As I gaze out of the train window onto a thick fog, Liz Gilbert suddenly pops into my thoughts.
And I wonder.
I wonder if she traveled by train when she moved from place to place, as she wrote Eat, Pray, Love.
I wonder if she wrote longhand, in sweeping, cursive characters, or if she used an electronic device, as I do now.
I wonder if the view from her window was as hazy as some of the mental moments about which she wrote.
And I think about her discussion that genius is not to be had, but that it resides in each one of us.
I wonder about the historic buildings I see crumbling into the landscape. Why were these once glorious structures abandoned, and what stories are buried in the surrounding soil?
As I soar across France and Italy, I see an image not much different from home. Hills and valleys, farmlands and villages, graffiti-riddled relics and opulent castles dot the landscapes before me.
The cosmetics vary, yet the premise remains the same. Animals. Plants. People. Home.
Yesterday, I observed two young girls giggling as they tried to step onto the tops of each other’s feet. Though I could not interpret their words, their behaviors and squeals of delight were unmistakably universal, no different from children I’ve seen playing in their homelands of Mexico and America.
And I wonder, why, then, when we are so similar in so many ways, when we share so many common threads, when each of us holds within us the power of Liz Gilbert’s genius—the ability to create and manifest brilliance—do we war with one another? Why do we not emulate the grace of the land around us?
George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Maybe then, the grace lies within the learning, within the rubble…