Monday, December 10, 2012
I've got a gypsy soul to blame
I spotted the children and opened my arms wide declaring, "today we learn about Russia!"
I put heavy emphasis on the R, flapping my tongue like a rattlesnake to sound appropriately Russian. They stared at me large-eyed, mouths agape and then began to grin. Hey, I have never been one to do things in half measure. And if I am shaping the minds of children right now as my current career endeavor, well then I want to make an impact. I want them to remember Russia and the Trans-Siberian Railroad far into adulthood not just because it stands out in their mind that their teacher arrived adorned in furs and speaking in an accent, but because I want them to believe these places are worth wondering about.
We sat down on the floor so I could read them an itinerary as if we were about to embark upon the majestic Trans-Siberian, trekking from Vladivostok to Moscow. I told them that we would pass Lake Baikal, the world's oldest lake containing 20% of the earths fresh water, that we could stop and visit St. Nicholas cathedral, see mountains and villages, make a pit-stop for the Russian ballet, all of this on a 17 day train ride through Siberia.
I myself was wooed just talking about it. The more I read to them about Russia and watched as they sketched out maps of the Trans-Siberian Railway, I longed to merely blink my eyes, Bewitched style and suddenly be standing in Moscow already set with my thick furs for a cross country adventure via rail.
Alas life does not work with just the snap of the fingers, but it does, however, work with magic. Teaching my lil students about far-off places that I dream of going was a nice lesson for them, but an even better refresher course for me. It reminded me that all I do right now is simply preparing me to get there. Oh and not just Russia and its railways, especially the lesser known Baikal-Amur Mainline railroad, which I read about this summer and have been having soul-shattering fantasies about ever since. You know how people think of what they would do if they won the lottery, those kind fantasies? Except apply that same sighing whimsy to how I feel about seeing the entirety of this world and its people, creatures, waterways, mountains, canyons, prairies, festivals, legends, lore... oh gosh, I feel downright heady with the possibilities.
In fact, just reading some of the facts about Russia aloud to the children would cause an exuberant squeal from me. While they were excited and attentive about Russia, they couldn't understand that my mere relaying of information about another world was feeding my soul in a way it yearns to be fed.
Let me be clear. There are things I want in this life. There are things I need. And there are things I cannot live without. And riding a hundred something year old railroad through the wilds of Russia is something I cannot live without experiencing. Along with getting my face obliterated by tomatoes in Spain, or learning to work on a lobster boat, seeing huskies take off at the Iditarod, hiking the Appalachian Trail, seeing whales off the coast of, heck who cares, I just want to see whales, hearing Native American drummers, sifting through cranberry fields, or sunflower fields, or any field that I have not yet explored... these aren't just wants, they aren't just needs. They are deep and borderline debilitating aches for a life I am certain I was somehow already a part of.
Maybe I kid that I was a mermaid because I am so found of the sea, but maybe I was a mermaid.
Or maybe I was just a sailor. Or an explorer. Or a lost soul. Or a dignitary. Or a pauper. Or a poet. Or a dreamer. Or a storm chaser. Or an acrobat. Or a wild thing.
Or maybe God put infinite desire in me to know and recognize the places I must see and the lives that must intersect with mine. And he gave me the acute fluttering of my heart and pining of my soul to know when I have found something that is somehow already a part of me. A place I was meant to go back to. Or a person I am meant to know. Maybe I wasn't there in another life, but I am meant to be there now.
I know this.
I may not know much else about understanding life and all its fickle uncertainty but I do know that my soul is a wanton gypsy that needs to wander this earth until the soles of her shoes are scraped off and she is too weak to stand.
That is what I know.