In a couple of hours it will be the third anniversary of the day I learned of my parents’ tragedy.
Although I think about them and that day fairly constantly, I don’t have any new reflections to share to mark the occasion. Three years later and 334 days since I last “worked,” however, I am ready to spend more time looking forward.
I like the ambiguity of that last sentence. I’m not saying “more time looking forward than caught in the past,” but I’m also not not saying that. It is comfortable and feels right to simply say I’m ready to spend more time looking forward.
One way I’m doing that is to finally hit the road with only the most basic agenda of destination. Back in February I wrote about a road trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa I took back in June 1999 (whoa… before the turn of the century). I’d link to that post, but I’m not quite sure how to do that easily on this here mobile app.
I’ll be setting forth on a new road trip two more sleeps from now on Wednesday. Maybe three or four more sleeps, technically, since I tend to nap more than I sleep. Instead of Iowa, this trip will be to Vermont, but the trips are spiritually linked.
The trip will be a solo venture. No Dana. No dog. That feels awkward to me for a few reasons: primarily because it seems Dana, as my wife and life partner, should be included on any adventures I embark upon. Second, the fact that I have the liberty to pick up and go whereas she does not causes me a bit of guilt. Third, I’m pretty used to having Maddux shadow me damn near everywhere I go, so I’m afraid I might start telling random people to go lay down if I think they’re looking at me for longer than a casual glance.
But, I need to push those hesitations to the back of my mind and learn that partners need not be joined at the hip. Dana has been incredibly supportive and encouraging regarding this trip. I am fortunate to have her in my life.
When I took the trip to Iowa 18 years ago, it was at the onset of a new chapter of my life: one full of hope and potential. I was finishing up my teacher education program and looking forward to student teaching, and the inevitable start to a professional career. It also marked the beginning of the roughly two year period of what I’ve come to view as a behavioral anomaly — when I was exceedingly social, upbeat, energetic, and carefree.
I have long since returned to the much more natural state of lethargic, selective-social pragmatism that I wrap myself comfortably, if darkly, within. Fortunately, age and circumstance allow me to recognize carefree and reckless irresponsibility need not go hand in hand.
Now I have left the teaching profession I was looking forward to starting, and I’m again optimistic about the future’s potential in the way only unknown anticipation can allow. It’s a bit like standing at the front of the queue as the cars pull up for a roller coaster you’ve never ridden before. You don’t know what to expect, but are pretty sure it will be exciting and enjoyable.
So, that gleeful anticipation of life in general thematically link these two road trips. And as one came a tad before I started teaching while the other comes a tad afterward, the two road trips also seem to serve as bookends of that chapter of my life. Nice.
That also makes this road trip an end as well as a beginning, and I so appreciate paradoxes when they occur in my life.
Finally, these two trips are linked in terms of destination. Not geographical destination, obviously, since Iowa and Vermont don’t even have me going in the same direction from my Wisconsin base. Instead, the destination is the summons of a person first met at a Renaissance Faire in St. Louis oh so long ago, and been physically in the presence of less than a handful of times. But, that’s the way kindred spirits work, I suppose.
The trip to Iowa was to sample a weekend Renaissance Faire in shared company. This trip to Vermont is to share a few cups of coffee in the same company.
I will leave on Wednesday, approximately 30-36 hours from now. I have set a maximum deadline of being back on or before May 19th, although Injustice 2 becomes playable on Xbox May 16th, so I’ll probably strive to be back before then.