Thursday, April 12, 2007

Then we talked about California and Mexico and how, all of a sudden, as soon as one crosses the border, the feeling of being alone, even when in a crowed place, that seems to characterize life in North America, changes. South of the border, one feels part of something (bigger), a community of sorts, like back home - and how opposite this is to the American gestalt where emptiness, inner and outer, but emptiness nevertheless, seems to prevail.

Back in Connecticut, I remember trying to go to the beach and feeling weird, bored out of my mind, empty and lonely, even if there were people around. Curious, I thought. But I didn't make much out of it until a few years later, when my family visited. One day, I took them all to the beach. And they have beautiful beaches back home and it is hard to find someone who does not like going to the beach... Yet, despite all this, after a few hours, when I came to pick them up from the beach, they all told me that they hated it. "There is nothing here", they said. And I tried to disagree, pointing to the waves and the golden sand, and the birds, but deep down I knew well what they were talking about and I agreed.
A friend of mine had a theory about why one feels empty in so many places in the US. He used to attend American Indian sacred dances or, at least, so he bragged. Regardless, he told me about this one thing that he learned from the Indians, which was: when the feeling of emptiness comes, the place might feel empty because the spirit of the land might be dead. Not only the Indians, but the spirit was killed by the colonists. Leaving hollow places, shells growing empty while filling up with people who could not care less. Where there less Indian killings in California? Could this be why the land feels so beautiful and soothing to the soul? As maybe, beyond its beauty, there is spirit that somehow survived to this day...

How I wish to be right...

© Copyright Adrian Preda, M.D.

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