Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reflections from Iowa

Prairie in Cedar Falls where I like to walk
I’ve had almost four weeks in Iowa to rest and process my trip. When I left in February, the ground was blanketed in several feet of snow. I returned to a verdant world. The ride home from the airport bypassed patchwork fields with dizzying rows of corn and soy sprouts. Tulips, strawberries, mint, tomatoes, peaches, garlic, lettuces and much more were growing and ripening in my mother’s garden. The bike trails that snake around Cedar Falls had filled with vegetation and the prairie reserve near my parents home had grown tall, providing shelter to killdeers, robins, and warblers. 
The lush landscape differs greatly from the polluted sprawl of Buenos Aires, but even more distinct is the sense of security. I can come and go anytime of the day or night without worrying about finding myself on an unsafe street. I have reveled in the freedom and warm weather. I haven’t wanted to sleep. Well after midnight, I’ve found myself on the backyard hammock watching the stars with my brother Vinnie. I’ve gone to the wine bar downtown and sat outside with girlfriends for hours. Under the glow of the street lights and slightly buzzed, I’ve thought, 
“I don’t miss being in Buenos Aires at all.”
I know that it feels good to be home, but hindsight has not brought much clarity about why I needed to go to Buenos Aires and what it means to my life as a whole. Since I was 19, I have felt drawn to living in South America and learning Spanish. Maybe I can’t admit the possibility that there was no specific lesson to be learned there, that my fascination was more whim than integral part of who I am and will become. On the other hand, I wonder if there isn’t something that I am missing, a revelation that will come to me at some later time. I can’t decide, so I let it be and go outside for a walk.