Distances

Whenever I spend New Year’s Eve in my family’s hometown of Monterey, California I tend to end up at Point Lobos State Park on the first day of the year. I’m back here now in Monterey in between stretches of field research at in my new home base of Tacloban, Philippines. As I look out across the Pacific ocean today, I imagine that I am looking in the direction of Tacloban, but it seems like everything earthly drops out of view after several miles or so. So, I imagine reaching the end of that point on the horizon only to look out again and again and again until I finally see land. I imagine what it would be like to arrive at Tacloban after a thousand turns over the horizon.  

Somehow, over the years, I have lost my sense of distance in the places I am traveling in the world. Distance for me, is on the Priceline screen and an accounting of hours spent inside the cabin of an airplane. Looking at the ocean today, I wonder if a thousand turns over the horizon would even get me to the Philippines. It is a distance that I can hardly fit into what I know. I would have to chase the curve of the earth until I reached night. And not that night fell upon me, but that it was I who arrived upon a foreign day there in another spot in the Pacific, and entered it against the current of expected arrangements.

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