Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mongola Ju


The morning sky is like being inside a crystal ball. It is 6:30 am and I lie on my back gazing up from my yoga mat at the gray clouds as they swirl above, far out of reach, on the other side of the glass. The energy is potent and electric, proposing mystery of what the day may bring.
But, I already know what’s in store for me…..lots of concrete mixing and “supervising” on the worksite. How does it happen that a group of 20 teenagers are entrusted to build a house?

Mongola Ju sits high on the hills outside of the Crater and a swift wind kicks up the rocky, meandering dirt road, staining the buildings and huts. A vast view abounds from every hilltop contributing to it’s lofty expansiveness. And also a sense of…loneliness?

I keep thinking of my sister. 

I am rolling in dirt here - it’s my “African tan” so we say. The granules of red sand engrain themselves in the lines of my skin and fill up every pore, so much so, that I’ve taken on a new color. 
My hair loves the dirt too. It sweeps it up and stores it for safe keeping. I can fashion my waxy locks into a bun, pony, or braid with no need for a hair tie. Even the the skin on my heels is acting peculiar. It snags on my sleeping bag at night in a disturbing “nails on a chalkboard” kind of way. 
So why am I thinking of Jenna? 

I place her as the opposite of all this. I envision her disgust as I describe the toilet pits (oh how they reek!), the mice in my tent, the fact that I wear the same clothes to bed as I work in all day, and how using a baby wipe starts to seem like a completely adequate way to bathe. I don’t think she could handle it, and strangely this thought brings me strength. 
I miss her. 
In this wide open space of red dirt and corn fields I long for closeness. For the closeness I once had with my sister when I was a young child. I miss the closeness I felt when I was a sophomore in college and she was my crutch and my saving grace. 
I miss her.

Across the two continents and the expanse of the ocean, I feel the distance begin to close. Pitting her against my experience seems to draw her closer and she finds a little space in my heart to nestle into as I live out my days in the dirt and the dust of Mongola Ju.