There But Not

That feeling of being in a place but not actually being there. I’ve never been able to describe it well. The memories of being and staying and living in a certain place and longing to return, yet knowing if you were there for only a short time it wouldn’t be the same.

I often feel like I cannot put to words the thoughts swirling around in my head. At least not eloquently. In a book I was reading today [A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit] I found a passage that seemed to speak to this idea.

“Perhaps it’s that you can’t go back in time, but you can return to the scenes of a love, of a crime, of happiness, and of a fatal decision: the places are what remain, are what you can possess, are what is immortal. They become the tangible landscape of memory, the places that made you, and in some way you too become them. They are what you can possess and what in the end possesses you,” (117).

So maybe it’s that we have these memories, and we cannot return to them through time, but we can indeed return to them by going to the place where we made them. Maybe that is why I often find myself longing for Nicaragua, or Spain or Ghana. Because in my head I know I cannot time travel back to those memories I made there, but if I can get there I can reach them. By being in that place, where those memories are kept, I will find what I so desperately seek.

Solnit, Rebecca. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York: Viking Penguin, 2005. Print.


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