I took the pod off the car.
For most people, having a place to unload their traveling gear would bring a sigh of relief. Me? I am aware there is an unsettled nodule of panic in my chest.
It may have something to do with not having had the same mailing address for longer than a few months in several years. (Don’t even ask how many phone numbers I’ve had!)
Ignore that sleeping bag draped over the water bottles on the floor between the seats.
Yes, I have tents (plural) in the back, along with other varied and sundry camping equipment.
Eventually, I’ll add canned food and “emergency” chocolate.
You know. In case the dogs and I want to take a road trip and stay overnight.
Which we’ve done collectively for the past three summers. Back and forth from Connecticut to Arizona (twice), with variation on a theme, from Connecticut to Montana, and then, from Montana to Arizona – which is where we are.
I like Arizona. I even love Arizona. But I am not sure I actually want to stay. I look around me, and see cattle grazing on endless hills, dry and drought-stricken brush in the loveliest shades of sage and cedar green, an eternally blue sky, and, Thank you, Campers, not a wildfire plume on the horizon – and there is a lot of “horizon” where we are. But, what about Idaho (snow and majestic mountains)? Or maybe California (coastline and vineyards)? Or, what the heck, I could always go back to Pennsylvania where I was born. Or to Western Massachusetts and be around friends. Or New Jersey, to be with other friends… ok, no, not New Jersey (Sorry, Jennifer).
It isn’t that Arizona isn’t wonderful. I have a job I enjoy. I live where I can hear coyote sing. I awake to the sound of cattle ambling by on the dirt road that runs by the RV. There is a white-faced cow who has taken a special interest in me and the dogs. We refer to her as Mother. ‘Haven’t seen her calf yet, but rumor has it, there is one on the way.
But it’s this concept of “staying” that has me anxious – you know, like not moving. Not starting over. Not being the only person I know for hundreds of miles around.
I know where to shop. I have several churches I call my own.
And, I can take ballet classes (Ballet White Mountains, Pinetop), swim in a heated pool (Show Low Aquatic Center), and kayak on the lake (Sunrise – Big Lake – Lyman Lake).
Plenty of hiking, walking, exploring (just step off the porch).
Dead things from 220 million years ago lying about not too far from here (see “Growing Small”).
What’s not to love? Why would anyone want to leave?
Which seem to be the questions I have been asked since I won that trip to Disneyland when I was twelve, and flew over the Rockies, and then out over the Pacific before turning to head back to Baltimore, Maryland… and came home with a serious case of Wanderlust.
From there it became absolutely necessary to explore Philadelphia (by bus and train, an hour from Home). Later Boulder, Colorado. Then, Missouri. Ocean City, Maryland. Newport, Rhode Island. Scotland, Connecticut. Huntington, Massachusetts… and then …
My family worried about me. Some of them still do.
“Why can’t you find a place and settle down! What’s wrong with where you are? You are just like your Aunt Violet!”
I never knew whether or not they meant this as a compliment. Aunt Violet had worked on the Queen Elizabeth II and had traveled the world. I knew her when she had retired and was living in Flushing, Long Island. I spent ten days with her when I was thirteen traipsing all over New York City. Other than informing me she spoke with her deceased husband in the room I was going to be sleeping in – Great. That’s a little creepy – I thought she was perfectly fine. The woman was in her “golden years” and she walked me almost to death, fed me wheat banana bread with cream cheese (I was still in the pizza and French fry phase), and introduced me to friends of hers from Switzerland and Holland.
Sure. Maybe I am like my great Aunt. I know I had a lot of fun shopping at Macy’s and taking the cruise around Manhattan. I traveled there by myself on a Greyhound bus. Chatted with strangers. Saw the World opening before me. What’s not to love? Why would anyone stay in the same place when they could go somewhere new, different, exciting, sometimes weird, occasionally terrifying.
We live on a really cool planet. And, while I might absolutely without reservation with no good reason to leave and be madly in love with wherever I am, I am aware that I haven’t seen Deschutes River (Oregon), or Mount Rushmore (South Dakota), or …
I took the pod off the car.
I wonder what happens next.