I have always wanted to visit India during Holi, the Hindu spring festival where colored powders are thrown at passer-by with a jubilance verging on mania. The force of the act, covering someone--a lover, a friend, a stranger--with one gesture resonates with me. I had a similar experience once in Phonm Penh, Cambodia during Full Moon celebrations where white powder is used. Young girls, normally shy, would run up and smear my cheeks with it, locking eyes joyfully with mine as they did so.
And yet, we have these types of interactions all the time, every day. We are constantly moving amongst others and they too leave their marks on us, on our eyes, our hearts, albeit invisibly. How many times have I come home from a walk with Ben in foul mood because another dog tried to attack him or conversely, buoyant after having witnessed the small act of a father lifting his giggling daughter into his arms for a kiss?
Like a pinball in the machine, I know that I am too sensitive, too susceptible to these moments but prefer it than to be utterly closed off. I can't stop looking even if sometimes I see more than I would like--thoughts, hopes and deceptions. Nor can I stop thinking about the seemingly random comings and goings in our lives. Why we invite certain people to be friends, to come into our private circle at certain points rather than others. And how we know when to let them drift away. Because they will inevitably, laisse des traces. And sometimes, unfortunately, wounds. It takes courage to open our hearts.
Digging down a little deeper, I have become increasingly aware of how flexible our personalities are, those outer traces of our inner spirit. I might be nearly unrecognizable to some of my companions of years gone by. How would I see them now and they me? For we see what we want to, we pick and choose and turn a blind eye. Would we still find the desire to be a part of each other's lives? Continuity in relationships can be a blessing as it necessitates that a certain flexibility is built in, one that involves seeing beyond personality and the temporary swoosh of life. Being fairly nomadic, I haven't experienced that type of long-standing connection as much as many but that doesn't prevent me from appreciating it when I do.
We are heading into winter, so maybe that is why I am wondering about what remains, what is solid inside us while all around me the leaves are falling from the trees. A real autumn, finally. Certainly so in the golden light writing secrets in the sky, running over rooftops, pressing on upturned faces that are all too eager to inhale the last of its warmth. A contact as certain as the powders of Holi. And when those revellers return home and wash off the vibrant colors, what traces remain? Everyday we bump along, as day follows night and season follows season, finding our way, through others and ourselves, clutching the cord of life that connects us.