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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hearts & Teardrops: A Geography Lesson

Years ago, sitting in my English professor's office, I found a curious wall map of the U.S.

It was a canvas divided only with states' borders; instead of cities, the painting was dotted with partial and broken hearts and teardrops like pushpins marking an emotional geography.

I asked my professor what the hearts and teardrops represented on the non-topographical map. He told me they were placemarks for locations where hearts still lingered and tears still stained the people and relationships of the artist's life.

It got me thinking as to where I would place my hearts and tears around the country. I have lived in the Midwest, East Coast, and now the West and Southwest.

How many hearts and tears would there be for my sixty some years of living as my relationships changed: marriage, divorce, separation, and friendships that touched me, a mix of love and hurt, joy and sadness?

Some relationships, no matter where they happened, stay with me; others are gone and not stood the test of time.

My personal geography, like the painting, has its share of both symbols marking my emotional terrain throughout the years.

They represent some of the happiest and some of the most painful experiences of my life.

Nevertheless, my emotional geography is not a map I would change. My map is filled with geography lessons that are part of the journey I have known and have shaped me into who I am.

Did I take the roads less travelled? Did I end up in places I never thought I would? Looking back, does it really matter? The detours were often the best parts of the trip.

I'm still traveling and expect I will add more hearts and tears along the way. What's important are the experiences they represent of a life fully lived.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Broken Heart by Billy Alexander

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