The Train Tracks of Separation
It honestly never occurred to me that I would ever be living outside the States a couple of years ago. But like all things when you have a wandering spirit things like this happen. My story doesn’t land me anywhere in the western hemisphere as some here at “A Place in this world”, shared. I’d love to say that my family moved to some remote part of the world but that’s not what happened. See I grew up in a middle class family in the United States. One could say “Oh how boring could you get”, but that would not be the case. See by the time I was two years old we had moved countless of times back and forth from Colorado to Maryland. Why? My father was a geologist with the government and Colorado at the time was a hotbed for locating the hottest ore in the world. This was the mid-fifties and uranium was a very sought after ore. It was the “Cold War” that drove the search for this all precious substance and my father was in the middle of it. This was the beginning of my life, this is my story.
The Jungles of America
We all know that there are no Jungles on the east coast of America, telling a young boy who was constantly exploring the woods this would tell you different. We were very often been told to be careful of the snakes. We were told if a snake wrapped himself around you to break a stick and it would think it broke your back. It would be in these woods I would learn many examples about life. I remember seeing the movie “Stand by me” minus the dead body the things that happened in this movie I could have written about my life then. It was also a time of segregation, our school being one of many that white children and black children would share their young lives together. I’m thankful that my parents weren’t prejudice and I was allowed to have colored friends, but was told they couldn’t come home with me. The only place we could spend time together was in the woods next to the railroad tracks. I look back now and realize that those train tracks might have separated us then but the future would be very different. The jungles of America are very real, just in a different way.
Then in the sixties an event occurred that would impact my future. My father went to Yugoslavia, why he went there was never clear. When he returned he brought with him records to learn Russian. I was fascinated! I would spend hours listening to them only to come away learning only a single word, “здороваться” which means “Hello” in Russian. The language is still as perplexing today as it was then. It was also a time of change in our family, we moved again. This time to Walnut Creek, California. It would be here that I would learn about the more cultured things in life. My parents always made sure our lives were filled experiences like visiting the theater, seeing the sights of San Francisco, visiting the Berkeley campus and much, much more.
“What’s done in Vegas stays in Vegas”
It’s been said, “what’s done in Vegas stays in Vegas”, but what if Vegas was thirty miles away and provided your only source of entertainment. Does it still apply? My final years of school were spent in a small town of Boulder City, Nevada which lies 30 miles south of Las Vegas. This small town would be where I’d finish my schooling and the start of my adult life. Life from here on forward would be spent living in over seven different states. Each states adding new chapters to my life and ending others.
Acts of exclusivity
Of all the places to have fulfilled my tenure of living in the states Vancouver, Washington was the best place to have done it. Life in the Northwest exposed me to a culture that appealed more to my nature without even realizing it was happening. See in the Portland-Vancouver area there’s a large enclave of Russians. Up until this time I had never been introduced to them or their culture. Many of those I met became life-long friends.
A simple Dream
It’s here I must share about a dream I had. Dreams have always been an important part of my life. I’ve come to understand that some of them have significant meaning. Understanding them may be challenging and enlightenment only comes later. The dream I want to share with you is a simple dream. It wasn’t so much the dream as it was the emotions it elicited. In the dream I was holding the hand of a woman whose face was blurry at best. What was difficult was as our hands separated my heart ached terribly. I woke up being very disturbed. So why share this? Several months later while looking online for my future wife I came across her photo to which I almost missed. She happened to be from Russia. This lead to a year and a half courtship of which I traveled back and forth from a couple of times. I came to find out later that around the time I had my dream she received a painting from her friends. The picture was done by Marc Chagall who is a master artist who is capable of capturing dreams.
A Place in this World
One must not sleep when they have a dream. Pursuing a dream is the most important thing we do in our lifetime. The fulfillment of my dream came when I moved to Russia. We all have a “A place in the World”, this is mine. I’d like to say that time and space are the reason for stopping here, but it wouldn’t be true. Truth is that my next post will explore my new world here. One that I hope you will enjoy reading.
Looking beyond ourselves to truly know who we are
There is a lesson in all of this. One can move and still not be separated, one can make a stand and cause separation, segregation was supposed to bring together only to create a deeper wedge, one can try to separate oneself only find themselves more entangled, we must learn to look beyond ourselves to truly know who we are. It’s the greatest challenge in our lives. Something to reflect on.