The World Is Round

Jet lag is a funny thing. I think it goes beyond your body readjusting its sleep schedule; you can feel dizzy, and like you’re floating, generally unattached to the earth. As if your body has landed but not all the parts are quite present yet. Last week, a writer friend from home arrived here in Melbourne and was having some jet lag issues, the same issues I’d had the week before when I’d arrived in Sydney, and she mentioned a book called Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson. The book is about a lot of things, but the thing she explained to me is that (please note, this is me paraphrasing something she paraphrased, so apologies if I get this wrong) the main character has a unique take on jet lag, something along the lines of, your soul can’t travel as fast as your body, so it takes a little time for the soul to catch up and reunite itself with the rest of you. Or, if you’ve read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, think of being stretched apart from your dæmon, then allowed to reunite again. I love thinking of jet lag this way! It seems right to me.

Today I’m looking at it from the opposite direction: I leave Australia tomorrow, and today I can feel my soul digging in its heels. It’s happy here. It doesn’t like change and it doesn’t want to go home, and its protests are leaving me quite disoriented. So I’m trying to explain to it that we have to go home, and that it really will be okay. I brought myself to St. Kilda today and just looked out over the water, looked south at the big boats leaving Port Phillip Bay, to remind my soul that leaving is something people do. I wondered where the boats were going. Tasmania? I stood there at the edge of the water and thought about how far I am from home, so far it almost can’t be believed.

Then I backed my perspective up a bit and imagined the earth from above, with me standing tiny on this little point near the edge of the bottom of Australia. I kept backing up until I could see the whole world, and realized that the water I was looking at was connected to the water where my sisters live, my friends and family, all over the world. I saw them standing tiny on their little points. The further you back up your view, the more you realize you are home. Maybe tomorrow, I’m not so much leaving as going back to my usual side.

This beautiful trip has been about places, but like all of my recent trips, it’s turned out to be more about people — friends. As I re-settle into my regular life, I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it. Maybe I’ll start at the end, like I’m doing right now, and work my way back to the beginning.