A Xicano Walks Home Alone After Midnight

90 minutes into welcoming 50, I strolled back to my place with my earphones in place. I pressed play, to see what song my iPhone would give me. “Latinoamérica” by Calle 13. With that rola as an opening soundtrack for the next year of my life, I walked beneath the trees that line my street and just before turning into my apartment block, I stopped beneath a street lamp and looked out around me, at the sleeping buildings,  the closed shops, the occasional passing cars, and the towers of the city in the distance. And I thought too of the rutas that had led me here to Turkey. I thought of my connections to home —wherever that is— and to my family and my friends, spread out over multiple continents, countries, and time zones. I thought about the stories that bring us together, that connect us, that bind us as a community. Mine is a community bound by story and travel, threaded across distance and held together by history.

Wandering is the story of my body.

Each new decade seems to call for a taking stock, a review of that which has happened, and a setting of hopes for what will happen. 50, like 25, calls for a deeper reflection, a calling forth of all that of which we have born witness and all that to which we will witness in the future.

Standing beneath that streetlamp at 1:30 in the morning, on my quiet street on the edge of Ankara, I thought about all this, about routes and roots, about the personal soundtracks we make in our steps, about the secret pathways of the heart and the power of communion and community.

Ok, 50, let’s see what you got.

“Vamos dibujando el camino
Estamos de pie
Vamos caminando
Aquí estamos de pie.”

—Calle 13, “Latinoamérica”

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