I had a lot of time on my hands. This is unusual. But then, I don't normally take long bus trips. And as I learned this weekend any bus trip is a long bus trip.
As we rolled up the state I tried to not notice the smell of stale urine loudly parading around the isle. I wasn't overly successful. The bathroom was also leaking what I imagine was some citrus flavored odor masking gas. Except there was no masking. The urine must have turned the orange and now, in league, they were alternating attacks on my nostrils. I also tried to not notice the removal of shoes and socks all around me or my aching legs. I wondered how long it would take before we left Manhattan.
|Night run: flowers.|
For a while I stared at the passing scenery. There are pretty flowers that spring up even in the dusty grass between busy New York highways. I even spotted two deer browsing in the hedges. But I soon bored. I tried a book, but as our driver never anticipated the braking cars in front of us we jerked around too much for reading.
Perhaps this is why my thoughts drifted to the really weird. Has anyone else looked up at the sun and in shock not seen it? I watched clouds dim the light from the sun and suddenly I knew I was not looking at the sun but at some strange and distant star in a lonely stretch of emptiness. The star was foreign as were the clouds before it and the trees before them. I had an overwhelming feeling of being in a solar system of unfathomable remoteness. I didn't belong. It was a fleeting moment. But it was real.
|Night Run: moon|
I don't think this was an existential crises. Not that I'm immune to those. Hopefully this was just a change in perspective. I'm sure you've seen a few of those little eye trick pictures or movies. There is one of a spinning grey dancer. If you look at it for a moment you see it rotating in one direction. Then without explanation your brain re-understands it and suddenly the dancer appears to rotate in the other direction. Perhaps for a moment on the bus I saw the world spin round the other way.
I have been known to worry about things. The craziest thing I've worried about (up to this point) is the earth suddenly falling out of orbit and shooting into the sun. I kid you not. This was a real worry. I'm proud to say I managed to get past this rather quickly. But it was real. Panic rose up in me. What if it happened! I would die! That would be horrible! This was last year.
On the bus I didn't feel any panic. This moment wasn't one of worry. The feeling that grabbed me, that surprised me, was homesickness. I was homesick for belonging, even to a planet. Perhaps there are deep underlying psychological problems I need to work through. Perhaps I need to visit the family. Either way, next time I'll take the train.
Stay tuned this week for a post about Seniors and another about my running progress. Please help me support low-income seniors in Chicago by donating to H.O.M.E. today!