Most of you know that B and I took a trip to Europe last summer. We probably took thousands of pictures, none of which I’ve printed, even though I had dreams of making some kind of beautiful scrapbook or collage or AT LEAST framing ONE of them.
We went to Spain, France, and Germany. Spain was marvelous. France was elegant and tiring. Germany was respite with a good, old friend. If we’d had more energy, it would have been fascinating.
We flew into Barcelona from New York, the same day that we had finally, officially moved out of our apartment. We were so rushed that our last day in New York–when we were supposed to be cleaning the apartment–we were doing things like lugging our 15 pounds of coins to the nearest bank with a coin sorter (30 blocks away) and depositing the cash into our Europe fund. I had just graduated from seminary that week. B was still jet-lagged from a trip to Korea with his mom. Our flight out of New York, more than anything, felt like a punch in the gut.
The first day in Barcelona was like blinking sleep out of one’s eyes. As if awoken from the terrible dream of leaving a life we loved, we rambled across the sunny city in a daze. Gaudi‘s wild architecture, fantastical and nearly grotesque, stretched us awake and alert. Some people call it Dr. Suess-ish. I call it distorted, but in the most beautiful and imaginative way.
We walked all day, all over the city, like we used to walk in New York: along the beach, up the hill to Parc Guell, past a choir weaving silken hollow tunes. We walked into the dusk, winding around lanes and plazas in the old city as the sky deepened to indigo. We tried to find somewhere to eat; got crabby when it was hard to find a restaurant. And we brainstormed names of what we thought Joe and Laura might have named Brian’s goddaughter, who we knew was born earlier that day. (They named her Hannah, which was perfect of course.)
It was such a simple evening. Sore feet, step upon step, earthen stones cobbled next to one another. But perhaps, that evening, I realized that walking away from New York was only a walk like any other.
Sometimes choices feel as if they will affect the rest of our lives, and often they do. But what we don’t consider in our deliberating is that the control we have of any situation is just fantasy. Control only exists until chance ultimately trumps choice and the chips fall where they fall. It will be then that we wish we had better appreciated the walk.