It’s a walk in the dark, it’s a talk in the morning…
In 2011, I took a train from New York City, the mother of all cities very dear to my heart, to San Francisco. I started this journey, without even knowing where this irresistible urge to cross this whole continent came from.
The further west I moved the more things inside of me were opening up, shaking me, waking my heart up and a whole new story began that I could not really grasp it with my mind at that time. I just knew that I felt very deeply connected to the ground I was walking on, something I had never felt before.
I remember a friend of mine saying, “standing in front of the Pacific Ocean is like being at the end of the world”, for me it felt like finding a thread of its beginning. This is where new things start. I will never forget the moment of my arrival in California, getting off the train, the humid air greeting me with a warm hug, different tones of greens welcoming me. The Pacific Ocean in view, like a good old friend, waves coming and going, singing their song to me, starting to make my heart a wide, open, free space. On the other side of the Blues of the Pacific Ocean lies Japan. I could smell it in the air and feel in every part of me, the plants not familiar that I found alongside the sidewalks.
I was travelling on my own, my camera was my companion, following long known paths that only seemed to be new.
Everybody told me that I would fall in love with San Francisco immediately. And that I would not be comfortable with being in Los Angeles since I am a great wanderer adoring to explore the streets by foot. But life is full of surprises. Jumping out of the bus at a dodgy bus terminal in downtown L.A. for the first time made me feel almost like flying – so light. I remember a long first bus ride that I did not want to come to an end along one single boulevard to Santa Monica, I had a smile on my face that would stay there for a long time. Palm trees – a sky so wide. That’s the beginning. It’s the start of a long story of opening up, piece by piece new parts of the puzzle being revealed to me, being mixed up all together in new ways. My first “home-coming” story. Soon to be followed by others, all made possible by this first love.
I always love to be a stranger and to walk on ground that I do not know. Meeting others and being pleased by the strangeness of the other, and also my own strangeness. I am always thinking this feeling is the engine that drives me, the feeling of not belonging to the ground I am walking on. Ever since I was a kid I loved to travel and never wanted to go back to our home place after the end of the holidays, asking my parents to just leave me wherever we had been. I was never really comfortable being German. I could not see what would be interesting about this country and would have rather liked to be French or Spanish or at least grow up in a bilingual family, not speaking this Swiss-German-like dialect from the Black Forrest in the south of Germany. The houses in my dreams did not have fir trees in their gardens but palm trees.
Over the last couple of years after this trip through the US I felt like being miraculously guided to so many places where I felt home immediately, sometimes even before my feet kissed the ground of a new place for the first time. I remember being at the airport in Vienna before my first trip to India, another place that enchanted me so much, the neon colours of the gateway signal promisingly blinking B O M B A Y. Sitting among the Indian families looking forward to visiting their home giving me a first insight into the soul of the country, it almost felt the same for me. What makes you feel like coming home arriving in a country you have never been before?
I traveled far and wide in search for adventure and beauty, going back and forth between Berlin where I live and the world. And all I discovered were new places inside of me, new homes inside of myself, sometimes leaving me lost and confused in the beginning because of being so unknown to me. With each country or place, it felt like recollecting missing parts of myself, there was something gently resonating deeply within my heart, encounters happening in which the impossible could become possible, taking me to places I have never been before, following the dance of the soul. Regaining piece by piece what seemed to be lost. And I didn’t even know it.
…That´s us. A wild combination…
My heart is full of gratitude that I am gifted the possibility to listen and follow the deep calling of places and landscapes. Sometimes it takes me a while to follow the call, sometimes I am afraid, and I am thankful that I could hear their voices despite of all the fear, all holding special messages for me, available merely because the heart-donkey was strong enough to bring me there. Places faraway and recently around the corner, realizing the jungle is just a footstep away.
Vast, huge landscapes, make the heart beats higher. Names of villages and mountains like exclamation marks, saying you have the power to be everything you want to be. Places where the clouds kiss the horizon, where there is no beginning and no end. The moon and the stars smiling at me. You are well guided. The earth never had a more soothing voice, golden roots growing deeper and deeper. A lucky cloud in the sky too, following the birds in which way the wind blows. Bridging the earth and the sky. What a mystery this life is. Mountains moving me forward and forward. Their deep silence entering me while sitting with them, inspiring me with both their strength and their softness. I didn’t know that mountains have a voice. But the world is a place of wonder and they were secretly guiding me to my most favourite place where the heart of the earth could whisper into my ear: We want you. Just like that. In the middle of talking mountains it is possible to find something I have been looking for for a long time. If you open your heart, we will only fill it with more beauty. And I know that’s the promise.
A feeling of complicity and communion with the people, especially the women, of the world arises, all looking like sisters and grandmothers, with their strong faces reminding me that I am a woman too. Sharing the space in front of our noses. Part of one big heart, waiting for us to reside inside of us.
…And it’s waking my heart up
And it’s breaking my heart,
But mostly Taking it over
Like the sun shines gloriously through the sky
– Arthur Russell-
So here I am. It feels like home is the web, the patterns of my life’s magic carpet woven. There is a vision shining through, a deep knowledge and remembrance of a whole universe, a home I would like to live in. Where everything is connected, where there is an encounter. Because when there is an encounter sometimes something happens.
This year I went back to visit New York. A city that is like a big mother, a tough one but welcoming all her children on her small island with open arms, remembering how she was holding me when I first arrived lifetimes ago, before setting out on the adventure of touching new unknown ground. Only now I realize almost exactly seven years ago she already birthed me into the I would say most tumultuous but beautiful years of my life so far. So much wanted to be seen and discovered I couldn’t even think of. And only now I realize, she did it again. It feels like a new circle begins where a palm tree can happily grow out of a fir-tree. It seems like home is this Life on a magic carpet. It all starts to make sense now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susanne Probst is a designer who loves to take photographs and tell stories.
She was born on a Monday. A 7th. If you want to tell her a story, meet her, work with her, call or send her a letter. She is looking forward to it!