Friday, August 8, 2014

Finding The End of the Rainbow

Oh geez, Invisible Audience,

So much to say…so hard to summarize.

I’ve been making the rounds and saying goodbye to all the people I’ve known in Boquete before I leave, and it suddenly feels like almost two years has gone by in a flash. That, or I’ve been here for a lifetime. It’s all wrapped up in one.

I have passed houses of friends that have moved on, smiled at memories in restaurants, at swimming holes and up hiking trails, and stood on the bridge where I stood on my first day here, bathed in the light of a full moon, and felt something that had been wound too tight inside me start to release and unravel. 

In daylight, many, many days and memories later, I put my hands on the railing, heard the river rushing by below me, and looked up the valley, a completely different person than the one who arrived.

Every piece of the puzzle I received here has felt monumental and essential, and it is hard to believe that I was able to pack all I have learned into such a short time period. I have met so many people who taught me so much: so much about myself, and also about the world and how it could work, if I just got out of my own way -- out of my own head -- and let it.

Linda, my chiropractor but also my friend, may have summarized it best: 

“I am not going to say I will miss you, because that indicates that I will feel the absence of your presence. That’s not true. Instead I will say that I will never forget you, because that is far more accurate. You will always be here with me. It has nothing to do with physical distance.”

I will never forget you, Panama, nor all the people you have brought me. I can’t remember every rainbow anymore, but I will always remember and talk about living in a place with a whole season of rainbows. More than one taxi driver has told me that he has actually driven THROUGH the end of the rainbow, something that science and our Western thinking tells us is absolutely impossible. Then again, many things I thought were impossible have come to fruition here, so it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the end of the rainbow is something you can find here -- that the proverbial pot of gold may be a metaphor for many other types of treasures that are reachable if you simply let go of the idea that they are not.
“So, you just didn’t like it here enough, huh?”

A lot of people have asked me this question. And the true answer is very simple: I loved it here, until one day I didn’t. And that day stretched on into another and another, and, because it has happened to me many times before, I knew what it meant. I came here to learn something, although it is only now that I know what it was: I came here to rest, rejuvenate and find myself. I spent a blissful couple years here, and now it’s time to go. I have done what I came to do. Whatever is next in this ever-changing and ever-evolving journey, this wild crazy adventure called life, it will happen somewhere else.

I guess that’s all for now. I have a lot to say, but a lot has to go unsaid. When I lived in Spain in my early twenties, I told the people I was studying abroad with that I hated the idea of having to summarize an experience into a sentence, because it could not possibly encompass all the joy, the ecstasy, the grief, the tears, the growth, the laughter and the smiles. So it wouldn’t matter if I wrote volumes about it, invisible audience. As much as words serve me well, they can only describe what happened. They cannot replace it. So just imagine having lived at the end of your own rainbow, perhaps, and then realizing that you can carry that rainbow with you wherever you go. Maybe then you’ll understand what I’m trying to convey. Maybe then the words will be enough.

Love and rainbow kisses