On my last night in Ghana, I reunited with my lover for the first time somewhere other than the east coast of the U.S. This time, to my right she stretched out until reaching the shores of Brazil. Directly in front of me, her vastness lapped against the western coast of Africa before freezing against the tundra of Antarctica. Her 70° F water swirled around my feet and sucked back into her dark abyss. The breeze and aroma was exactly where I left it on the other side and to the north. Ever since I was a boy she captivated me and drew me near to her. It was her moods and her mystery but most of all, her presence that always left me so small and humble; a feeling unlike any other: a salty elixir that cannot be surpassed. Since the dawn of creation her waves have been in motion, never ceasing, her liquid-being older than time, a reflection of the Master Artist. I felt so blessed to live beside her, to work and inhabit a coastal town so dependent and in love with her. Of all the places and cities I could have ended up, my love of journalism and photography led me to my lover, where I truly belonged. Rather than inhabiting a place and career that would have diminished my time and creativity, I was blessed with the opportunity to be with her, in a place and a career that provided me with the time, space and creativity to do things that included venturing all the way to her other side to see her from a new perspective. The same feeling of love traveled with me to the beaches of Ghana’s capital Accra, except this time I was experiencing another part of my great love, quite literally. I thought of how it took months to journey across her in the past and still to this day, hours by airplane. The Atlantic, The Gulf of Guinea, crashed against the beach underneath subsaharan West Africa where I watched the same waves that break against me back on my beach at the end of 13th street in Ocean City, New Jersey. A world away, the only thing standing before me and my very street was her infinite expanse.
She barely shifted in her chair, each pen stroke centered and focused. Her writing was crisp and clear as I glanced over her shoulder but she never turned from the page. For the first time, her assignment was to write or draw whatever she wanted; a platform of unlimited creativity and self-expression. I watched as she wrote, line after line, the words small so she could fit as much on the paper as possible. After the class had ended and the school day was long since over I asked her if she was done. “Not finished,” she said. I pat her back and nodded because I understood. In fact, in this sense, as a writer myself, I couldn’t identify with her more. She’ll stick with me forever, and I’ll always wonder about the novel she was writing on that paper. As much as I wish I could have read it I kind of like it better that I don’t know what it said. She was an inspiration and an enigma to me. I’m just blessed to have been able to give her the opportunity to unleash the words and phrases she had archived inside her heart. Not one piece of that paper was wasted, she made sure of it.
The road has taught me something: that there’s nothing more dangerous to the adventurous spirit than a secure future, a clear direction and a solid life plan..
Yet sometimes that’s all I’m longing for.. but I quickly remind myself… no, no it’s not! I could never see myself just having gone to school to just get a job with some random company, make money, buy a home, get settled… it’s just not for me, yet it’s what surrounds me. So many of my friends and people I know, just going through the motions, the proper steps in what their “supposed to do” entering into “reality” with house payments, marriages, children… although this really is wonderful for some people, for me it’s a nightmare.. and certainly not the direction I’m heading in. Continue reading “nomad” »