Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Water's Fine

For me, time divided in two twelve years ago.  BT and AT: before my partner Terence Freitas was kidnapped and murdered in Colombia, and after.  My friendships, projects, and interests from BT that weren't somehow swept along into AT dropped away.  I, myself, was caught in the current of grief and political action, and for many years, my main goal was keeping my head above water.  When I made it to the shore, there was, of course, no path back to BT, and the uncharted traverse between the two worlds often daunted me.

Terence Unity Freitas and Colombian indigenous U'wa leader Berito Cobaria in 1997, protesting LA-based Occidental Petroleum's oil drilling project on U'wa land
This summer, I've begun tentatively wading in the shallows of another river.  It is a river of words.  I finally, after years of being stuck about it, started to engage online.  I've been watching the words flow across my news feed, wall, reader, blogs.  The fantastic torrent of ideas and self-expression motivate me to action, and often to emotion.  I have cast forth my own musings into this tumble every so often, but always with trepidation.  I peer underneath the rocks lining the muddy shore for evidence of similar caution weighing down the words of others, and marvel in curiosity at how little there seems to be.

By writing these missives, reaching out for your friendship, commenting on what you post, and acting on it when inspired, I am belatedly learning to read the waters it seems the whole world became accustomed to navigating at some point AT.  At some point when I couldn't fathom pouring any more of myself into the public domain.  When I finally had something to say again, I scrambled to find the modern way to write it across the sky, and made this blog to broadcast it.  But I still didn't get the engagement part; I left the hundreds of emailed comments unanswered, building no community out of all those words.  I learned from that experiment that it doesn't suit the swimmer in me to keep wading in the shallows.

Last week I started responding to friend requests from people with whom I went to high school.  In so doing, I learned two important things:

1) our twentieth class reunion is this month, and

2) the traverse between AT and BT is not that scary.

My older son pulling our kayak back to shore
I passed on our tenth reunion, when the murders were so fresh that I had not a drop of small talk in me.  I cringed at the thought of my words dropping like heavy stones, sucking us into awkward silence.  But it's different now, twelve years out, and finding you again in these waters has helped me see that.  BT/AT, it's all me.  I'm back.  I've posted our shiniest family pictures, and I know that is what I am seeing of yours.  But that's okay.  Out here mid-stream, I can also see there is a lot more going on.  We are all vacillating between treading and surrendering to the flow.  In the end, the water's fine. 

How has time divided in two for you?  
How do you bridge the gap between before and after?  

I welcome your comments here on these pages.  I will respond.