Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Windmills Of My Mind

The world is an incredibly small place only made smaller by the world wide web. I was first made aware of its intimacy long before I had a blog or email or a computer for that matter. It was on a trip to Guatemala when I was 15 with a girlfriend named Alice. We were there for 4 weeks traveling from village to town with her non conventional family and a blatant disregard for our own safety. One evening, while under the influence of liquor and cigarettes Alice and I were sitting down on the steps of a beautiful church in the city of Antigua.

I don't recall a whole lot about the encounter but I remember hearing an older man saying my name, "Anne", and Alice calling him a pervert for stalking us and then there being a moment of recognition on my part and yelling hello as we got up from the steps and ran off to meet up with some local friends for more drinks.

When you are young and your world is so small a trip of 4 weeks is like an eternity. Life is like a spinning wheel that begins at the largest circumference and revolves in making a day a week and a week a month until a year goes by and your "best friend" is a stranger and suddenly you are allowed to drive a car. We had so many adventures and stories that summer I had all but forgotten this silly exchange when I returned to my high school home room and my teacher Mr Tarr. He hadn't forgotten and he reminded me of our chance encounter and wondered what the hell I had been doing in this country so far away from summer camps and family vacations to the Vinyard or Nantucket like my Marblehead peers. A shrug and a smirk we're as much as I could muster. The whole thing zinging completely over my head.

The spinning wheel kept on spinning, the distance between years becoming smaller and smaller and another one went by. At the end of this school year I traveled again but this time with a little more permanency. I was down in Mexico for a few months, attending art school, when I ran into an American boy who needed directions. We small talked to his destination and acknowledged we would probably bump into each other in the little town of San Miquel where we would both be living for the next few weeks. We did, of course, and over a beer he told me he was from a "small town in N.E." to which I replied "me too". But this time I realized the bizarre coincidence and we both freaked when we figured out we grew up about 10 miles apart in sister towns and had at least 3 very close friends in common. Still without email I immediately wrote a letter to one of them to spread the word that we were there together.
About 3 weeks later I took off for the states and returned home to get a job. We hadn't exchanged our contact info so months later when I was with my brother on a random corner in Boston, 13 miles from our hometown, I was caught completely off guard when he popped out of a subway exit just a few feet away. I'm not sure I would have recognized him if he hadn't been wearing the exact same outfit as when I spotted him on the streets in San Miguel while in route to the airport. Turns out he had just that day returned and was trying to catch a bus home to reunite with his family having just learned that his Mother unexpectedly passed away. At that moment someone came out of Tower Records announcing Jerry Garcia's death and I knew this was one of those moments I would remember for a lifetime. It all seemed very surreal.

Now, almost 15 years later I have countless chance meetings and 6 degrees of separation and I relish all of them. I love finding a common thread with a new friend or discovering an old friend in an unconventional way. This blog has brought so many long lost people back into my life and I think back to our days, pre-internet, with awe. Life must have been such a mystery! Old friends forgotten, late night debates over who starred in what movie or the REAL lyrics to a favorite song never to be revealed. Just our own memories and interpretation of events to rely on. Wow!

Last week a friend of a friend happened upon my site while blog surfing. Not the first time and I hope not the last! I look forward to this networking venue to bring inspiring and creative people my way and for me to bring a little somethin' somethin' into the lives of others.

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it's face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
- Henry Mancini

all images via Flickr


Jocelyn said...

Your writing inspires me! I'm looking forward to following your blog.


Anonymous said...

You leave me misty-eyed both your profound words and the memory of Jerry. And wondering who is the kid from Antigua?