Leaving Buenos Aires

Leaving Buenos Aires

The time comes again, time to go, travel’s inevitable destination. Feeling ready to go home but not feeling ready to leave. Time of ambivalences and contradictions – I call it brimful of emptiness.  I wrote some of this when I was still in Buenos Aires but I couldn’t finish till the leaving had been done. So it’s a mixture of anticipation and reflection.

I’m feeling everything so much more intensely this time – the third time I have done this particular parting in this particular place. Maybe it’s harder than before because the time here has been so incredibly good; maybe because the weeks that went before, the weeks of caring for my mother were so difficult and so odd. Got me to thinking about how deep inside the equilibrium of family relationships changes. It seems to take only a moment to shift and then it’s transformed in a way that seems both obvious and unfathomable – one of those ‘how did that happen’ moments. I had time to think about all this while I wandered the streets of BA, sipped coffee here and there and then took the long sleepless flight back across the ocean.

There’s a ‘thereness’ about family relationships; I’m talking mother-daughter here. It’s as if there’s an unspoken order that you inhabit like a skin; a deep-rooted familiarity with the way things are; the way you meet each other’s needs and tolerate (ignore even?) each other’s failings; the subtle, seamless shifting and the compromises you make. Call me naïve, but these are all attributes that, after adolescence, I hardly ever questioned, indeed was barely aware of until they revealed themselves by changing.

And so it was this year, changes in both directions – a shallowing of one and a deepening of the other. As daughter, I became more managing agent, interceder, organizer and interpreter of an increasingly challenging world; as mother, giver of unquestioning care and love, I experienced an equivalence of care and mindfulness coming to me from my daughter.

And travel brings it all bubbling to the surface, the sorrow and the joy – being distant from the routines of life frees the mind. Bring it on…….