“Someone is hoping just that this will be the day”

14 Feb

This morning I walked back home through freshly fallen snow after seeing Kari off, headphones in, plugged into my own inner world.  Even with music on, my iPod has the astonishing ability to wrap me in nebulous silence from which I can absorb without taking part in my surroundings.  Though I have taken part in Ukrainian life, my life as defined by Ukraine has yet to gel.

Winter in Ukraine for me has been the way in which the blankets of snow lay perfectly across the fans of pine branches in the woods around Drohobych.  I habitually realize there’s something powerful about an unmarred stretch of snow, but never so often as here in Ukraine. Laying my boots in the footprints of others, my thoughts shuffled with each new song.  As Michael Buble’s “Home” slid through my headphones, my focus shifted from the branches to the banks of snow embodying both the ephemeral and permanent alongside the churned mire of the streets.  I stared at snow in Ukraine and saw snow in Indiana.

Four years ago, cold coffee turning icy next to my laptop, I stared out the library window as dense snow fell onto and was immediately indistinguishable from the drifts already covering the quad.  “Home” played over my headphones (then courtesy of a Dell DJ) as I, one of four people in the building thanks to the campus emptying effects of Winter Term at DePauw, sat in mental silence.  Thought is a lot like sound for me; focused solely on the remarkably steady pace of snowflakes gently erasing my path from the dorm, my mind was comfortably quiet.

I filled the day after Kari’s departure with annotating a Conrad, dismissing or pushing to the side any parenthetical concerns about the modest lassitude tugging at me.  The maudlin feeling was as disagreeable as unaccountable.  Setting aside my book (since Conrad has a tendency to encourage brooding), I decided to trade mental noise for musical.  Staring at nothing in particular, I let my mind drift…

…until Jason Reeves came on and “Someone Somewhere” found me on my morning walk up 8th Avenue two years ago.  I wore calf-length leggings in late November.  The air bit my knees through the material and my lower legs were florid from both my pace and the chill by the time I rounded on Times Square and dug blindly through my purse for my electronic work ID.  Matte grey was everywhere, unbroken by snow flurries until days later.  The elevator doors closed with their usual impartiality, but I felt nestled by the steel and content repeating this process interminably.

These songs made me miss these points of my life, who I was at these points in my life.  Kari once remarked that few people can be the same person no matter where they go; I’m not one of those few, and I’m not quite sure who I am here.  Today countless people feel a poignant lack of the person for whom they’ve been waiting.  I cannot say waiting to figure yourself out is poignant – it’s more of a dull ache.  Still, today I’m hitting the shuffle button waiting to find the song that tells me the person I’ve been looking for has been here all along.

*Music: “Someone Somewhere” -Jason Reeves

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