A Travellerspoint blog

Old Selves

A series of rainy days such that I have forgotten what the sun feels like and that all the world may not be as cold as southeastern Iceland. The memory of warmth is like any distant memory liable to nostalgia--it feels unreal and obscure and simply better.

But the past evening and morning have been taken up by a surprise--an old college acquaintance and his girlfriend suddenly appeared at the campsite.

It was a relief to have four people talking, and dear God, Americans, with American English and American sensibilities, and of course we had all the Stanford memories to fall back on. I noticed with a smile their Toms of Maine toothpaste and Luna bars and care to purchase butter and not margarine. How far it seemed I was from that new bourgeois, over-educated urban young professional self! And yet also so close, so ready again to don that cloak... CSAs, farmers' markets, backyard herb garden, chemically minimal products, cloth bag-toting, reading select articles in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, public radio, film festivals, city parks, volunteering, existential crises, hyper-prepared pre-motherhood, "getting back" to simplicity but never succeeding. Yes, I suppose that's the old me, and I'll slip right back into her old skin and forget that this year happened until suddenly one innocuous day I am bowled over by some memory, and I will sit down and write for several pages, write about what I've lost, what I still have that can never be removed, erased, taken away, all that private life that's private even from me, that represents some continuity of self, an image, a reflection, a glimmer of recognition that floods into a word bath--all of that I look forward to.

For now, though, that all seems as distant as the sun. Certainly more than the three weeks' distance it actually is. Is that all it is? 14 months whittled down to 3 months whittled down to 3 weeks whittled down to nothing? So eternity passes after all. And soon to be back on the conveyor belt. But conveyed where? Death, ultimately, on hyperspeed. Death death death death death. I cannot imagine it. I can, but I don't want to. Death. Oh, but I bet it's not hot but cold, like Iceland.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Iceland

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