One month ago today, we loaded up the Crusier and headed west. This morning I am back in front of my iMac, laughing as I fumble with actions that in November were mindless, but which now are a little stiff from want of practice. The sun is rising, and I am looking out the window at a pale blue sky and snow-covered ground. Toto, we are not on the coast anymore.
I had mixed feelings about coming home. Travel isn't just fun, it's imperative, I think. Different landscapes, different cultures.... getting a taste of what seems normal and natural for people in other places. Watching other people relate to their home places can be delightful and disillusioning, and it certainly made me think a lot about how I relate to mine. I thought often of how long it takes for people to become oblivious to their usual surroundings. When do people get "too busy" to hear the sound of waves, or note the rise and fall of a river? When do mountains and cliffs become just a backdrop or grasslands become just a surface? When does it all become just a playground or real estate?
And what if we never noticed any of it in the first place? I grew up in a suburb that was once shortgrass prairie, but never, in all my school years there, did anyone ever point that out to me. The prairie was just something early settlers crossed to get to the good stuff. (So despite groaning at school buses in the parking lot at Natural Bridges beach on our tidepool morning, I was pleased that kids were discovering the wonder of their home place.)
We discovered things about the Santa Cruz area that we loved, and things that made us feel so lucky to live in Salida. By covering the spaces in between by car, we have a stronger sense of what lies along one path between us and the Pacific.
Yesterday, as we made our last push for home, I lamented the things I didn't get done, the big internal changes that I hoped to make that still needed more time. David reminded me this adventure will continue to shape our lives in ways that we haven't yet imagined.
Suddenly I am thinking of a favorite line from Tolkien: "It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step on to the path, and if you don't mind your feet there's no telling where you'll be swept off to."
We're home now... but I'm going to keep stepping out the door. This morning's path seems to lead to the post office to collect the mail, but after that? There's no telling.