Middle of the World, Ecuador
I’m often somewhere on the edge of something, teetering at the top of a sky scrapping mountain or testing the come hither of a lapping shore. I am drawn to the dare of nearly loosing myself at the end of something both physically and metaphorically speaking. The thrill is in the rush, the push. The edges of the world are the places where I feel the smallest, the least worried, and the most grateful. It’s where cares are thrown therapeutically to the wide wind. Freedom to regress.
I rarely consider the center of the earth. I don’t often enough contemplate the work of staying centered, grounded, in the middle. Maybe because it’s less glamours, less outwardly exciting and requires a little more effort of the mind to steady instead of float, to focus instead of escape, to confront instead of release.
I never would have suspected an average tourist trap venture to the physical middle of the World somewhere near Quito, Ecuador to inspire such melodramatic exploration of the mental center of my being but there I was, lost in existential thoughts while trying to find my footing along a heavy yellow line that blatantly, if not boringly painted the ground indicating the split of hemispheres. With direct attention on my feet intently connecting, I stomped around the hard concrete stairs of the symbolic structure. In ridiculing simplicity, plain, large markings of North, South, East, and West stood unwavering highlighting our human ability to choose our direction and the ultimate choice of choosing to be aware of staying grounded and centered no matter which way you might wander.
I found myself ever so aware of the gravity that held me steady and then aware of all things held. I wondered if someone could be standing in the exact spot opposite of me, on other side of the world sharing the same line of tugging force. If they were there, what did they look like? Were they happy in that moment? Could they be wondering the same things or was I the only bag of crazy overthinking life and grateful for the gravitational pull that was holding my brain in from exploding? Or was there nothing, nothing at all, just illusions of our wandering imagination? I chose to picture someone laughing and jumping, sending their energy shooting through the earth and into my soles connecting their energy to me and me trying to catch it like a hug and that energy extending to the next person I connect to with the option of flashing a smile or glance in anger, and that leading to a reaction in them that dominos to the next being and beyond.
I wasn’t thinking to fly into the ether or to swim to the abyss. The bond to the moments I shared with those surrounding me was energizing and inspiring. I felt empowered to perpetuate joy. I embraced the feeling being held by the ground and suspended in time, united by space. I reveled in my connection to the Earth’s core and its connection to the cores of all of us that make us human and relatable. I found it incredibly calming and comforting.
I’ve never felt closer to the sky or further from the edge. I’ve never felt so not alone. I was for that moment a part of the center of the world itself together with everyone else.