Here’s what’s amazing:
Nearly everything if you stop to marvel.
Take, for example, the huge double-decker jet, readied and positioned to fly across the planet. You got on and the flight attendant pointed you in the direction of your seat but to get there you had to pass by the luxuriously lit, sexily curved staircase reserved for first class royalty. Truly amazing, you think to yourself from economy class 78D that people can afford such luxury. To fly at all is a luxury! But then, when you really think about the plane itself, plus its own weight…really. It’s amazing a machine so large can take flight. With you on it. Along with your luggage and hundreds of other people’s luggage and bodies and food for everyone.
From Rome to Dubai you are a minority, you see, when you look back while standing up to wait for the lavatory. There are three young professional athletes from Dubai in uniform folding themselves up and down, praying standing and chanting toward Mecca. Amazing they know where Mecca is from way up here. They must have consulted the virtual map. At this altitude you can do that. You can know exactly where you are. You just turn on the flight cam and see what’s underneath or in front of this big bird. You watch deserts pass below as the two little eyeballs atop the back wing-tip.
Amazing, too, that your feet and ankles could feel like they were made of wood, wood that’s swollen and waterlogged, even after wearing extra-special dorky support hose for the duration of those very long flights. Amazing how that happens, how the body will revolt when sitting still for too long. Two days too long.
It was amazing to experience this weird world. How everything on the planet has seemed to have progressed in some form or fashion, everything except for women’s bathrooms. It is a universal truth: bathrooms around the world need further consideration. Amazing, you think to yourself, as you see a mother traveling with her two toddler twin boys and one very large, heavy-looking backpack. How does she do it? How can a mother or father travel alone with her or his one or two children plus a carry-on and also urinate or defecate in a civil manner? More room is needed in the stall. For all of us really, not just families. We single travelers have to squeeze ourselves in with rolly bags so tightly that our calves sometimes might accidentally touch the germ-ridden, stench-filled toilet bowl (gag).
Amazing the world is so huge. And how, if tired enough from traveling across its hugeness, you can sleep on your own lap while sitting up but slumped in a crowded, cold and busy airport. Amazing how the thought of your own bed will keep you going until you get there.
Even after you sleep all night without waking once you get up in the morning amazed it all even happened. The part about the flying, the part about all those places you saw, the people you encountered, the gross, nasty toilets.
Amazing how worried you were about everything a month ago, about moving to a new place and feeling/being homeless, amazing how you have a house now that you love.
Amazing how the neighbors have two little lambs to entertain their kids and keep the grass low. Amazing how you can look right over the low fence at them. You could reach over and scoop them up to nuzzle their cuteness even though you eat them at times. Amazing how sad this make you feel. Amazing how knowing all this didn’t stop you from picking their barbecued bones with your teeth at dinner last night. Amazing how they baaaah and bleat and how sometimes it breaks your heart to hear it, especially if they look you in the eye and open their mouths. Amazing how when they do that you can see their tongues.
Amazing how your old house, your new old house built in the 20s, has a lush yard and a shed even and hardwood floors—everything you wanted—even a front and a side porch and two fireplaces. Amazing how that yard has a pomegranate tree, a lemon tree, a grapefruit tree and a gigantic palm tree that’s a high-rise birdhouse fully inhabited. Amazing how yesterday you made three distinctly different bouquets out of flowers from the yard—camellias, jasmine, among other flora unrecognizable to you–and how today you were thrilled to see daisies sprouting out along the driveway, just popped out in the sun. You were even further amazed, while pulling weeds, you discovered a patch of huge Calla lilies, a half-dozen of them, taller than you. How had you missed this until now? How had you not seen or smelled the white pepper bursts of freesia sprouting from between rocks until now?
Amazing how this house, well, it’s right down the street from the tip-top of Te Mata Peak where sheep graze, hikers hike and mountain bikers careen down sheer narrow paths. Amazing how people (mostly Americans, you’ve heard) strap colorful synthetic wings to their backs at this very spot and jump off the cliff that it is, gliding on tufts of oceanic air. From up there you can see the Pacific, you can see Bluff Hill in Napier more than twenty miles away. You can see the mountain ranges in the distance that make you feel as though you are in Colorado. You can see their powder-sugar jagged peaks but they don’t seem close. They seem distant and unreachable the way outer memories feel vastly far away pressed against the outer barbed wire fences of the brain’s terrain. To your right is the ocean. The Pacific that actually seems, perhaps, peaceful today. Flat, it lays close, a large blanket of blueness.
From here it feels like you can see the whole world and all its exhilarating amazingness.