People are getting back from their holidays. I run into them at the supermarket. They tell me where they've been, and they ask about me. They understand, when I tell them about death in the family (my mother), that I probably haven't been having the best of summers. But it's when I try to explain the good parts of my summer that I get that blank stare from them...
"I've been out walking a lot," I say, "with my camera, taking lots of photos."
They smile expectantly, thinking of travelling and new exciting places.
"Nowhere in particular," say I. "In the parks, around town, in the neighbourhood..."
They stare. Sounds of silence creep up on us. I know it's pointless to go on. If I add the hours I've spent at the computer, trying to grasp the mysteries of photo editing software and blogging, they will just stare even more. There's no way, at least not in the crowd at the supermarket, that I can explain about magic moments with dragon flies in the park, exploring reflections in windows and polished stones, seeing "the Niagara falls" in the little dam we pass by every day, or going round and round every statue and sculpture in town looking for new angles.
"Who have you been seeing? Who have you been talking to?" they ask next. And I say well, I had lunch with A, and B stopped by last week, and I talked to C on the phone. That doesn't really cover much, but that's as far as our common ground supermarket language goes. That language does not have room for the experience of entering other worlds through the computer screen and communicating with people who aren't "really there". I can't casually say to these supermarket friends: Dan went to a car show recently and got to sell a lot of pictures. CJ spent the summer in the Hebrides with GB and took some fantastic photos. And oh, good news, Rae finally found a house!
I went home and sat down to meditate over how I came to live in two worlds.
("I am - you are" photo taken by me at an outdoor art exhibition. There was a whole row of these white stones, with the same words in different languages.)