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12.15.2010

The Roads We Travel

Katrina left today. She’s on her way to Miami for a week of Cuban music then off to Mexico for a month and then down the Keys and on to who knows what else after that. She spent the fall in France and Spain and the summer camping and traveling in Ontario. She worked hard and stayed faithful to a teaching career for 25 years and took an early retirement last June to be a nomadic wanderer for as long as the world will have her before making any choices about a new future.

It’s a life I’ll never live. I used to dream of traveling, wandering, even just moving away from a land where snow falls half the year. But I never made it. I don’t envy her, but I can understand its appeal. Most people itch to travel and visit exotic places. But we don’t even take vacations away from here. Raising kids, work, and inertia have kept me rooted in New England since I was young. But I don’t mind not having seen the pyramids, the Sistine Chapel, or Victoria Falls.

My universe is in my imagination. I’ve traveled to the rings of Saturn, the Pacific ocean’s floor, the high seas and an unimaginable distance into the future. Albeit, those places don’t bring much of a challenge in real life and I suspect most people would think it is a pale alternative to even Niagara Falls - which I have seen. So how’s this for real challenge: Raising hyperactive children, developing new art forms, writing novels, raising grandchildren, and staying sane while making a marriage succeed through all of it. There is nothing escapist in any of that. In fact, it’s a reality many people flee from at the first sign of trouble. It’s much harder to make a marriage last and raise troubled children than climb Everest. Believe me the rewards are bigger and the summit is higher but only for those who truly participate in the climb.

If for some reason I left this world tomorrow (I don’t know... maybe a coach ticket to Jupiter suddenly became available) I can honestly say the adventures and roads I’ve taken have been breathtaking and mind blowing. I haven’t missed a thing this world has to offer.

And I didn’t even have to leave home.