The instant I’m in a car, on a plane or boarding a train to someplace new I become all eyes. That is an odd expression, all eyes. Imagine eyes all over my body? But “all eyes” is the closest to what I can say about what happens to my mind and my experience when traveling.
All eyes, mostly unseeing
All eyes going by all. All eyes swimming by, often rapidly. Too fast for me to see eye color or distinct features , except for eyebrows, eye set or basic shape. All eyes looking beyond and onto where those people are walking. Hurrying to the next distination, the next ride, the next taxi, the next departure. All eyes on the next and next connection. No time for slow. No time to see anyone for more than a second.
The rare and open unblinking eyes of a child, the pleading eyes of a begger, the hungry eyes of a too thin gypsy, the big foreign eyes of tourists, eyes like mouths devouring every new site, cafe menus, meals, millions bottles of Coca Cola…
Life swimming by in pairs of eyes
Life is far too short to hate ourselves for not fitting into mental constructs of success or freedom. Yet that seems to flow by on so many faces. Unhappiness. Loss. Obsession with things. Loveless expressions. Fear. Anxiety. Stress. Emptiness. Lack of hope. And those are the faces of life’s winners, those who have made it financially, who have leisure time, who have choices, who eat the best food in the world, who wear shoes better than most people ever see (except in shop windows). Those on holiday from daily cares, jobs, chores, children and parents. Those lucky tourists! A mass of unsmiling crowds who order too much to drink and eat and leave behind money and trash, the world over all eyes on them.
My English language eyes read every shirt walking by
On my trip in Athens, Greece I kept reading people’s T-shirts. After I scanned a face, the English letters and words gave me ideas and feelings to move through. A brief second of image capture. Of course, some slogans seemed weird or just off. But I madly sot impressions of what compelled those Greeks we saw to wear printed t-shirts. Oh, I saw some that proclaimed, “Princess,” “Just do it” or “Bad.” Many of the shoppers and sightseers where from other parts of Europe, yet I saw few T-shirts with French, Spanish or German slogans.
My favorite T-shirt on a young boy about 11 years old read, “To be continued.” Now I thought that was perfect. Not only perfect for a young boy, but perfect for all of us to wear because aren’t we all in the middle of life “to be continued?”
Perhaps you aren’t right now feeling hopeful we’re looking forward to anything in particular. But wherever you are in your life the amazing thing is you can still be knocked on your heels looking into the face of a child just learning to walk, or suddenly seeing the sky fulsome with clouds get one of those “Gee, life is so much bigger than I make it most of the time.”
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