Land Of Nod
Every time I fall asleep into that Land of Nod, I trip back into my seat on the coach bus back to Amsterdam. It is impossible to sleep erect on these seats that can incline but only when there is no one behind me. Every seat is filled and dark. Everyone silent with their eyes closed. A cough, a rustling and squeaking of seats. Blue lights aglow above their heads, except for mine is a bright halo of white above my knees where my notebook and pen lay waiting. There’s no where else for me to look. The window beside me is dark with miles of country side and outside the lights in the distant no more than the fading twinkling stars in the sky. My own reflection glares at me in that glassy black void. It’s rude to stare.
My Doctor Marten’s have saved my cold feet on this European trip in December but on the bus they are hollow and tucked away under my seat. My feet burns in the knit socks I bought for this weather but I feel uncomfortable to strip them in this public bus. I will have to wait to do so in the plane where everyone is too busy thinking about their own plight. And twice this year I’ve had to wear leggings underneath my jeans. The other time to London, Paris, and Spain in forsaken February. The tights feel like cellophane against my skin. I’ve never thought my legs needed room to breath.
Bruges is beautiful but I find it hard to find the words to tell you about this medieval city. I don’t have the words for I’m afraid I won’t do it any justice. I lack the experience it deserves or the time to conjure the ancient words like brewing magic potion from the witch’s cauldron. It takes time. One by one, hand by hand, year after year, they’ve piled the stones and bricks to the church and bell tower like paved roads up to God. How could I find the words in just a few hours wandering the city gathering images from a flash of light to my camera. All I can say is that Belgium’s legacy for great beer, waffles, and chocolate is all too real.
Why do we travel so far to live a moment so short? Memory fading the moment we step onto the bus back one step closer to where we came from. What is gained from traveling? My husband asks me. And I have to say, I had a hard time finding the answer to those words too. I said, Something new to see. To collect photographs to show our friends, family, and possibly grandchildren. But so what? We’re on the other side of the planet! So what? If we can’t remember but a fraction of the trip.
My ass is flattened by the weight of myself always seated in buses, taxies, and hours on the plane. Hard plastic seats at airports, cafes and bus stops. Built in arm rests. Can’t fall asleep here. No one wants you to be too comfortable. Scram. Off you go. Get on your way to your next destination. Where? Why? What more can I gain? A hundred more photos added to the memory of my precious phone. Great, let the computer retain all my memories. Relive them another day. Not now. Now I must add a filter to my photos and check in my location so that everyone knows where I am. Half way across the world. I’m a real traveler now. Five countries in one year collecting memories I store on my phone, seeking experiences I can’t find the words to tell. Oh, God help me.