If there’s one word to describe my recent visit to New York, it’s liminal. As in, transitional, on a threshold. And I like the idea of liminal space. I like it a whole lot. It suggests that rather than thin lines to be crossed, borders can be wide enough to exist in. Crossings can drag out, and the movement from one phase to the next might run longer than the phases themselves. Liminal space is the journey. Liminal space is where the stories are.
It so happened that almost all of the friends I saw in New York were in their own liminal space. S is getting married – they had just decided two days before. Another friend has a new gig after a year of traveling, and is in her first relationship in years where the other person feels like a partner rather than just someone she’s hanging out with. E is nearing the end of a long, drawn-out breakup. She’s decided to quit teaching and pursue her art. Two others are very, very pregnant. DB’s got a new apartment and new responsibilities at work. And V put her stuff in storage and left New York on a vision quest but then moved back, and sipping tea one night on her roof looking out at the Manhattan skyline (the Empire State Building lit white) she told me she’d met the person she’s going to marry, they’re just not talking right now.
It could be a lot of things. It could be that I’m getting ten months of absence compressed into one week. It could be that the seasons are changing and everyone’s anticipating the leaves. But I believe that signs are mirrors, Dear Friend, and I’ve been asking myself if my seeing everyone around me in a liminal space means that I’m in a liminal space too. (Of course it does.) And if New York isn’t home anymore and Detroit doesn’t feel like home yet, then where is home? (Or rather: When is home?)
How will I view this time in my life when I look back on it five years from now?
I don’t know. And I don’t know how else to move through this space than not to try to move through it. Than to listen and write and look for mirrors around me. Liminal space doesn’t work by the usual physics, but that doesn’t mean it’s pure chaos either. I’d like to think that there’s a kind of quantum entanglement going on here, spooky actions effected by patience, and attention.
Besides, it can be nice to be in the woods.