Accidental Ritual

Anxiety of passing time is how I knew.  I missed the shift from red to black to blue.

The last time I talked about plane travel, I marveled that "Out of an airplane window, I'm often surprised at how quickly the view can change, even as the framework stays the same.  But just as often, what's surprising is how the details of the view can be so consistent, even as we move through the environment at hundreds of miles per hour."

Life is just like that, sometimes.  You take one particular trip in the spur of the moment, and then after a decade has flown by, what shocks you isn't that you're still doing that same thing — taking that same trip, to those same places; visiting those same people…  But rather, the shock is in how odd it feels when you're forced to shift.  In how ingrained those familiar details have become, and how unsteady life feels when something what wasn't supposed to be a pattern — a ritual — suddenly has to wait.

Between the past and future, present ever lies.  I see myself through ever changing eyes.

The way I'm used to thinking about it, ritual has always felt like such a heavy thing.  Not a bad thing, but… something with so much weight to it.  It's attention to details; especially details that you stick to not because they're necessarily relevant in the moment, so much as because that's how it's always been done, and that's the way it's meant to be done.  It's a connection more to the past than to the present.  It's making sure to jump through the right hoops, in the right ways, so that your forebears would be proud.

I hadn't fully realized until today.  That I had not just lost, but found my way.

Starting from there, it's felt particularly confusing to realize that something that I want — something that I've always wanted — looks so much like a ritual, even though it doesn't feel that way.  Something where the details always felt fluid and fungible.  Where I could delay… but why would I want to?

How can a home be a ritual?  How can belonging be a ritual?  I think that's what still feels so foreign.

Of course, in a lot of ways, I guess the ritual isn't the place or the feelings.  It's the journey.

As seasons rise and wane our latent feelings follow.  The bitter sweet of change is hard to swallow.

And I guess the part of the ritual that's more necessary than enjoyable is when I leave those homes.  When each place where I belong — that is home, while I'm there — goes back to being somewhere I did belong.  Will belong.  Should belong.  When the belonging is in every tense except the present.

The tiny details of a visit help me feel: The love of a reheated home-cooked meal.

But the recurring joy of the ritual is when the future sense of belonging arrives into the present again, even as the presence of those other homes drift further into the past.

At last, at home, I land and write the final rhyme

I yearn to start the cycle yet another time



Hey, it's me! I’ve been a documentary photographer for 17 yrs, software engineer for even longer, and plenty of other things in between.