(Vacation photos resume.) After the "Florida leg" of our trip down south, we headed back up to Athens, Ga. Pictured above are three extreme closeups of Athens, which is a beautiful town and a town that I miss.
Here's what I know about longing: It resides in the animal body. I can think about it abstractly and philosophically. I can process it linguistically. But the experience of it is immediate and felt in the body. Here is a short list of random things I long for:
(1) The humidity and heat of a southern summer. It envelops, folds me in, and provides a feeling of atmospheric density conducive to relaxation.
(2) Making eye contact with Stella across a room when I'm up late at night. Those deep, golden eyes staring back into mine followed by a slow exhale as she disappears back into her dreams. (Similar to longing, we talk about "relationship" and "connection" in these abstract ways and words, but the actual experience is exquisitely physical.)
(3) My morning walks to work in Portland, Oregon, summer of 1998 - I'd walk from my little apartment right in the heart of the city across about fifteen blocks that slowly turned from bustling cosmopolitan downtown Portland to sprawling, industrial warehouses and alleys. I passed a handful of coffee shops, newspaper stands, and one beer brewery along the way. Graffiti covered everything.
(4) I miss hearing A Love Supreme for the very first time. (This happened in 1994 and there's no going back. I've listened to it countless times since then.)
(5)Walking with my grandpa through his tomato garden. Something happens when a young man walks alongside his grandfather, either in silence or sparse conversation, tilled soil underfoot. Or maybe it was something more personal - between him and me. I'm not sure. But his absence remains alien, uncool, and not at all the "natural" thing death is purported to be.