Acorns are falling on the roof again. The roof is tin, and the sound is like a rifle crack. In a couple weeks, when the nuts really get going, it will be like BBs pounding on my head.
One year ago, Julia and I pulled into this driveway after our long summer trip through the Canadian Maritimes.
I’ve been here for a year.
This was not part of the “travel till you can’t squat to pee” plan. Originally, the plan was to travel full-time, touching down now and again to visit my numerous relations. It worked pretty well for the first couple years.
Then, my sister offered me a house. Small. Cozy. A cabin, really. Near enough to kin (and a short walk through the woods from her). I wouldn’t have to own it, just occupy and maintain it. No neighbors except raccoons, possum, wild turkey. Deer are often seen, and coyotes are seldom seen but often heard. Oh, and about a hundred bats I just discovered living in the siding.
“OK, but I’m not going to stop traveling,” I said in my best hard-ass voice.
But after the Canadian trip, it took me a while to move in. And buy a couch. Had to buy the couch
Then I remembered how much I love winter in Michigan. Might as well stick around for Christmas. I visited my relations a lot. And they visited me because this little 625-sq-ft. cabin has two tiny bedrooms, plus my couch. I even had a miniature Christmas tree.
Then I figured I should stay through summer because summers in Michigan are fabulous. And it was too hot to head south. Plus, I had to plant grass.
Yes, grass. Nothing like tending the grass to keep one close to home.
Then my daughter got married and my parents moved into assisted living. Now, another daughter is expecting.
Get the picture?
This is how people are lulled into abandoning dreams and forsaking passions. Because life happens and things get too comfortable and predictable, and then doing crazy stuff seems scary and weird.
But really, what I discovered during this self-inflicted downtime is that I have two compelling passions that are also mutually exclusive. It’s like having a spouse and a lover. (Not that I would know from experience.) Both satisfy different needs and fill up different parts of your soul. Having both creates all sorts of turmoil, but how can you choose between them?
I have family that is the very core of my being. Nieces, nephews, and grandkids whom it kills me to leave because I only have until they’re fourteen or so to become essential to their lives. Then–I’ll be chopped liver, along with their parents and anyone over 30. I have sons and daughters who are in the throes of girl/boyfriends, marriages, and careers. What will they do without me? Or, more to the point, how will I keep up with the latest breakup and job drama if I’m somewhere in the Serengeti?
But on the lover hand, there’s this big world. This huge amazing playground that I have only ten or so years left to explore, if I’m lucky. I love, passionately, being out..somewhere…absorbing colors and sounds and smells that are completely unfamiliar to me, encountering crazy and wonderful, or sometimes, dismaying and uncomfortable surprises.
I suspect that many of us are confronted with these sorts of choices, and I also think that many of us choose one over the other. The lover or the spouse. I’m not sure how these decisions are made, or if most folks just wait it out until fate makes the choice for them. Care to enlighten me here? Have you faced two equally compelling and wonderful choices that you had to choose between? How did you do it?
I can’t choose. I have to do both, however imperfectly. So I’ve lingered for a year in the bosom of my family. It’s been great. Winter in Michigan was great. And I’ll stick around until my daughter has her baby, and I’m sure she’s okay. Then, I’m taking off. I’m not even staying for Christmas, because…you know how that goes.
I’ll be in Mexico. I have plans that I’m as excited about as any trip I’ve taken so far.
So stay tuned.