It's seventy degrees outside and nearly midnight and it's the second of December. And the weather is something crazy, words like tumultuous, tempest, tempestuous coming to mind. I stood on my doorstep a couple of hours ago, hanging onto the doorknob and crowding against the door in an effort not to get wet--I have to go outside to talk on my phone--and I watched the pines toss in the wind and street light. It's like a tropical storm out there, all day long the rain flying every way but up, rising any way you look at it. A boy beside me in class today turned to me and told me just been put under a flood warning, and now I look and see we're under a tornado watch.
That old wives tale, the one that says if it lightnings it winter it'll snow two weeks later--well, funny thing is, it's not quite winter and it feels like a June night out there. Last night, walking around outside Barnes & Noble after my thesis reading, I stood shivering. And already it feels tropical again. I'll miss it here, little things like this. I'm more than excited about going wherever I'll be going, and the thing about being from somewhere is that it shapes the new places a bit. If ever again I am standing in Bucharest during the summer, the humidity will draw me back home. And here, the moon bright white and full as an ocean, above the tree line and the sky all the way dark at barely five, I'm wondering how early it's getting dark in the Apuseni Mountains.
I was sitting on my couch earlier, reading through our class anthology, and I think about how much places shape our lives. How much our lives are shaped, period, by the things that move in and out of them. I was never really sure before, but I do feel like I'm from somewhere now. And when I stand in the speckled shade of pines, even the way their bark looks and feels, these layered things shaped like countries in Europe or Africa, I remember growing up and corn fields, tobacco fields, cotton on the side of the road like snow. The openness of the rural south, of eighty years ahead of you you never thought about.
When it rains like this, and I don't have anywhere to go, I want to stand in it. I want to walk barefoot through the puddles in the parking lot, disregarding what might be in them and just cold water on my feet, water that might have risen from the Pacific before falling on me, for all I know. And what about Noah, before him when there was no rain? I'm not writing about hope, I'm writing about feeling like part of the same humanity as someone I've never met, because maybe I've shared a few ounces of the same water with them. Or about finding pieces of home everywhere you go, wondering that when I close my eyes, there is no difference.
Once I wrote about how on top of Monserrate, Bogotá sounded like the ocean, and how there was a smell in Mexico that reminded me of Colombia. I'm starting to wander now, just writing without being too sure of where I'm going. There's this, though: right now, if I went outside and did exactly what I said, stood barefoot in the street in the rainwater, it could be the night the tropical storm came a year and a few months ago. It feels no different outside to me. And all this connectedness, all these pieces that look so much like one another, how it stretches across decades or days--here's the leap, will it work?--I come to this: we are eternal beings. Of course. It's in our nature.
We have calendars, we denote time, but if I didn't know anything about keeping track of it, a song I last heard three years ago that I listened to this morning, that brought me right back to an exact moment I hadn't thought of since, and all the things I felt then returned as well, then I understand that the barrier of time really isn't a barrier at all. And in fact the barrier is being a created and eternal thing within a temporary body and world. We stretch beyond this.
Here I am just thinking again. I don't know how I wound up here. I was just going to write about the rain. But I think if you look very closely at things, the evidence of an eternal God is overwhelming. The more I start to think about this, flawed as my reasoning and understanding surely is, the other side of the equals sign maintains, and if that's what it points me toward, God that is, then I'm happy to walk that way.