Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The Days Are Just Packed
Some of you who are fans of Calvin and Hobbes may recall a book entitled "The Days Are Just Packed". Well, it's kind of like that for us these days. Not to make you jealous or anything, but our days are generally packed with being in nature, making simple meals, getting exercise, maintaining the rig, meditating, writing, blogging, emailing, doing yoga, and playing on Facebook. It's a wonderful life most of the time.
While we're well aware that the majority of the rest of the population is hard at work, we experience little guilt that we have this window of opportunity in our lives to simply eschew the world of employment---for a while, anyway. We spent most of the last 20 years slogging away in Human Services (mostly in the inner city), and sometimes you just have to walk away. As Michelle Shocked once said, "the secret to a long life is knowing when it's time to go", and that mantra has been operational since we decided to pack up and hit the road.
So now we're here in Northern Florida, where the temperatures are dipping into the upper 20's at night and just reaching 45 during the height of the afternoon. Even so, we found ourselves sitting on a blanket in a sunny spot near the campground around 3 this afternoon, playing a game of Sequence (I won 4 out of 5 games---sorry, Mary!), drinking hot organic cocoa and eating natural animal crackers.
Prior to our repose in the sun, we dragged poor Tina on a two-hour hike, meandering on a sandy path through a diverse landscape of pine trees, wild rosemary, tall grasses, sub-tropical flora and fauna, and dozens of birds, including brown pelicans and many migrating songbirds. The wind was blowing off of the bay, making the 45-degree air feel much chillier, but the Florida sun is indeed strong, and when we could escape the wind for a moment, we were able to warm our bones.
The breadth of openness and expansiveness that we are currently experiencing in our lives is not something to be taken for granted, and we are well aware that we will need to earn some money eventually. However, we've set aside some of the proceeds from the sale of our house in order to finance this sojourn, and perhaps some opportunities to earn money along the way will serve to stretch our resources even further. No matter, though, because even if we have to stop and find temporary employment for a while, the journey continues of its own accord. In fact, sometimes it feels as if this journey actually began 20 years ago when we were married, and it has only now manifested in its current itinerant iteration. (To wit, prior to our departure from Western Massachusetts, it seemed to me as if Mary and I were simply travelers who have more or less been in one place for 20 years.)
This life on the road is interesting beyond my wildest imagining, and every day reveals something new to learn or discover---about myself, about my country, about nature, about our relationship, or about the journey itself.
Back when I was hitchhiking around Europe in the mid-80's, it was the call of the road that propelled me forward. I read Jack Kerouac's Lonesome Traveler, thumbing my way hither and thither, wide-eyed as I breathed in the rarefied air of the European cities and museums that I had only seen in films and books. Now, at 45, I travel the highways and back roads of America with my beloved and exuberant wife, and we breathe in the air of the American South and the fumes of our diesel rig as we press on towards the horizon.
This is, as a British friend characterized it, a "walkabout", albeit a mechanized one with frequent rest stops and cups of tea. Well, this diesel-powered walkabout is now hitting its stride, and having you along for the ride, dear Readers, is one of the greatest pleasures we know.