This fall I have taken several trips for work and for my film project. Although I like travel, it comes with other responsibilities, like making sure things are set at home, that my son is in good care, that I have managed my commitments at work. Even with all that to think about, once I am suspended above, leaving the ground behind, I have time to settle into another space. I find that I read a lot on planes, that I think in taxis, and that generally my life is a little suspended when I step into the anonymity of another place. Rather than travel as motion, going somewhere, it becomes for me a time of stillness and reflection. This crossing over a footbridge in Thailand was a similar moment of presence and attention to the time, place, circumstance, and even uncertainty I was experiencing.

To get there,

we crossed a footbridge, the swaying kind,

over a deep ravine. The laughter of

my uncles and aunts was nervous as we

made our way across, holding the ropes on

either side, the bridge swaying back and forth.


While we waited for the food to arrive, I piled

into a hammock with the children, and we

gazed up at the shiny palm leaves, listening

to strange bird and insect sounds and

the laughter of the others. My

father had stayed behind at the hotel,

not well enough to come along. How

would he have managed the stone path,

the swaying bridge anyway? He had made the

journey across the world, but so

often he was not with us. He was leaving

us a little already. Or was it us leaving

him, hurrying on, moving forward?


After lunch, I watched as my family –

the aunties, the uncles, the cousins, my mother –

all walked unsteadily across the bridge,

their heads spinning with spicy food and cold beer.

They were laughing at themselves

swaying back and forth. For just a

short time they were suspended there,

in the uncertainty.

My grandfather, crossed mountains

and oceans to arrive in Thailand, and

my parents came to a new country,

suspended in the air before landing in America.

And my father, was he crossing over

into something else now?


As they hung there for that

brief time, I imagined that

if the bridge gave way, they would all

come to a dramatic, laughter-filled end.

Instead, they stepped off the bridge

on the other side and continued on,

still full of the light that carried

them across. Then I took a turn

crossing over – into

life on the other side.