I am supposed to be doing prostrations right now. In fact, I usually do prostrations before dinner, but my stomach hurt and I wanted to go for a walk and buy guavas and plantain chips in the late afternoon sunlight. So I did.
And then I came home and ate guavas and plantain chips instead of dinner, which, surprisingly didn’t make my stomach feel any worse and maybe even helped? I washed the guavas in my sink, dried them thoroughly, sat on the floor, and peeled them with my trusty Opinel knife that comes with me everywhere. Guavas here are round and rich and the size of an apple. They are custardy and sweet inside with spirals of little crunchy seeds. I ate two, in halves, savoring the creamy flesh and daydreaming over pages of food blogs.
I spent today aching and dreaming. Aching because my stomach is not used to being fed rich meals three times a day and anyway, I seem to process change and uncertainty in my belly as much or more than I do in my thoughts. Dreaming because my mind has been full of nostalgia, pastel colors, and the feeling of running your fingers over lace spread out on a table.
It’s a funny thing, seeking. Everywhere I go, my questions come with me. I spent today dreaming about time spent inside of kitchens and outside of cities. These are the places I go looking for comfort, wherever I am. Lately I have spent my days listening to texts written centuries ago, lists of descriptions of how the world is and how the world is not. I feel I have hardly had moments to be in the world to feel how it is and how it is not. Of course, this isn’t true. Short of deep, deep sleep or a sharp blow to the head, there is no moment when we are not in the world.
But this is the nature of nostalgia. It is longing for what we do not have now. Often, I find myself believing that I long for something I had once or would have elsewhere. But I have been in a kitchen making pastry, while dreaming of being where I am now, and look how that works out. I have even been in a kitchen making pastry while dreaming of being in a kitchen making pastry–another time, another place, another way to feel.
Like always, nostalgia comes accompanied by the wondering of what will happen to me. To France; to retreat; to home; to learn Tibetan; to some other unimagined fate? It is a dream of the future as much as the past. Yearning and questioning come on the heels of uncertainty, the coattails of doubt. I am young and untamed and my mind is wild with such things, though I know they do me no good.
Perhaps I will long for a kitchen until I am in a kitchen, where I will l long for the place I am now. But tonight I will take my longing and lay it down before Buddha and ask for example in how to let go of what hangs on but does not help. This is the path. May it guide me.