisoning and ill-wrought plans and shabby Internet connections and irrevocably changed places that bore little resemblance to their former selves.

And now I’ve been spit back out the other end of said hurricane. Where does all the whirlwinding of these last months leave me, besides just simply Home Again? Sort of at a loss for words and not really digging the whole premise of a contrived and self-contragulatory trip post-mortem. A clean, concise summing up of events feels wrong here, although I am working on a few longer-form narrative pieces about my time down south, especially with regards to what I learned about the civil war.

For once in my life, I don’t want to talk (IE, write) about any of it just now. Instead, how about I just show you two pretty pictures from two great moments? Yes? OK then.

Girl - La Libertad, El Salvador

Pescaderos - Playa Intipuca, El Salvador

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