A physical demarcation between time periods in one’s life exists in the airports that I so often frequent in my nomadic life. The metal detector.

O Great Gray Arch-Arch  
Gatekeeper of the newer parts of us
Once passed, imaginary lines appear
No one can see them
Yet we all obey
National boundaries and identities
Bound up in thy boundless plastic simplicity
O keeper of time’s passage
O wordless sentry on the edge of our experiences
The opener and the closer
Look favourably on this particular pilgrim
Of all those many you will admit today
Keflavik offers you the splendor you require
Stained glass offerings above and around
Abstract, both faceless and somehow all faces
No clock will count my time until departure
For it is here

The smiling, neat steward turns her gaze
“Come through, please.”
Wanted or not, there is no hesitation
I am through

O Great Gray Arch-Arch
May you mark a new adventure
May you mark a new adventure

Not merely an ending

Yeah, guys. I just wrote an ode to the security line at the airport. In poetry form. Shut up. Today has been a weird day.

There is the double sting of the departure from Iceland, made worse like lemon juice (or perhaps acetone) in a paper cut by separation from my life partner. We said our goodbyes last night after a day of Scout-y games, jumping off the bridge into the lake one more time, a delicious dinner, and the absurdly early falling of nighttime at 21:30. A massive group hug appeared, into which even a random Polish backpacker who happened to be staying onsite was pulled, was our parting from the crew that we worked with the whole summer.

The only time that I have ever felt such a rush of belonging and imminent separation simultaneously is when my students rushed me on my last day at Escuela 5 in 2011.

We stepped out into uncharacteristic darkness on camp, with strains of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” blasting from the Service Centre full of volunteers and staff scrambling together to clean up. The Polish guy was wiping a table enthusiastically.

This is the hardest leave-taking that I have yet done since my travels began in earnest in 2010. Harder than Chile. Harder than London. Heaps harder than China, even though that pulled a few heartstrings in spite of itself.

I go from living with my husband, in a beautiful place we want to live in, doing what we want to do, for an organisation that genuinely does good in the world, with a tight knit community supporting us at all turns like a family….to separation by thousands of miles and opaque uncertainty about where or when I will see Russell again, and whether we have a job or not, and having to fucking purchase things like food and transport again (WHAT!), without that community. Oh yeah, and try to figure out moving to another continent. Again.

But damn it, I’m already over the threshold.

Someday we will be back, Iceland. The language I just heard when I took out my headphones, here in Keflavik? Korean. A sign, we hope.

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