I cannot shake one of my most recent memories: winding through roads I know so well, I was taken aback by familiarity. I was almost surprised that everything I knew, was the same. Returning to Harrisonburg, I fell back into relationships that have given me support for years, arms that have held me, eyes that scan me knowingly. I am known, deeply. I am understood, deeply.
I crave the unfamiliar. I feel most comfortable in moments of discomfort, when I am stretched and challenged to bridge into the unknown. Though I love to be loved, with such a depth and so well, I am itching to explore once again.
During spare moments, I ramble through travel blogs, read Spanish poetry and allow myself to become consumed with the news of other parts of the world.
I stumbled upon a beautiful sentiment that Mario Benedetti articulated:
“Todavía creo, que nuestro mejor diálogo ha sido el de las miradas.”
I still think that our best dialogue was between our glances.
What began as an innocent study-break ended up transporting me into a bout of nostalgia.
Instantly, I was thinking of glances that I shared with so many over the past year. With large language barriers, I spent considerable time appreciating people from afar: trying to communicate the beauty I saw with smiles and nods. I knew people by their hands, by eyes that were lined and accented by wrinkles, or by how they traced their scars absentmindedly. I fell in love with the laughter that erupted from small bodies, affirming touches, being greeted by kisses and pulled into hugs. I fell in love with the emotions that mere presence evoked, a knowing that held extreme depth, despite the lack of time.
I did feel as though I knew others deeply. I felt as though I saw them for their truest, external nature: I saw delicate flowers, I saw raging oceans, quiet forests, towering mountains, and colorful skies. I saw thunderstorms, I saw lightning.
I saw sunrises. I saw gardens.
All in glances.
I re-engage with this perspective in sporadic, unpredictable moments. Even though I'm blessed with what seems like endless time to engage in meaningful, exploratory conversation, I'm also able to discern images and serenity from mere moments of interaction. In times when my housemates emerge and cluster in the warmth of the kitchen window that spills with sunlight, they are the embodiment of the purest morning. And when I collapse into their arms, they are the calmest waters, and I can drift in and with them.
I am continually amazed by the amount of goodness that the world holds: the discoverable parallels, the syncretistic components to our lives. And I am continually amazed by the depth of emotion that others can evoke through presence. There is beauty, everywhere, that manifests in the most glorious ways. But instead of fixing my gaze, I am determined to continue to look in glances, to continue to marvel at the forests and universes that surround me. I am determined to remember that there are endless unknowables held within those around me.
And I want to continue to employ this perspective of appreciation. Of surveying people like landscapes, always apt to discover a new dimension to their being.
I will find newness within the familiarity of relationships: as people present and unfold before me.
I continue to be transfixed.