Monday, June 2, 2014

Moscow- last day

The swimming pool church was closed.  The Pushkin museum was closed.  It’s 9:30 am.  Tourism opens in Moscow 10 to 11 am.  I’d not had a morning coffee yet. Just yoghurt and Russian sparkling water.  I’ve already stood beside an enthusiastic Russian and genuflected three times before the icon outside the church.
Travelling for me is a time for writing. In Gr. 3 or 4, Mrs. Murray or Mrs. Cowrie assigned us the task of writing letters home from places we visited in ‘geography’.  I wrote epistles.  A psychiatrist might intuit a need for ‘attention’.  I was a day dreamer. Someone might say I needed antipsychotic medications then.  The flights of fancy to other planets of the galaxy would be no more.  I’d not astro project or have intuitions that proved true. I’d not heal wounded birds and gather hurt things to me.  I’d have no time for such nonsense.  I’d not sing because when I sang I didn’t sing on key for a very long time. I was good at defending myself and beating up gangs that attacked me or my friends.  If I’d not had a mother that made me a set of pyjamas for my teddy bear I’d have been a better killer. Perhaps taken that sense into the win or lose of business transaction.  Maybe I’d have gone further in athletics not sort of turned away from the group sports to pursue the lone pursuits with only myself as my main competitor.  Maybe I wouldn’t have danced.  I’ve a potpourri of skills that span the gender spectrum and spend too much time with under dogs, odd balls and outliers.  Maybe I could have just chosen friends from the rostrum social status.  Rejecting the ones who weren’t the flavour of the month.
I would have liked to ‘fit’. I envy those who have these neat collections of traits and behaviours that fit an acceptable mould. Those dancers who don’t ride motorcycles and hunt big game.  When I was a vegetarian and meditating cross legged all day, yoga was anathema to the main stream. Now I’m in churches genuflecting and praying to Jesus when Buddha is all the rage. I fancied Buddha in my 30’s. He’s still a pretty nice guy, like the Queen.  I still like Yogananda and for some reason reflected on meeting Bishop Tootoo recently, thinking that he like the Daliai Lama I’d also met, were very fine fellows.  But mostly I liked the doctor who shared a call room with me when the building flooded and   slept through the alarms only waking when his personal beeper went off.
I think of storms at sea and being knocked down in sailboats  going on through the eye of the storm.  I’ll never forget the pattern of the sea and eerie glow. There are some places I’ve been that no amount of money could buy. Only experience gets you in and out. Like the charging moose bent on killing me.  The rifle didn’t fail me that day despite the 30:06 bullets bouncing off the lowered horns.  He died feet from where I kneeled.
For some reason I’ve been remembering different patients , ones I’d not thought of for years.  With the Ukranian and Russian troubles I remembered the old Ukranian man whose life I saved by sacrificing the doctor bent on killing him through ignorance and arrogance.  Now I’m so honoured to know a Russian professor whose sense of style and flare is so original. I see where she gained this here in the streets of Moscow where fashion outshines Paris.  But how can these women walk all day in 4 inch heels on cobblestone?
I explained to another just the other day that the doctor we knew wasn’t dementing.  She’d said he was forgetting things and missing words.  I explained that dementia was only when you didn’t know the meaning of an automobile or tried to mop the floor with the dog.  Then she said ‘some kind of cognitive failure’ like the young will , with the naming of things, having meaning beyond the thing itself.  Then eventually we talk of talk of talk and seem so learned to ourselves when the garden is just a garden.
I am overwhelmed at times now with memories so vivid I’m living in the past again as if it were today. The woman who passed me in the Russian subway reminded me so strongly of the patient I knew who refused to leave 1969.  She was dressed as this modern woman was.  Transport her here from her room in the asylum and she’d be in vogue.
Young people in their 20’s dress like we did then.  I remember your body so sensuous and agile in the wheat field where we made love all day.  I thought our bodies were forever wedded.  I never lost love for your every movement. There was such grace in the way your eyelashes lifted as you looked through me and at me.  Your lips were so full. I was blessed in your love.  That was then and now they dress like we did.  The girl I just pass├ęd wore her hair as you did, the same folksy beret.
If someone asked me the time at that moment I wouldn’t know what decade I was in.  I’ve a bliss of memories that bring tears to my eyes, I’m so blessed with who I’ve know. This journey and adventure has been such a wild and crazy passing. I didn’t know I was on a roller coaster even when I was taking a train,  bicycling or hitch hiking across the country with a beat up guitar.  I've  had a beard, a mustache, long hair, short hair. Looking back it's such a tapestry.
All I wanted was to know you God, in all your manifestation. I loved the Song of Songs best.    My fingertips tingled as lightning leapt through my body caressing the buttocks of the woman who knew me as her lover. It was a very big bed on the wintry night in a city where people only spoke French. I saw a horse drawn carriage and remembered our carriage ride that night, the fur robe lain over our legs.
I’m here. I’m in this present. I’m writing home from geography class. I’m walking around in a world where the language is as psychotic as the letters on the signs. I’m stopping at toilets,  churches and occasionally a museum. Museums indulge in the collective memory.  Some are obviously dementing. There’s coffee spots too.
Right now I’m looking for a meeting.  I spoke English with a Russian last night.  He was drinking and smoking cigarettes.  I was weary of the memory of the substances.  I just want to be awake. I want to be present.
Here I am in Moscow but already I’m thinking of my dog. I’ve dreamed of him these last three nights. I’ve remembered my office, my vehicles, my homes, faces of friends and thought again how an intense vacation can restore the joy of the mundane. Just as the tedium threatened to swallow me whole, I am relieved by this whirlpool of unknown, so much so that I long again for the everyday everyday.  And of course I need a vacation from my vacation.
I’ll never forget when Baiba and I, after bicycling Europe got off, the ferry in England and simply rejoiced in the known language.  That first English woman we talked to must have thought us batty as we hung on her every syllable.  We take understanding for granted. We take communication for granted.
The coffee is done. I’m refreshed.  Time to go look at this church that was closed when last I came this way.  Perhaps now I’m synchronized with tourist time.
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