So, I guess, in a way, I’ve been “trekking towards the Clearing” since I came into the world just after midnight, during a thunderstorm, on July 30th, 1954. During the “baby boom.” It’s rather surreal to reach the tender age of sixty, and feel you have finally found the place where you belong. I suppose everything that led up to this moment was just a part of the trek – a long, crazy, tale that perhaps will be told in a later post, perhaps not, depending on my mood or whether it’s relevant – but suffice it to say, I like to look at that random and often dysfunctional road, as the exact path necessary to get to this place, this hotel in Dayton, on this exact day, this moment, this Sunday morning, this Starbucks coffee, this husband studying his beloved Rand McNally, this wife beginning her blog about our new adventure – headed for our own little slice of nirvana, with the partner, the companion, the soulmate for whom we were meant. And two goofy poodles. And a car filled to the brim with “stuff,” à la Beverly Hillbillies headed for Green Acres.
We’ve made it about 2,400 miles since leaving Fountain Valley, CA, on Sunday, May 10 (yes, Robyn, I know – MOTHER’S DAY!!!), and it has been peaceful and enjoyable, despite the chaos of traveling from hotel to hotel, schlepping all of our (and our dogs’) paraphernalia. Yesterday we were on the road for nearly ten hours. Eric feels most relaxed when he is driving, so he has been behind the wheel for all 2,400 of those miles. I, of course, have taken my pivotal job as “Napping Copilot” very seriously. And in between snoozes, I check Facebook, monitor WeatherBug for tornados, blizzards, tarantulas and lizards (kidding) and other possible climate-related catastrophes – filing frequent full reports with the Pilot! – and take photos of the poodles, the scenery, thunderstorms, the Pilot, and so forth. (I also pass the Pilot chocolate-covered peanuts at various times throughout the trek. Road fuel.)
Our path after leaving Fountain Valley took us through Flagstaff, AZ, where we spent the first exciting night of our trek (learning, with relief, that poodles adapt to new surroundings fairly quickly). Then on to Ridgway, CO, for a fly-by visit with friends (learning, with trepidation, that poodles are capable of scaring friends’ cats into pooping all over friends’ bed spreads). Then on to Denver for three nights, to do a class with a colleague, which basically means I spent three days in a hotel room, doing laundry and watching CSI Miami with two poodles. And if that’s not exciting enough, on one of my frequent dog walks, I fell ass-over-tea-kettle onto the pavement, scraping my shins and knees and bruising the heels of my hands, after having been ambushed by some camouflaged, insidious, vicious, plotting…um…unidentified “tripper-upper.” (You will be relieved to know my ass and my tea kettle both came through unscathed.)
Pooping cats and precarious plummets aside, one lesson I am taking from this trip is that no matter how much you may worry about things, they turn out how they turn out. Every single time. And most of the time, better than you expected. (Not always, but most of the time.) Not that I didn’t already know this. It’s basic “Why Can’t You Get this Through Your Head, 101.” But after lying awake many a night over the past several months imagining all manner of scenarios as to what could possibly go WRONG on a cross country trip involving work stops, multiple hotel stays and two neurotic poodles, I told myself to CUT IT OUT, ALREADY. It would be what it would be. And it has been not only that, but it has also been pretty much a breeze. As breezes go. Maybe I am delusional. Or, maybe I finally get it? Me, the Queen of Hand-wringing? The Wizard of Worry? The Duchess of Distress? We shall see. Most of what we worry about never even happens. (Eric always says, save the worry for when – and if – bad stuff happens. The rest of the time, just enjoy life. Who knew?) Maybe, at sixty, it’s time to finally allow myself to understand this concept, and live in (and enjoy!) the moments we have left. And who cares what my hair looks like? (Okay, this one may take a little more time…)
And so, on this lovely Sunday morning in May, in Dayton, Ohio, not having had to get up at 4:00 A.M. to hit the road for 8 – 10 hours, and not having to go anywhere today unless we want to, I will begin to practice my new credo. This moment is the pinnacle of my life. As will be the next moment, and the next. (At least, for now, let me believe I can do this.) We’ll be here in Dayton till Tuesday, and Cleveland till Friday, all for work (which allows us to write this whole trip off!), then we head for exquisite Cabot, Vermont, and the Clearing. In six short days we’ll be there. Green Acres (coined by sis-in-law Esther’s husband Phil) awaits.
Nirvana, our dream.