The season begins to rest upon. To turn. To penetrate, moving from skin to deep inside marrow. It can still be short sleeve sunny in the middle of the day but rich decaying leaf smell is unmistakable and if we sleep with open windows it is under cozy quilts. Over the past two weeks, I’ve unconsciously moved towards the burgeoning season. It is easiest to see in closets and dresser drawers. Summer skirts and capris migrate into the upper cubbies of Julia’s closet organizer and out of my drawers and into the hight reaches of my closet. The long sleeved shirts and substantial socks are pulled from their hiding places one by one until the full array of warmer clothing, not the warmest by any means, but the warmer wardrobe is what we are wearing.
T’is the season. A season. I hum “And the time for every purpose under heaven.”
Like the almost invisible migration from Summer to early Autumn, for some time, I’ve watched, mostly by the grace of Facebook and friendly blogs, that some of my favorite people are re-ordering their day-to-day to include travel and adventure. A few months in France, not Paris, a cottage in a countryside so easily photographable that I can smell the rich dirt in the back garden. Northern Europe and pictures of rose gardens in Norway. Gallivanting for long weekends and weeks in Idaho, London, Saskatchewan, the City — the home towns or year abroad homes of children, grandchildren and old friends. Oh, to be planning and packing and wandering. I am wistful, jealous even.
And in the far background of a near sleepy mind, I hear the voices who cautioned us when we were adopting Julia. We, now I, would be tied to school schedules and homework and limited by school vacations when peers would be free to exercise disposal incomes and time to travel off season and for long, luxurious times. At the time it did not matter because I had a ‘we’ with plans. Now, I wonder at my comparing myself to those whose paths have intersected my own and possibly run parallel for a few steps. I hesitate to say that I only compare because my own path is no longer sure but was it ever so sure? I have so often been out of step with my peers. Why should I expect that to be different now?
So many years ago people, mostly the powers that be in our families of origin plus a few college colleagues, tut-tutted at the caprice of our travel and living abroad at a time when our efforts might have turned to more practical investments like down payments, minivans and retirement funds. We opted for adventure instead of entry level positions, passion instead of Ph.D.’s. We had the sureness of youth which knows that every step will fall on soft ground and every effort will blossom into reward.
We were late to buying cars, to starting careers for middle class stability, to mortgages, school lunches and crock pots. We were still struggling with student loans when our wider circle was beginning to reap the rewards of nose-to-the-grind-stone determination.
But had we not seized a bit of passion before practicality, we, that is David and I, would never have had any. There would have been none of that time that I see others having now. So, was it wisdom? Of course, we had retirement plans. What wild times we planned before our dotage but had we waited and only indulged passions and wanderings as the reward for jobs well done, we would have had none. And so, we had to cheat time and live it all immediately and do it up front. Perhaps we were living backwards, sliding sideways. Not reward but investment.
Such observations are only possible in hindsight and I chuckle and sigh realizing that although I make some sense of this winding road now, the making of it was mostly dumb luck — good or bad — and the cock sure optimism of youth.
And so, instead of wanderlust flashes, I am making a list — some to do with Julia as soon as we can, some to do with friends who want travel companions, maybe one day some to do by myself. I want to return to the wonders that I have seen. Walk the grounds of Villa of Aldobrandini, the quiet snow of a rare Venetian February and among the standing stones of Avebury Henge. I want what I nearly experienced but missed because of time or unwilling companions or, in one case, food poisoning: a boat ride in HaLong Bay, the Lingjing Hutong, XiaJiang Orphanage, Capri’s Blue Grotto. I want what I remember as magical: the Costa Rican cloud forest, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, and the Urpupina Festival. I want a month of lazy days on the beach of Puerto Morales and to eat more garlicy shrimp with my feet in the sand and spent a silent month in mindful pursuits. And there are names that draw me like iron filings to the pole tips of magnets: Salzburg, Milan, Rabat, Sydney, Jerusalem, Kiev, Mumbai, and Maui.
I am not finished with passion and adventure. I have not had my fill. Perhaps that is what my traveling friends are experiencing now. Hopefully, I can catch hold of the tail of the kite of some old dreams and bind them to what I can dream now. And fly.
One thought on “to everything . . .”
Wow Suzanne. So well written & yes one day you will travel again. You & David did not consciously know that his time on this physical plane would be short, but you must have known this in your souls.
How wonderful that you have these vivid memories. Many a couple have waited till retirement & then death, sickness or even divorce happens.
What a difference you have made in Julia’s life? People rarely adopted older children: they wanted babies. Can you imagine her life if she’d stayed in the orphanage? Then can you imagine your life without her?
I always come back to John Lennon’s words: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.