Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From Thurber to Berber

Domesticity's getting me down. I feel burdened by the tasks. Maybe it's the hound dog we adopted two weeks ago. As I'm taking shoes out of his mouth or watching him bury bones in my garden, I keep hearing Elvis in my head. Meanwhile at the same I'm packing to go to North Africa, into the desert, as far as I can.

There's a disconnect here. How can I be feeding pig ears to Thurber (named after James Thurber who loved hounds)and reading the map of the Fez medina at the same time? But it seems that I can. I recall how Indiana Jones could teach his classes in archaeology, then take off his glasses, put on a pair of chaps and go chasing the lost Ark.

I can identify. My students don't really know this side of me. As they head to the library or Connecticut for their few days off, I'm going for a camel ride in the Sahara. Once a student of mine went to visit his brother in Hawaii. The brother happened to have a magazine lying around that had a picture of me, dressed in black, riding a white horse through the chaparelle. Apparently the student turned to his brother and said, "I think this is my professor."

I'm not going to lie. I am ready for a change. I need to get away. I've just sprayed bitter green apple into Thurber's mouth so he stops eating my chair. Upstairs I've got my camera charging, my paints and brushes packed, my journal (the beautiful journal my writers and wanderers made for me this spring) ready to go.

I am filled with excitement. Anticipation. And yet I don't want to be cut loose. I don't want to be one of those balloons that floats away into the sky. The truth is I want to be tied to someone's stroller.

I recall speaking to a friend the other day about this. I told her that I'm not interested in just wandering. I don't want to be a nomad with no address. For me it's the tension between here and there, home and away, that makes all of this interesting. And by this I mean life.

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