Friday, June 4, 2010

All alone

I’ve been left behind before. Often, I stay so long here that volunteers come and go and I am left as the “veteran volunteer” – like a fixed piece of furniture. Since returning for a third time, I’ve sort of felt that way from the beginning.

Having experienced the coming and going and the dreadful weekend at the end of the month when all of the photographers leave and community volunteers embark on other journeys, I figured this year would be no different.

Time heals all wounds and I’d forgotten what it felt like to be left alone.

Martijn and I are the last ones left who arrived during the first week of May, and we are definitely feeling a pang of longing for our old friends. Poor Martijn is the only male volunteer left.

Maybe it’s my fault for getting so attached to some of the people, and I feel a jab of sadness when past volunteer’s notes are taken down from the wall, their e-mail addresses erased or their names taken off the schedules. Caroline, Martijn and I keep telling stories about last month, much to the chagrin of those who have newly arrived.

The truth is that once you’ve shared the ups and downs that occur so regularly on the project, and lived in such close quarters with volunteers, you become a team, and the breaking up of a team is never easy.

I’d thought I’d become hardened to it, that I could become a part of any team at any time. I thought I could switch camps without batting an eyelid, but I’m finding it much harder to do so this year.

Maybe I’m getting old.

Take your records, take your freedom,
Take your memories, I don’t need ‘em.
Take your space and take your reasons,
But you’ll think of me.
Take your cat and leave my sweater,
Cause we have nothing left to weather.
In fact, I’ll feel a whole lot better,
But you’ll think of me.

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