FIVE FINGERS NOT THE SAME
A journey begins…
“Come here.” a voice said from…behind me? I stopped my razor mid-stroke and looked in the mirror, away from my lathered face, and over my shoulder to see who might have been the voice of that rather insistent command. No one there. Not that I really expected to see someone else in my small apartment bathroom with me…I knew I was alone. But if I was alone then that meant I was hearing voices and I wasn’t ready to go down that path of thought. I resumed shaving.
“Come here!” This time more insistent. I looked around again, now worried that if I’m truly hearing voices it was time to check into the nearest psych ward for evaluation. As I sat on the bathtub edge to collect my thoughts I heard the command for a third time…”Come here”, this time with a clear image accompanying the voice.
I’m a young boy in my parents’s garage, hammering nails into a board…bending most of them and occasionally making my thumb the unintended target of my clumsy hammering. After a while I hear my father’s voice saying “Come here”…not angry, not judgmental, just… “Come here and let me show you how to do that right.”
Over the next few days I kept replaying the voice and image in my head. The voice didn’t return, but the image wouldn’t quite go away. As I worked to complete the research project I was writing for the Missouri Epilepsy Federation I was often distracted by the meaning of the words and image. The publication was now in its final stages of editing and I would soon be once again unemployed and looking for my next project.
When I arrived late for work the next Monday one of my friends in the office inquired as to why and I replied that I had just been to the health department for a cholera shot. She looked confused and asked if I was expecting an epidemic in St. Louis. “No, I think I’m going to India” was my reply. Now, as of a week ago I had no thought of traveling or especially making a journey as exotic and far away as India. I had neither the finances nor inclination to attempt such an adventure. Yet over the last few days I had begun making lists…cholera, yellow fever, and other vaccinations I needed, passport, and travel guides. Almost without thinking I began checking items off a list for a trip I wasn’t sure why I was attempting or really even knowing if I was actually going to follow through with. I was on automatic pilot…on a ship someone else was clearly piloting!
Note: You have to begin somewhere. I've been wanting to write about my journey overland to India for many years...so, at my 21 year old son's insistence here's the beginning...the first steps...just as I had to take to begin what was an amazing journey of discovery...discovery of an incredible world beyond the one I had grown up in...and of an equally incredible world within. So, if you're reading any of my blog posts you will, on occasion, find random postings about this journey. They will not in sequence...they will not be a travelogue...just thoughts and stories as they arise. Some of them my children have grown up with...told as others tell fairy tales...some may be just recently remembered. Once during my travels I was asked why I was traveling and I remember replying..."I'm collecting stories"...so here they finally are.