Sometimes, We Travel in Time
While walking to the bus stop this afternoon, a woman stepped onto her porch, shook out a rug, left it on the rail, turned, and went inside.
Such a simple task. Common. It took her less than a minute.
I thought about how people’ve been stepping out from in to shake the outside back where it belongs for ages. How humans once beat animal skins with sticks to clear the dust.
That we’ve been banging rugs to clear the muck since Neanderthal days isn’t a revolutionary revelation of course, but it struck me as significant while walking to the bus stop.
On this day, people of all nations and races and backgrounds take their inside rugs outside. Shake them off, and hang them in the fresh air. For just a minute, I traveled in time, to before and to later, to today in other countries and cultures, and saw rug-cleaning as a reminder that we’re all human.
That we’re more alike than different.
It felt both significant and silly.
Someday, my son will carry a rug outside, shake it off, hang it, and turn back indoors. He may do so in anticipation of me coming for a visit. He’ll likely do so for years after I’m gone.
Sometimes, We Travel with Purpose
We bought tickets, booked a rental car, found a hotel for the first night, a house for the other nights, and planned. School was told that my son would be absent, mail was put on hold, and suitcases were freed from their closet to air.
We sat on the runway, hot and creaky and not-yet-cranky because the excitement of a Florida vacation made it so cranky was mostly avoidable.
We talked about what Legoland might be like, how awesome it was that some of my family would be there. My son bounced and chattered about how he and his cousins would swim in the ocean and bury all but their heads in the sand.
“But how will you bury your neck when your hands are under the sand?” I said.
He laughed. Then, silent.
“Will you help?” he said.
Our flight didn’t take off until after we were supposed to have landed which meant that we didn’t get to our hotel until after midnight.
That was the time my son stopped drinking a bottle of milk at night. He’d been doing so since he was tiny. At first, they were filled with breastmilk on a flight. Later, once weaned, filled with cow’s milk, warmed at first, and later still, straight from the refrigerator.
We’d wondered how he’d ever stop – his ritual was calming and important. He’d sit, growing sleepy, drinking his baba, twirling his hair into knots, and then untangling it. Over and over.
He still twirls his hair.
But I forgot baba on that trip to Florida, and it was after midnight. He didn’t cry, although I expected a lot of tears and anxiety. None came. I suppose that we were all too tired and excited.
Sure, he asked for baba during that trip and even more once we returned home, but we told him that new babies needed his old bottles, and that he could drink his milk like a big boy, now.
He didn’t drink much milk for a while, but that was okay.
He was okay, and the trip was one of our favorites.
Sometimes, We Travel Accidentally, or Mindlessly
On the drive to work today – a form of mindless travel, I thought about the miles going by, about what I’d grab to eat along the way and plugged in my phone. I listened to an audiobook.
For a few minutes on the drive to work, I traveled to the fictional world of characters I’ve gotten to know, to my own college days, and thought about how each of us don’t really know who we’ll be until we become our future selves.
I waved in the rearview to my younger self who knew everything and nothing. I looked ahead to my future self and told her to be nicer to herself.
I think about traveling from little to less little to big to feeling grownup to feeling like you’re faking being a grownup to being a parent to being middle-aged to the what-ifs of “one day.”
I thought about how much my travels have changed me.
Each of My Travels has Changed Me
Whether it’s a trip to Florida, overseas, New Orleans, one back home to Colorado or to my husband’s family in Tennessee, each of those trips has helped me to learn, grow and to live. Each trip has given me peace. Sometimes, the peace comes again when opening the door to home, and stepping on the entryway rug that may or may not need a shaking out on the porch.
Other times, peace is indescribable.
There was the deep blue of Turks and Caicos, and the night my friend Sara and I skinny dipped by moonlight. Nobody but us and the conch shells scattered on the beach had stories to tell from that particular beach on that particular night.
The SCUBA dive that took us to a place between shallow and the unknown, hovering over the abyss of underwater canyons.
Traveling from alone to us to family.
The waterfalls and canyons in Kauai.
Midsummer festival flower headdresses made in Sweden.
Karaoke badly sung in Georgia.
Family in Montana, Tennessee, Colorado.
A trip to DC for the day with Lizzi, who’d never been there. Perfect weather and perfect, outside-time moments.
Traveling to doctor’s evaluations and appointments, and finding answers and having questions left unanswered.
Traveling outside of comfort zones and reading in public about being a mom in an unexpected way.
Planning a summer vacation for the month my not-so-little little boy will turn eight.
Walking to the bus stop on an early March day, thinking about Neanderthals and my son as an old man while a woman shakes a rug on her porch.
Oh the beach, though. I’m ready to go once again.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “When it comes to traveling…”