penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Road Trip

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I missed posting last week while the family and I packed into the car for a road trip. Also known as the South Western Ontario Royal Tour (TM).  Over a thousand kilometres clocked in over five days during a journey to three cities and then home again.

One day, I will learn how to post while out and about – but it’s also good to take a break from all things digital and move at the pace of patience. Time folds in on itself when you are trapped into a small space with five other people, yet the country side and city streets zip by in a blur. Being unplugged and forced to sit still for hours on end looking at the scenery gives you plenty of opportunity to think about what is coming ahead and what is left behind.

When I leave the house, I quietly say good-bye to it, fairly certain it will still be standing when I get back – but you never know.  We were burgled once while gone on a long weekend jaunt. I lost many photos and memories with my stolen laptop – so I take nothing for granted anymore.

At times, being on the road is an adventure.  I am out of my element, giving me a new perspective.  We fly along the highway. We see our usual touchstone sights (over-sized monuments and buildings)  as well as new oddities (an unexpected field of deer or a strangely shaped cloud formation).  Long intervals of silence in the car gives me space to think, my mind to wander across the countryside.  My husband and I talk about our good memories together, haggle over issues that are bothering us and decide how to manage our farther flung future.  Neither of us can escape or avoid the conversation.  We see people we miss and don’t get a chance to see often enough – who knows when we will see them again?  I know they have gone out of their way to give us space in their busy lives and I feel grateful for the time I have with them.  I have a chance to sleep and not worry about the to-do list because I can’t get any of it to-done while I’m gone.

Other times, being on the road is unsettling.  I’m out of my element which makes me nervous and irritable. There simply isn’t enough of anything – coffee, rest, clean clothing.  I eat too much of all the wrong things and wind up feeling both overly full and unsatisfied.  Annoying music blares in the car to keep the children pacified and my husband awake at the wheel.  I need to navigate and negotiate relationships with others who live by other rules and priorities. We don’t always see eye to eye and I need to swallow my judgements and my comments that might be misconstrued and misunderstood.  It seems easier at first, but then the tension builds until I need to find some space.  The children are surly and get away with murder while I have trouble disciplining them before an audience.  Any minute there could be an accident I should have foreseen but can’t do anything to control or prevent.  I sleep fitfully in strange beds, dreaming other people’s nightmares they have left behind in a bed either borrowed or rented.  I awake tired and confused.

When we return, the house feels smaller and closed in.  The luggage piles on the floor.  I have a mountain of laundry to do. The to-do list rises up before me and now its longer because I unconsciously added to it while I was away.

I feel lucky to be safe at home – yet deflated and let down.

The world becomes tiny very quickly. But its vastness is exhausting.

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Written by pennyinacastle

April 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

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