Travel is something I usually undertake in less than two-week bites. This past month, that was not the case. My husband and I spent two weeks in England, mostly in Northumberland followed by a few days in London, then came home to Minnesota for about 12 hours before getting on a plane bound for California to go to a friend’s wedding. By the time we got home to stay, we had been traveling for about two-and-a-half weeks, not a huge amount of time in the scheme of things, but more than enough all at once. We were both done being tourists and ready to resume being residents.
|Friends Noel & Oonah, with Mick back in the corner. This pub was one of our first stops in Oonah and Noel’s neighborhood in Morpeth, Northumberland, U.K.|
|Mick with his old college buddy Mike in London.|
|Mick and me in Camden Town in London.|
|Me outside the guesthouse where we spent the night on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.|
|Me in San Diego the morning we flew back home after our friend’s wedding.|
Now, having been back home for ten days, I might expect to feel settled but I don’t. Not only am I still sifting through my travel experiences, but I’m also figuring out what’s next for my writing and my family time. Why? Well, that’s the thing.
My son Shawn got a new job. His schedule changed, which means his daughter’s schedule is changed to full-time preschool daycare and no more Tuesdays with me. That same schedule change also put a halt to Tuesday night dinners with my son’s family. I was surprised at how sad I felt to let go of my regular days with Camille, days spent negotiating what to eat, how much television to allow, how much time to spend outside, and whether we could squeeze in a trip to the zoo or the library before nap time. I didn’t know before I left for England that this particular shift was going to happen so soon. And those family dinners, they’ll have to move to another night.
While I struggled with that reality, another one hit hard. This one involves the hiatus of the online poetry journal Every Day Poets and a complete reorganization of the site by Every Day Publishing. What that means is the site is currently closed to submissions and the staff, which includes me, is now the former staff. Time to move on.
So, here I am, with two very important things now being in the category of, “former commitments”. I suppose I could say, well, at least it isn’t snowing. I could say my body finally feels like it’s in the right time zone. I could say, hey, today I finally finished the physical therapy that has strengthened my back after I threw it out shoveling snow this winter. Any one of those things should make me feel a little better, but there is still this sense of surprise at how my days are unreeling before me. The sense of loss mixed with the sense of opportunity.
What will the next few months bring? Who knows? I have over 700 photos to sift through from my recent travels and a summer that will bring home my daughter Abby for a little while. So there are things to do. Things to consider. And things to negotiate.
But I can’t remember ever having come home from travels to such a big amount of change. All I know for sure is that I am not going to rush into the next thing. It is not just time to move on. It is time to examine that which is around me, a task that is best done with room for stillness. Rushing along does not make things more clear.
That much I know for sure.