It’s Getting Close
It’s getting close now. Sunday I depart. Yesterday my dear friend Barbara, who travels on the cheap six months out of the year, which I think qualifies her as being a well-seasoned practitioner of the craft, comes over to share with me her hints for packing. After a thorough once over of what I plan to take, she kindly makes some sage suggestions–what to leave out, what to add, and, most importantly, how to pack it all. At the end of our two-hour session, I step on to the scale, first without my pack, and once again wearing it. I am delighted to see that my fully loaded pack comes in at slightly under twenty pounds. I truly believe she must offer a course on packing smart.
Almost overnight I feel I am morphing into that twenty-something-year-old single girl, circling back to take the other fork in the road from which I turned away when I was that age. Back then I chose education, work, and family, all of which I have no regrets about in the least. At the age of 24, I returned home to Santa Barbara to care for my terminally ill mother, married at 25, gave birth to Sara at 26, and worked five full and part time jobs to contribute to the family pot that my young wuzband and I needed to fill. The thought of travel…well, it never crossed my mind.
I did travel to Ireland with my mom when I was 16 in 1970, six months after the sudden passing of my dad –he died 10 days after being diagnosed with leukemia. Mom and I joined a tour put together by Loyola University Rome, where my brother was taking his junior year abroad studies. It was one of those “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium” type tours, and our last stop was Ireland where I had my first taste of beer, Guiness served at room temperature, kissed the Blarney Stone, bought Waterford crystal (six gobblets and decanter in the Royal Tara pattern) of which I still have three of the gobblets and decanter.
I also have the woolen shawl she bought while there; a memento of the land of her huband’s ancestors. More than once I remember hearing her say that “as light as it is, it provides just the right amount of warmth around my shoulders.” Nearly fifty years later, it is warming mine as I return to Ireland with it wrapped around me.
I’m missing the spring planting time in my garden, to plant new seeds in this garden of discovery, without any idea of how, or into what they will grow. It’s getting close, and I’m ready to find out.