Lost Enough

The way you ears pop going under the Potomac river on the metro. The green line and Howard University. U street and packed soul food restaurants.

School kids in the middle of the city tossing balls out front. A small kid in front of me exploring his neighborhood like a jungle. Feeling trees along the way and listening to my mind.

Taxation without representation license plates. A squirrel with patchy fur, and tough shoulder muscles moving to the rhythm of the anxiety in the air.

Being lost enough.

“We don’t want to stay the same.”

Just back from a day out in the city, and check my email to find a LinkedIn request from Sacramento. At first I think it’s just a random person that’s added me. There’s not much info, or a picture. But the name sticks with me, and I think back. I have a hunch it’s this woman from Samoa who I had dinner with at the women’s shelter one night last year. But it was a year ago, and we barely knew one another. I look at my email addresses, and find it is the same woman.  

An excerpt from May 2015.

Canvas Sky.

This woman, out of all the woman we served, her smile stuck with me. It was so full, like she had the secret to knowing peace. Serene and present.

After we finished serving seconds and dessert, I asked Carinne if she wanted to get a plate and go out and eat with the women. She did, and she picked a spot right next to the woman with the smile, who was sitting alone. Later Carinne told me she had felt the same draw toward the woman that I did.

And we sat down next to her, and she asks where we’re from. And we tell her, and ask where she’s from. And she’s from a little island out in the Pacific ocean that I’ve recently learned a bit about. But talking to her took it so much further.

She spends the next twenty minutes or so telling us about her home, painting a picture with words while also showing us a real painting she’s made of the ocean out there, to the East.

And she sells it to us, and now I have to go. She gives us her email at the end, saying once she gets back on her feet she’s heading back out there, and we’re invited to visit. That vision of that canvas sky– endless ocean and her time-less people with polychromatic culture are what keeps her going.

She had us in a daze– we’re right there with her as she fishing in deepwater for the first time, no boat, just swimming. And comes across her first shark.

“You never want to swim straight to shore. Swim at a diagonal so that the current will carry you.”

We’re there with her as she sees every color of the rainbow in the noontime sky. East meets West, North meets South. We’re there with her as she learns to compare the way her people look at time, and Western society looks at time. She tells us the history of the island and the neighboring islands. She speaks with a flow that should land her on stage with a microphone and half the world as her audience.

She talks about oneness, and knowing the Earth is just a part of you just as much as you are of it.

And the ocean is actually magic.

I’m sitting at a coffeeshop next to the refugee and immigrant organization I work with in D.C. I’m meeting with my higher up supervisor in a little bit, and I’m really not sure what to expect from this meeting, but definitely the ability to put a place with a name and be able to understand more of the process of refugee resettlement.

Arriving here on the metro alone I was singing in the streets, Dessa pounding through my big chunky headphones. I don’t think I’m ever more myself than when I am in a new place all by myself. 


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