Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coming Over – Edith Milton




Edith Milton - ????

Displaced.

I’ve been lucky in this life so far as to have never been forcibly displaced from my home.

There are plenty though in this world that have, and are, and will. It’s one thing when something like a flood or fire takes away your home, you can be angry and upset, but can you really gain the needed satisfaction of getting angry at a flood?

When a man or groups of men, or a government displaces you, then you have something, someone to direct your anger towards – that can feel it.

Now, if it impacts them, that’s another story.

Milton knows what it feels like to be displaced, and it shows through her story. Displaced not only physically – but psychologically.

It’s the psychological displacement that I can, and I think most people can relate to. I would venture to say that a great number of people feel displaced psychologically at one time in their life.

Milton’s story takes place on a ship crossing the Atlantic.

I spent some time on a ship once, and it happened to be during a period in my life when I was going through a mental displacement.

I was on the Volga River traveling between Volgograd and Astrakhan Russia. As companions, I had Germans, Dutch, English, Japanese, French, Americans and of course Russians both sexes well represented in all of the nationalities.

We drank, we danced, we smoked, and we sat on the deck chairs and tried to impress the girls with our “personalities”.

Time on that ship was spent discovering limits and boundaries – not only in others but within ourselves.

Some of us sought to create new identities but the realization that doing so is far more difficult than ever imagined.

The close quarters, and the anonymity that the closure of our trip would soon allow us - brought down the walls of civility, courtesies and behavior that existed on shore.

It’s as if we were free of the burdens of our lives for the voyage.

We forgot to sleep knowing that any time doing so would be wasted. I had to stay awake as to fill each hour with meaning and adventure.

I learned a lot about people on the ship and a lot about myself.

My displacement was a good thing, and allowed for growth.

I was forever changed after that trip down the Volga.

our ship

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