"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reminded of a Different Paradise

Yesterday I slept late and awoke both with not a single plan for the day, and to the most gorgeously perfect beautiful weather I think I've seen thus far in Poti.  Unfortunately, life is not without a sense of balance, and I also woke up to both no power and no water, which was a first.  Definitely have done without either of those, more often than I would like.  But this was the first time I could neither properly wash my face or distract myself with internet.  So I pulled out my bicycle and rode down to the Black Sea.

I rode down the seawalk for a ways until I could be assured at least a rudimentary level of privacy.  Found a flat rock and settled down to finally write some postcards.  The pictures on the cards are all of Tbilisi, because that is where I bought them.  Poti is not a postcard kind of town.  Furthmore, as far as I've been able to learn, Poti has no post office.  It's very interesting to observe (and be well and thoroughly immersed in) a culture where mail basically does not exist.  There are no mailboxes.  No daily visit from the mailman.  No catalogs.  No deliveries from Amazon, Netflix, or your preferred wine club.  No stupid "special offers" or books of coupons that millions of trees died for and that will go straight in the bin.  (That being the recycle bin, hopefully.)

But, I had plans to go to Kutaisi the next day, and that most excellent city boasts not only two post offices but a McDonalds!  So it was with great hope that I penned the five cards purchased well over a month ago, and with any luck -- most of the intended recipients will recieve them within another month, give or take.

That was my view as I sat and wrote and daydreamed.  The sun was warm and the breeze was cool, and long after my letters were written I couldn't make myself get up.  (I have some pretty nice sunburn on my arms to show for it too.)  With the waves crashing up against the rocky coastline and a dilapadated little lighthouse to my left, I could almost have been in Maine.

It makes my heart hurt to think back to all those wonderful days my family and I spent on Lake Pemaquid.  We averaged only two weeks every other summer, but I feel that a disporportianate amount of my childhood happened there.  So many happy memories.  My sister Eve has made it home finally after well over a year, and if all goes well, they will soon be in Maine without me.  I am so happy that they will get to revisit a place that has become so important to all of us, and that they will get to share one more Maine adventure together.  But I wish I could be there to share it with them.

I remember drinking a giant plastic bottle of pre-mixed pina colada with my sister (we were both in our teens), then changing into our swimsuits just as the sun was setting.  It was ~60 degrees and we hesitated at the edge of the dock... and then I -- ever the big sister -- pushed her in.  But of course my evil plan backfired, as she came up laughing and cursing me and the cold.  I immediately felt guilty so jumped in to join her.  And she was right -- it was freezing.  We swam anyway, as happy as two people could be.  My father came down on the dock to observe his children being idiotic, and soon Mom came around Point with a rowboat, probably with the notion that we might soon need rescuing.

I remember my Dad taking us out in the rowboat in the middle of the night to look at the stars.  First time I ever saw the Milky Way.

I remember when Eve got a leech stuck between her toes.  (That was a good one.)

I remember lobster at New Harbor, and feeding the fearless seagulls.  I remember boat rides and epic water battles, and canoe trips that no one will ever forget thanks to the wind being against us the whole long way back.  Playing cards well into the night, and that one time I spilled melted butter all over the kitchen at the exact moment when the cabin's one toilet backed up and my sister split her lip open falling off the bed.

Good times.

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