Before any trip, break, vacation, I feel uneasy and unsettled. On edge.
I am, after all, a lover of the ordinary day. A creature of habit. A homebody steeped in ritual and routine.
Now I’m sitting in the space of a sleepless night. Working through it with words.
As the distance widens between home and away, as the outline of the next everyday grows blurry and faint, far off beyond time and travels—suddenly my love of setting out, seeing the world, exploring the unknown temporarily abandons me. I want to get there already, have my experiences, and get back home.
But as I was readying breakfast this morning, my mind began to wander to vacations past. I would settle on a specific one: say, two summers ago at the beach. Where were we in our lives then? Had the baby been born? Was my sister-in-law already pregnant? Had I switched jobs yet? Or was I just in the midst of applying for the new one?
Our deviations from routine, these blips and hiccups, are precious pauses. They force a stop. A stare. A look at who and where we are at a particular moment in time.
They offer an oasis, a way to stand stranded and suspended in the steady stream of life and look back, peer ahead. Recall and wonder.
We extract from tethers and tangles, perch on high, assume a new vantage point, examine the familiar and foreign from alternate angles.
It is the crack that lets in the light,
the exception that calls attention,
the examined life that’s worth living.
It is the peculiarity that prompts a question,
the irregular or off-kilter that catches the eye.
It is the ache that deepens the appreciation for comfort,
the absence that makes the heart grow fond,
the unsettling shift,
the side step from the well-worn path
that helps us take stock.
It is the wandering that leads us home.