Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"I am you and you are me and we are......."

                                                  Homage to a Madagascar Warrior.

When I was little, my Uncle Paul and my dad helped me become interested in stamp collecting. They gave me a big bag full of little colorful paper pictures and a book  in which to attach them according to country. It was from this earliest time that I first learned the word Madagascar and heard my father intone, with his heavy German accent, its capital Antananarivo. My favorite stamp from there, featured what I assumed was a tribal chief bedecked in skins and holding a spear.
Over sixty years have past since I proudly found the right spot on the album page and affixed this fellow to a black and white photo of himself. I think how much the world has changed since then and consider the fact that if this warrior were still alive, he might today be carrying a cellphone tucked in his loincloth.

My curiosity drives me to explore what was once his magical world and to meet his ancestors and descendants. I wonder what I might find that still shows the remnants of that former time. Feeling amazing excitement and anticipation of adventure, I write today from the Seattle airport, finishing what might be my last cup of Starbucks for some time, as I wait for my flight which will eventually take me to his large island off of East Africa. In a way, I feel a sensation that he has invited me, lured me since childhood to experience his mysterious world. I am finally answering the call and am on the way.

I will do my best to stay in touch with you, my friends and family, and report on what I find over this next month although opportunity to connect to the internet may be intermittent.


  1. I know you're excited and I am excited for you!! Enjoy!!

  2. I am so not ready for this. I've known for over a month that you were going to Madagascar, and from the little you told me about your trip I knew it was going to be pretty rough and primitive, starting with your guide holding up a sign at the airport with your name on it so you'd know who he was. Hopefully, it also means he speaks English!

    That caused me some small amount of anxiety, but then I knew all along that "rough and primitive" was what you wanted, to go back in time to the childhood of the human race and the beginnings of civilization. Nobody who had the opportunity to do that would pass it up, and you least of all. For a while I wondered if there was some slight possibility of talking you into staying in South Africa, which I've heard is very beautiful (not to mention more civilized and comfortable and a whole lot safer) but that didn't seem too likely and I guess I didn't really feel like pressing the issue. I ended up not saying anything about it at all.

    Then I got immersed in my own projects and pretty much forgot all about it. I didn't even remember what day you were leaving, although I knew it was sometime in April. When I checked my Blogger dashboard after reading this post in my email, I saw that it was posted 10 hours ago. That means you're probably in New York right now, or maybe somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.

    As I said, I am definitely not ready for this. I apologize for launching straight into an email in the comments section of your blog, when I could have done it any time in the last month. Then I would at least have known what day and time you were leaving, instead of learning about it when you were already on your way.

    As always, may you be under the protection of the Shekhinah.

  3. And one other thing: I'm pretty sure I never heard or read the name Antananarivo before in my life--not until last night when I read this post for the first time. I didn't even know Madagascar HAD a capital, let alone what the name was! I just wrote it in a notebook five times in a row, so hopefully I'll remember it from now on.

    It's so weird to think you've known this exotic foreign word since you were five or six years old, because you have a specific memory associated with it.

  4. Great start. It's going to be amazing!