A Tourist In My Own Town

wan·der·lust

ˈwändərˌləst/
noun
  1. A strong desire to travel.

Ever get the urge to pack up all your shit and head for the hills? Well, let me tell you for me it’s not an urge, it’s REAL. But giving in to all my urges was my past life. I’m trying out this new thing called Adult. Sort of… I mean does my obsession with sparkles and never being able to call my mommy, “Mom” make me a child forever? If so, I succumb to it. But this urge to suddenly flee sometimes hit me in full force and to get away without getting away I play the game of tourist for the day. Luckily I live in San Diego, Killer California where loveliness smiles back at you in every direction whether it’s the beach-babe infested coast, the sin city, the photo op obsessed deserts, or even the Burbs that are turning trendy as hellfire. I don’t know what I would do if I lived in a place like Arkansas or Idaho…Join a book club, get fancy for Denny’s night? No, lets not even go there. Instead, let’s go to Balboa Park where every crevasse holds a special kiss to our senses.

 

Roaming around this 1,200-acre urban cultural park I can get lost for hours. It’s madness how many randomly placed benches there are. Whose job was it to find homes for these rump sanctuaries? And did they know that people like me would go there to forget the world? Some are hidden and some are out in the open. You can tell a lot about a person by which bench they choose. Mine always overlooks the wilderness trench with deeply rooted trees that make me contemplate my own roots and how far my branches will reach. Why is it that when I feel dark my bench always seems completely shaded and obscured but when I’m as light as air the sunlight swallows me whole? It knows…

The museums are a little too much for me. When I look at art I look for meaning and in that contemplation, my own blue print comes into view which gets in the way of why I went to Balboa in the first place; to get away. So, I keep it pushing past the Museum of Man, past MOPA, and past the statues that look half monster/ half beautiful being. I wander to the fountains and make my way over the bridge taking my time between the rose gardens. Have you ever seen a rose so beautiful that you want to pluck a petal off and taste it? Don’t. Nothing ever tastes as good as it looks (and I might know from experience that it taste rather bitter). That’s beyond the point.

It was bliss to wonder in the kingdom of roses with the sun warming me from the outside where my sunlight inside did no good. In my Steve Madden bag, my phone was ringing. Text message. Facebook alert. Instagram notification. Email. Email. Email. At that moment the only person I would have answered was God, and I highly doubt he would have sent me a Snap. I sat on the grass that overlooked green canyons and warm valleys blocking out everything that had been pulling on my attention for the past week. I inhaled a deep breath that smelt like earth, nature before man. Suddenly something hit me like lightning striking on a clear blue day and in my surprise, I let go. Sitting there held down by gravity and the heavy chains of my responsibilities I could feel my other self’s wings expand as I  flew above the rose bushes, above the tourist taking pictures, FREE FREE FREE. Life was good when you remembered it. Life was even better when you could forget about it. Free at last. 

Slowly I rose brushing the blades of grass off my dark faded jeans and made my way back over the bridge where I had come. I walked past the other tourist who looked fascinated and lost at the same time. What did my face look like? Maybe they could see the secrets that shone in my eyes… Or maybe I just looked like another tourist.

I was searching for something I had lost… But what are you suppose to do when you have no idea what it is you lost? Or if you know what you lost, but it was never really yours in the first place…

Keep moving forward.

So on I stumbled, walking past the pond and looking at the red, white, and brilliantly spotted orange fishes that cost a fortune. Koi meant Love and Eternity in Japanese. I wondered if the Koi fish could feel as much love as human beings did in their imprisoned waters. What about the pains? Suddenly I felt sorry for the Koi’s who swam in and out of my reflection. On and on and on, I only traveled forward.

Past the Old Globe and under arches and Palm trees, past the Japanese Friendship garden whose Cherry Blossoms one day will bloom like cotton candy, stopping briefly before the magnificent Organ Pavillion constructed by the Famous Architect Harrison Albright which first opened on December 31, 1914. Whenever I look at this monument I think of the time that I saw it lit up at night and a public concert was underway. The Organs rang to the masses and I stared at the lights illuminating the faces of so many strangers who had all been brought together because of the efforts of one small human being sitting at the center of the Pavillion playing notes on a bench that her soul knew better than anyone; The Organist at the seat of her instrument.

But I quickly blinked away the memories before I remembered too much and walked to a path which might have been the darkest part of the park just because of all the trees that swayed overhead. The bridge that led me to my salvation was old and wooden just the way it should have been. I was too tired for shiny newness. I didn’t follow the path down the stairs where a couple was having a violent makeout session. Instead I made a spilt for a dirt path that was less used and deeper into the cliff side. No one was there. On my bench… They wouldn’t dare. I sat down and the muck of life fell off me like a dirty and overused cloak. I took my Micheal Kors black patent pumps off and sat Indian style. The Concrete below me was cold and the wind had picked up making my hair brush back and forth from my neck to my cheek. People below me snapped away for pictures that would flood their social media accounts and in their excitement, they were oblivious to me. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind, smiling that no one could see me and yet everyone could look as I sat in my solitude.

As the minutes passed and the lovers took their last pictures I swallowed one last glimpse of everything surrounding me. I was seeing a mess of a jungle in the middle of stunning San Diego and it could have been the very replica of my heart. But that’s okay… I had gotten away and to run away from your troubles is fine, just don’t ignore that urge to take one last glimpse back as you walk away forever. Today I played the part of tourist in my own city, my sanctuary. Nothing calms me more than silence. Nothing can make me feel better than the wind carressing me. Nothing can make me feel more at home than when I’ve been gone. I put my pumps back on and neatly brushed back the hairs that had come loose.

I traced a tiny heart on my bench with my manicured finger as if it was a sealed promise that I would be back. In the meantime, let’s hope my place remains cool. The heat of my life is going to need it. When that day comes, maybe I’ll wear a fedora to blend in better with the tourist. Did I find answers? No. Did I find strength? I never lost it I just simply needed to get away.

xoxox

Lindsay

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