Departure

It’s 1 a.m. I’m sitting in the lobby of our hotel, trying to fill a blog post about the gilding cathedrals instead of feeding the poor, but I really haven’t done my research. Instead I want to talk about how this trip has gone. I guess my laziness is coming out again. Even Wikipedia would probably have been enough, but this trip is such an incredible experience.
Today, I sat on a tank. Yesterday, I toured a collection of 700 year old bishop clothes, and polished the day off by again deciding that I am not a huge fan of beer in a German pub. The day before… I can’t even remember what we did the day before. Wait! I think we watched heavy machinery stamp out door panels at the Mercedes-Benz plant. Before that day, I saw the Berlin wall with a gaping hole in the middle; a testament that humanity can get its act together. I climbed tower after tower, from Delft to Brugge to Paris to Ulm (still can’t believe that thing exists. it’s actually insane). I have seen gas chambers and the a cemetery that stand as a reminder that humanity did not bow to the whim of that madman. I have toured castles and rivers and museums and churches and cities. I have seen some of the greatest works of art in the span of human history and the artifacts of peoples that I have read about since childhood. At every turn, I have been confronted with, well, life. Life that spans back thousands of years. It is hard to describe what I feel or exactly what I am thinking, but I guess it is an acceptance of time. Back home, life feels so fixated on the world ending now, or at least very soon. There is very little past, and even less planning for the distant future. I am getting tired now, but I really don’t want to sleep.
I love the time of night when everyone else has gone to bed. In this time, I feel free to think with the endless hours of comforting night spread out before me. I wish that I could master this moment. Freeze it and share it. The dull light of the closed hotel lobby; the mixture of antique and modern furniture scattered about the room. The impending sense of departure for normal life. But this is my struggle. I wish so desperately that time did not span before me and beyond me. I wish that these moments would return someday. I wish that I ‘could relive my childhood summers, my vacations with all the family, the time spent diving off one tree and under another in the Merced river, the fun times of high school, or those moments when all the world’s answers seem to spring forward from the murky mess of reality. But I can’t. Those moments are gone. Just like this moment will pass. By the time you read this, I will be back in G.R. Probably sound asleep.
That has been this trip. A string of incredible moments that drift away in the rushing current of time. It sounds sad, and I regret their loss, but these moments do not compose my life. I will never live out these moments again, but I hope to visit these places again. Maybe then I can glimpse these old moments just long enough to let them go and to let the new ones sink in.

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