I held onto the handlebars tightly as I glided along the heat-choked streets. Unlike my time abroad, everything about me blended in. Strangely enough I was suffering from a fear of not being discovered. For the majority of last 3 years I have stood out like a sore thumb and people were constantly attempting to know and understand me. Oddly enough, now that I was amongst my own, surrounded by people who looked just like me, I felt unknown by all.
The concrete buildings and jumble of rush hour traffic was familiar, but the streets were lined with faces that although similar to my own were strikingly foreign. I parked, locked up my bike and headed into the meeting. Even though there was no apparent reason I should be at this meeting about Denver's new bike share program because as I mentioned I had ridden my own bike there, I felt the need to go because I knew many of organizations that would be in attendance work in developing world countries and were passionate about it. These fellow explorers were my new tribe and I knew, without words, I would feel amongst my own.
After the presentation was finished the crowd broke into a challenging Q & A session. These presenters were not going to get off easy and with each successful response the crowd turned up the heat as if finding their weakness or mistake would make the evening all the more enjoyable. I had to laugh because although I can appreciate a challenge and got a kick out of the intensity in the room, the topic didn't really call for such intensity and sometimes I wonder if sheer boredom sets a president for prescribed intensity.
After the meeting a gentleman I had met and chatted with over a year ago approached me and asked me about my recent trip and our organization. He had on this fabulous set of thick rimmed glasses and clearly is passionate about his life's work and I was thankful I had come. I wanted so much to belong again. I didn't know what 3 years away would do to my internal compass. I have returned home with a strange mix of expectations and a desire to strike a true balance between my two lives, my two worlds.
Since my return I haven't written much and I can't quite figure out why. It seems my ideas rotate from being ensnared by ordinary life and ensnared by a longing for a connection with someone who lives on another continent. My writing has always been one of my first priorities, but now given I am facing so many unknowns and long for someone and something that is not here, it has lost its urgency. Writing involves imagination and for some reason imagination has been a low priority. What has mattered more is establishing myself in a place while I miss someone from another place. Exploration too, has been problematic because I seem to be playing catch up with the felt anxiety about the economy and given I was away for much of the crash I seem to be working through it at a warped speed and with each new piece of data I feel frozen in fear about the future.
With that said I feel very lucky to have the friends that I have here and with every dinner, BBQ, bike ride or phone conversation I feel myself reconnecting. One thing I always miss is sarcasm and having people see me as a dimensional being with needs and wants is refreshing. The amazing divas in my life having been asking me delightfully penetrating questions and each session spent with them feels like free therapy and I cherish them for that.
My bicycle slows to a stop and I am home. As I walk in I realize I love this little space that I call home and I am excited to get upstairs to be greeted warmly by my dear sweet Tuesday. Later that night I watched the sun set over the mountains from my balcony and could almost taste the shades of orange, yellow and red.