On the Road: Time never stands still, and as our children have gotten older we have found the only way to really get time with them in all of our hurried lives is to spirit them out of town. And, it works. Sure, the first year or so there were complaints about friends missed as well as certain homesickness for holiday traditions. Of course they miss seeing the rest of their family as well, but somehow it is more than compensated by the spirit of adventure and the opportunity to share new things. No one misses the commercialism of the holidays, so like squirrels saving our few nuts, a trip this time of the year settles all scores.
We visit. We think about the year past and the year to come. We try to sort it all out in some fashion. We actually find we enjoy each others company, which I know must have come as a surprise for the kids! Now having weathered these excursions for the last few years, we also have a new set of traditions and comparisons that live strictly within the family, which is another welcome surprise.
This year we were bone tired, so we were more bedraggled than usual. The elections, huge growth, big campaigns, wheeling and dealing, pressure and stress, 24-7, blackberry buzzing – there just seemed no end to it all. The kind of year where the vacation may not last long enough for sleep not to include work dreams – last night I dreamed about Wal-Mart, and that’s going way too far!
This year as well the work seems to erode the beach like the constant hammering of the waves. Things not done, one sneaks to finish in the off hours that might have been more pleasantly spent with more books or even naps. Not that even this work, no matter how intrusive, is really unpleasant, this is no complaint: if you can do it, you want to do it. There are only some many years, so many places and spaces where one can take the measure and matter, so one wants to push the day from dawn until dark as hard as one can do.
This year we are also constantly reminded of war. The protests seem everywhere written on the walls around us. There seems to be no haven where we are not pariahs.
This year we also read about the terrible tsunami and its devastation. We recoil at the horror that again devastates the poor and marginal of some many countries along with the favored tourists who happened in its path for the holidays. I think of the fact that I now even know people living in Sri Lanka and wonder at their well being in times where even the internet is not sufficient to suffice. I can imagine some of these things differently, because I have been with these people in a different way. What tragedy!
This year we missed snow in New Orleans for Christmas, but with no regrets. We last had snow in the city in 1989, and that was also right near Christmas. We had only recently moved into our house and watched some of the pipes freeze, because we had not been there long enough to find them all to wrap. Reports from the home front indicate that traffic was frozen for hours with highway closings for days, but it warmed up almost immediately bringing back the balmy temperatures that mark the season better in the our home city.
Vacation is vacation though – a rest and reward from hard labor, and much appreciated. Before we get back to real work next week we will have a chance to make our list, get our resolutions together, and think about all that needs to be done next year to make it even better.
And, all of that is a good thing, just as it is a good thing to be able to wish all of you great things for the coming year as well.
Feliz Ano Nuevo!