The weather hasn’t done much of anything this whole three weeks in Thailand. The air is still and hot and dry and everything seems to have a layer of dust resting on it. I can convince myself this is just a quiet little road in Texas.
Until two nights ago. An uncharacteristic movement stirred in the cool night air as we walked home from the local restaurant down the road. The sun had just set and it seemed to trigger a mischievous wind. Something felt strange about it but strange in an enchanting way. When we returned to our little apartment we were drawn to the porch where we could keep watch on this stirring wind. The local stray dogs that claim this little side-street with as much sense of ownership as the people, began their nervous racket in the way dogs always seem to do just before a storm. For my little pug back home in Ohio, the sixth-sense reaction to a coming storm was a tucked tail and a sneaky dash into the garage where he could hide. For these dogs its racket, as though they are nervous and irritable with one another. Afraid.
Even the sound of the frogs in the nearby trees swelled up anxiously.
The animals were right. There was a storm contemplating its arrival. Soft-edged lightening made the sky glow to the North. Then to the North West. But it was gentle, and after a few minutes spent absorbed in writing, I re-awoke to my surroundings and found everything quiet and still again, just as before.
We are a few weeks into our month long stay here in Chiang Mai. It has felt nice to shut the backpack into a closet and leave my toothbrush at the sink. For just a brief while, it feels nice to pretend we have a home. The little spot we found off the main road costs either fifty dollars a night for a one-night stay, or 6 dollars a night for a month-long stay. I don’t understand the calculations there, but it’s a blessing and I’m grateful. Especially for that little porch; where we watch storms with fickle approaches. This is also where we watched the tiny red glow of a lone sky lantern. This is where we watch the brief fits of fireworks that spring out of nowhere to light the sky just above downtown Chiang Mai. “What are they celebrating?” I wonder. “Tuesday?”
I am grateful for this month to have a porch, or better yet, to have a place. I am grateful to have conversations with the vendors outside of 7/11 and to imagine that we may begin to recognize one another and remember eachothers’ names.
I eye my backpack. We have only been stationary for 8 days and just yesterday I found my thoughts wandering to “next places.” For seven days I was able to revel in the joy of being stationary, and on day 8 I felt the smallest desire to take up my pack again.
It worries me sometimes. Am I such a wanderer that I will never make someplace my home? As a person who loves community and feels a need to belong to communities, I can’t accept being a wandering stranger my whole life.
But what to do about this adventure-craving spirit?
Here is a question many of my friends share:
How can I reconcile need for the newness and adventure of travel and the need for familiarity and home?
Perhaps this was the enchanting appeal of the stirring wind. Perhaps I like a stirring movement, and a home-like porch.