“It is a strange thing to come home.
While yet on the journey,
you cannot at all realize
how strange it will be.”
– Selma Lagerl
It’s hazy again. The clear skies after yesterday’s rainfall have surrendered to the haze of summer humid heat. We’re due for another warm one today — 90º plus.
Being parked here at Blackhawk Park, we are in familiar territory. We’ve already heard woodpeckers, seen egrets and cranes, watched a Bald Eagle go fishing for breakfast. We’ve seen three tows of barges: a 9 barge, a 12 barge and a 15 barge tow. It’s almost like we were never gone.
This time I chose the Southern Loop (they call it the Western loop), of campsites — partly because we made our reservations when the campground was still closed due to flooding and this was the only section available, but also because we were anticipating our new solar panels and we wanted to insure being able to get a satellite signal. (Which may not mean anything — the WX for the coming week is pretty much just RAIN!) All of which is just static on the radar screen of life. Fact is, we like it here.
The Northern loop has a direct view of the shipping channel; the Southern loop does not. To be honest, we hadn’t even heard the thrum, thrum, thrum of a string of barges until our walk this morning., but they’re out there. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.
There is a mainline RR track not far away; we hear a little commotion from the rail, but it’s not as loud as the OHV’s were when we listened from our front door at our compound in Siltcoos.
“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land;
it is at last to set foot on one’s own country
as a foreign land.”
– G. K. Chesterton
I have a friend from High School who cannot understand why I like to travel. They clearly lack the RV gene! The concept that travel need not be about the places visited — but can, in fact, be all about your perceptions of life — seems to elude them. But that is what travel is for us.
We travel in order to be changed. To be changed in ways we could not anticipate because we cannot anticipate what will happen in a strange place. (Well, not all that strange — we are after all still in the U.S.) There is that feeling of coming back to a familiar place but seeing it with new eyes; seeing it with altered eyes; seeing it with sharpened eyes is priceless.
“A wise traveler never despises his own country.”
– Carlo Goldoni
When I was younger I didn’t understand why returning to your own place would not result in a little despising. There is always room for improvement in the world. Why should seeing other ways of doing things NOT make you a little irritated? But over time we grow and realize that’s not what it’s all about. When you travel you don’t see things from the standpoint of a native — in order to do that you’d have to live your entire life there — you’d have to be saturated by the culture, the mores, the biases, the fallacies, all of that and more. No, when we travel we remain travelers who pick up a few bits and bobs and that’s usually about it. When we return home we drag them along with us; and often we think we see the world through clearer glasses — and maybe we do — from the standpoint that we see there are alternatives; other ways, other ideas than we have as yet entertained.
But the fact of the matter is we take ‘home’ along with us and we rarely really leave it behind even when we ‘relocate’. Our ideas go with us, and our imaginations go with us: it takes a really long time to leave home behind and set down roots in a new place like a human transplant. Young or old we all carry around our stupid blankets — and we think we’ve gotten smarter.
Truth is, as a species we seem not to get a lot smarter.
I was ready about the conflict between folks near San Francisco being casual about water usage at a time when the entire state is in a catastrophic drought. And then a little while later I read about the Quake in Frisco. Sometimes our values need adjustment by the forces of nature. When Momma Nature turns off the water we think we can beg, borrow and steal it from other places and avoid her wrath. That Momma nature might send along a trembler to bring our attention back to things that matter somehow seems like life’s way of bringing focus to life.
There are so many things that people who live through the same things can’t agree upon. There is always climate change. And economic inequality. And a few dozen other problems that we can’t even agree are problems. My point in all this is that travel — adventure — often ends up producing results that we never expect. We end up changed in unanticipated ways. What is important changes. What we are willing to give up changes. What we are willing to fight for changes.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
I’m glad to be back in Wisconsin for a while. We have approximately a 1 month window here – because we have no plans beyond September 18th – at all. We are here in Blackhawk for a total of 13 nights, then Bong Recreation Area for 14 nights. After that as long as the doctor doesn’t come up with something she wants to do we are out of here. (We aren’t as young as once we were and while we are both feeling well, you just never know about those things — so we leave ourselves an open window).
We are talking about Texas for the winter. But don’t be confused by that statement. For us talking is just talking. And we aren’t all that sure, yet, that we have a ‘destination’ at all — maybe it’s more like the way a compass needle points in a direction — without picking one point on which to focus (that you can see) and your present location always changes our perspective about where that needle is pointing.
There’s no telling how long it may take us to get to New Orleans, our first intended ‘general direction’ We already know we are going to take a leisurely meander. We might take a month or more to arrive, then maybe time at Bayou Segrette State Park, and/or at Grand Isle State Park.
Will we, or won’t we try to get out of Texas in time to see some of the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache before they head North for the Summer? All of that is on the table but none of it has been talked about in detail. We are in the moment now, and I don’t think we’ll talk about plans until after we are done in Milwaukee. We are thinking about whether to replace one sofa this year; and if we did we might return to Bradd & Hall in Elkhart. There’s a world of opportunity; and nothing to say we have to do any of it.
Yesterday in the few minutes I spent down in the ‘basement’ I realized that there are a couple things I could and should rearrange. Our fan and our vacuum could live in the same tub. Once again, after drying out another tub last week, I find something has leaked in that same tub — so I have a chore — figure out what’s going on. It’s not a leak in the basement — it’s only ever water in one tub — the one with liquid containers. Maybe the solution is to carry fewer liquids 🙂
All of which is my way of saying we’re here to putter around for a while. To move into our new house — to unpack our metaphors and metaphorically unpack our boxes of moved belongings from Journey to the Ambassador.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.