Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sri Lanka and Baby Impossibles

I was in a coffee shop I am fond of today, when I heard the owner chatting with a customer. He asked the man why he hadn't seen him in awhile. The customer replied that he'd been in Sri Lanka.

"Oh Sri Lanka, of course, that's where you are when you're not here," the owner replied with a laugh.

I had to will myself not to turn full on green with envy. Sri Lanka. Sri. Lanka. Sri freaking Lanka, I kept repeating in my head. Who is just off in Sri Lanka from their usual daily life in Virginia? Well this man, obviously, and his usual daily life is apparently very fascinating. Besides not turning green, I also had to refrain from approaching the man and asking what he did for a living that allowed a trip to Sri Lanka. I don't know that it has ever even occurred to me to want to go to Sri Lanka, but the name itself sounds like I should've given it considerable thought long before today, furthermore now that it has become obvious that people go there, for honestly, who knows what, I feel I need to be one of those people.

I was already having a highly contemplative day before this. I had the day off from work--yes I work now, hardly worth a mention as it brings me no personal joy, but I do have a pittance of a paycheck coming in--and I was helping DC at his job, saving plants, admiring the mountains whilst driving along, no big, when I realized the sky was down-right radiant. The sun was splayed in that prism-light sort of way and the clouds were scattered everywhere, while the shades of blue from the bottom of the sky to the top were enough to make a Crayola box weep. In short, it was God. And well, being me, I just felt so bowled over by the sheer beauty and enormity of all of it, God, beauty, being a part of it, but somehow longing for more, to blend in with the beauty, that I started to silently cry behind my sunglasses. And then not so silently sob. When DC realized, he of course was concerned but I just explained that there was a profound ache sweeping over me and there was nothing to be done but cry. He held my hand and let me.

Then he let me drop him back off at work and take his car to go and explore my artistic endeavors. I have been obsessed with this town a little out of the way behind marvelous billowing hills and vineyards before even moving here, and I wanted to go there. If there is anything for me in a mood I can't quite understand, it's always best to be with nature. And write.

So it was sitting in one of those perfect oversized coffeehouse chairs, the big worn brown leather kind with a quaint throw pillow and sipping on a Coca-Cola in an old-fashioned glass bottle with a straw--it called to me more than the coffee once I got there--that I overheard the men talking about Sri Lanka, and that same thrumming that had been inside me all day intensified. I didn't get much more work done as I sipped on my Coke, before I packed up my things to leave, and tried to discreetly check out the Sri Lanka man. He looked about sixty with white hair and matching beard, and was dressed like Sherlock Holmes. Psh, why did he get to go to Sri Lanka, he obviously is an old fashioned British detective, what business does he have in Sri Lanka? Well... I guess if he were a Sherlock Holmes type, it could be quite feasible that he'd have business in a mysterious land like Sri Lanka, so fine! Fine, he probably earned it!

As I drove back home on the winding roads, noting that the sky was getting bluer, the mountains blacker and the fields looked like cracked honey, it hit me that going to Sri Lanka felt like an impossible thing. And as soon as I thought the word impossible, my brain did a serious mental slamming of the breaks. I don't believe in impossible. I just don't. Honestly, I get near it sometimes, I poke at the word with a stick, but if I get too close to taste it, I back away as if burned. The word doesn't sit well with me.

I realized that I have been losing a lot of faith in myself lately, feeling like all of my big dreams seem very far off again and somewhere in the impossibility category. But see, there has been a time before in my life when all seemed lost and dare I say it, in the impossible realm, so back then I had to baby step it. When I wanted to run my first 5k and that seemed near impossible, I did things like tell myself if I could run half a mile, just to that mailbox off in the distance, that I could make it New York City one day. Not only did I make it to the mailbox and run the 5K, I made it to New York City, and then went on to run a marathon but it was simply by first believing a very itsy bitsy baby impossible.

I used to do this all the time. Just tackled the baby impossibles and then the grand daddy impossibles like making the tv show The Biggest Loser didn't seem quite as hard, because I had had practice believing a lot of little impossible things and then once I'd done a very large impossible, honestly nothing in this whole grand world felt out of my reach. But somewhere along the way, what with falling down, faltering, losing a little faith, I have stopped even tackling the baby impossibles. Until today that is. Until I heard an old man talking about Sri Lanka and all of a sudden wanted it so bad that it made me nervous enough to have doubts about where my life is going and think unthinkable thoughts, like the word impossible, jarring me back to a time when just running a half mile was the biggest impossible on my horizon.

Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes of all time:

Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
-Alice in Wonderland.

The moral of today's story: I need to get back in practice of believing impossible things, starting with the baby impossibles and working my way up to Sri Lanka. Because mark my words, now that it's in my mind, it's most certainly on my list and I don't buy into impossible. And Sherlock Holmes isn't the only one in on the world exploration game. No sir.


Shawnee said...

"tell me everything about you, you can go on for hours. i don't mind."

one of my favorite things is listening to people's stories...i would've had to resist very much to not tap that man on the shoulder!!

i love this post a lot -- quite a special man you got there. i liked that part too.

Shafi said...

and you have a person from Sri Lanka reading your blog and writing this comment. Sri Lanka really is a mystical place with many wonderful places. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for a lot of the people here. Such a shame. Anyways, I should be here, at least till August. So if you do decide to visit, feel free to look me up. Will be happy to take you around. Chrs. Shafi -