We just passed the 2000 mile mark on our summer road trip, having tearfully hugged our hosts in Ames, Iowa this morning (their pets also warranted long goodbyes from the girls) and pulling away, waving our arms out the windows, slick with rain showers. It stinks to have soul mates scattered around the country where you can’t see them as regularly as you’d like, but it’s beautiful to get to see them at last and well I guess I’ll celebrate the privilege just this minute before lamenting the loss.
For a few days at least we merged laundry loads and dish duty, doling out popsicles, walking the dog, finding appropriate firefly containers. We took walks and stayed up too late, encouraged by one another’s presence to wend through thorny topics. Grief, career changes, the fog of midlife, parenthood all tumbled over one another. All lightened for being shared.
Almost two weeks on the road now, away from the pressures of daily routines, and we’ve spent lots of time in the wide open green Midwestern landscape, wading in rivers and riding carousels and picnicking (oh the picnicking!). Lots of time for reflection, it seems, but when I go inward it’s just an echo chamber. Nothing in there. No pressing desire to rub words together or fathom the universe or even draw up plans for a bigger garden. Just nothing. Am I finding wide open spaces because I have nothing to say, or do I just need a break from saying and doing and listing and thinking? The nothing that is–that’s the gift I’m getting on this trip, though I chafe against it. Standing around holding my white elephant of quiet.
I feel a little like the tadpoles we caught in Squaw creek–between one thing and another, becoming, but with no idea what to expect from eventual frogginess.
If you’re going to be wide open, I can heartily recommend bouncing around the Midwest into the arms of family and friends who know you to the core, whose love bears all kinds of shape shifting and reinvention. It’s been wonderful so far, and we’ve got two more stops to go. Flyover country, people call it, but we’re not flying. We’re present for every mile. Maybe all this openness is to remind me that there is no nowhere. Everywhere is somewhere, especially when there’s love there.