See You When I See You

It stops like it started—the butterfly effect of tragedy.  Last April I was halfway to Kathmandu when the Nepal earthquake stranded me in Europe during a stopover.  Then a few weeks ago I cancelled a flight to Bangladesh after the mass killing of foreigners in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter.  Rather than follow an alternate route into South Asia, I took stock of my situation and perceived a waning enthusiasm for life from a backpack.  So I booked a ticket home to Maui (via Beijing), in pursuit of a different sort of challenge.  Until then I glide around Chaoyang District on Brett’s bike while late afternoon sunlight bleeds through willows and Chinese traffic swirls around me.  In the closing chapter, as my mind searches for lessons from this vast matrix of codes and colors, I wonder how authentic I have become.  I eventually realize the fallacy of this query, because all my faces have always been me: one fully realized being slipping between expressions amidst the changing depths of human experience.  Nevertheless, a question remains: upon which version of the self do I choose to focus energy, understanding that visualization shapes perspective to form reality?  Behind open eyes 16 months of travel coalesce into a pulsating mass of blurred backdrops as these video game worlds break down into waves.  I slip through haze and yellow splotches on an open road, and think about those who wandered with me for a bit under a dying sun.