One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ask The Passengers and Ask The Landscape

I just finished reading Ask The Passengers by A. S. King. (Yeah, her name spells asking. I love that.) In it, Astrid explores questions about herself, her friends, her family, her life, and her blossoming sexuality. She also has love. Lots of it. And because she can't seem to find a pathway from herself to the people on the ground around her--those aforementioned friends and family--she sends her abundance of love up to the passengers in the planes she sees in the sky. She lies on the picnic table outside of her house, gazes up into the wide sky, seeks and finds those planes and, in its purest and most free form, she gives her love to the people inside them. Strangers. Strangers just happening to pass by at those particular moments. Strangers with their own lives, their own families and friends...with their own complicated, deep, frightening, and liberating love.

It will be no surprise to learn that I am madly in love with this gesture. With this idea. With this structure that A. S. King has chosen. (For she gives those love-given passengers one-time monologues within the novel. We get to see snapshots of these strangers, who are then not strangers. We get to witness the connections that they make with Astrid, even though they don't know it.  We get to see how her love just might make a difference in their lives, in their loves, in those moments when the thread between the giver and the receiver is in contact with both. Kind of stunning.)

We all struggle with feelings we can't decipher. We all struggle to find ways to express the feelings we do manage to identify. I also think we tend to spend time looking inward and very close to home as we sift and problem solve and make decisions about those feelings. Or I know I do anyway. And sometimes that is a good process.  A very good one.  But sometimes it falls short. And here is what Ask The Passengers made me think: In those falling-short moments, what if we engaged in a process like Astrid's? What if we sifted and problem solved and made those decisions in the context of the wide sky? The open field? The dense, chattering forest? The vast ocean? What if we asked the landscape to help us find and express our feelings? And what I mean by this is what if we recognized that the world is full of people, creatures, plants, and life that is both so similar to and so different from us, all at the same time. If we seek answers out in the world we just might find strangers, in whatever form, who can help us. And in our simply seeking, in that humble process, we will most definitely begin to help ourselves... and we just might help those strangers--who are then not strangers--too.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous. Love this. Can't wait to read this one!