Thursday, January 28, 2010


"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible to others." - jonathan swift

Sometimes trips are nothing more than that, a journey's end driven by the impatient urge to just get there. We bungle our way through a blur of images, all gone in a blink of an eye, with no lasting impression but a few haphazard snapshots or postcards to remind us of where we've been. But I've always been more interested in the journey that is the destination. I don't travel just to unveil the secrets of an unfamiliar country but to reveal the mysteries of my own inner workings. The destination not just a means to an end, but a journey that unfolds to reveal the dark continent that is the self. I was never one to worry something until it frayed, rather when life got tough, I usually got going. A short respite, while I turned life inside out. My self-imposed exiles took me into pockets of the world where I could lose myself, and rip free all the binds that held me. It was an opportunity to untangle myself from the muck and mire of my daily grind, the gnawing of discontent that chewed you raw. I was driven by the feeling that there was something more, and the compulsion to seek it out. In shedding responsibilities, I shed my identity. And in a strange land where the people had no relationship to me I could become invisible, travel as a ghost unseen. With travel comes a feeling of displacement, as if you don't belong anywhere, to anyone, at any time. You quickly find that it's a very shop-window version of life, in that you're automatically set up for outsider status. Even as you drift from one city into the next, crossing borders, swapping out languages, it's as if you always remain stationary. The world moves without you. It's a strange sensation, as if you can move through a place without leaving a single trace, without making any effect, without making any contact. And even as the threads of my identity lay unraveling, there was a way to pull taut the frayed seams of myself. In losing myself in unfamiliar surrounding, I was somehow revealed. By letting go of all resistance, I learned to surrender, and in that space I found freedom. To me, this was ghost traveling.

In my travels I have met dozens of like-minded people from all over the world. Like myself, they never considered themselves vacationers, but rather travelers in search of something intangible. We were not so unlike the saffron-clad Sadhus who wandered India seeking spiritual enlightenment. We were possibly less holy, had not given up all our earthly possessions, but we had for a short time left behind all that defined us. We too found meditation in the passing days, weeks, and months that followed us. Though we may have started our journeys with the intention of forgetting, we in fact began remembering.

Transparent pie is a popular Southern dessert with many variations, depending on who's making or eating it. It typically has a glossy sweet filling based on brown sugar, molasses, corn or maple syrup, and is thickened with egg. Some folks add tart jellies, lemon or vinegar to cut the sweetness. Transparent pie is in the same family as chess, sugar, or vinegar pies. This particular recipe doesn't include cream, but many do. Some versions even come with meringue tops.

Transparent Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1 cup corn syrup
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
For Flavor add: EITHER 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp lemon juice OR 2 tbsp tart jelly
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.
  2. Bake for 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 375° F and bake for an additional 30 - 35 minutes, or until knife inserted between edge and center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.

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