Coming Home

We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” It’s as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course, the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal.”

C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Perhaps it’s an element of denial, or maybe just the busy crush of life at its transition points, but incredibly, I haven’t yet posted anything about my
Fish Out of Waterimminent return home!

As I write this, I’m waiting for my flight out of Nepal – 3 hours delayed, not surprisingly – using only the second one-way ticket I’ve ever bought. Early yesterday morning I said goodbye to Tansen, as a dear group of friends bid me farewell on the path behind our homes. It was a weekend of heartfelt, bittersweet goodbyes, a time in which to reflect on beautiful friendships formed, and to look forward to those friendships growing in the coming years. On the way home, I’ll spend a week with a few other Tansen friends in the UK before arriving in JFK Airport on the evening of December 13th.

Time is a funny thing. We never quite get used to it’s pace – sometimes racing breathlessly by, at other times plodding along with interminable
languor. C.S. Lewis saw this strangeness of time, and our being “so little reconciled” to it, as evidence that we are made for eternity, for a world that transcends time. This definitely resonates. Time also seems to speed up at transition points, especially those bigger ones in life. Maybe it’s something about time at the margins – in much the same way that the surface of a pool appears immobile, until you see it cascade over an edge. It’s evident in the more mundane time warp of that last half-hour before going to work, too – Where do those minutes go?

But pause, one must – to share one last cup of chiya with a dear friend, laughing together over something silly because we both want to avert our eyes from parting’s inevitable heartache. Or on the way home fromKTM Traffic Cow (1) work, as I walk the now-familiar hospital paths one last time, knowing that although I’ll certainly return one day, it will never again be as one trying to make her home here. Or one final pause as I head to the airport, taking in the stream of trucks, cars and rickshaws weaving languidly back and forth – the unforgettable, casual chaos that is quintessentially South Asian.

There is still more to say (and soon!) about my upcoming transition to life back home, and what it feels like at the margins of this life-shaping experience. So stay tuned; I won’t bring this blog to a close quite yet…

Tansen Forest (detail)