I love to travel, and when I’m done travelling I love to return home. I love the last mile of highway before turning off onto our country road, I love passing the school and knowing home is just around the corner, I even love the bumps in our poorly maintained gravel driveway. No matter how wonderful the trip, the return is its equal, and that first morning back home the sunrise will seem the loveliest I’ve ever seen.
It occurs to me that these years spent on our land have been a different sort of travelling, a travelling in place rather than in space. A journey of depth rather than breadth, where instead of putting a thousand miles on the odometer and seeing hundreds of vistas, I can instead sit back in my favorite patio chair in the late afternoon and once again watch the play of light on the hills and wonder at how no two sunsets are ever the same. I watch the trees leaf out in the spring, and turn golden in the fall and bare in the winter and never grow tired of it. I love the way the evening song of the froglets in our pond gives way to the chirping of crickets later in the year. I marvel at the abundance of birds, sparrows, towhees, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, jays – and every year the list grows longer. Every time a bluebird’s wings catches a shaft of sunlight it takes my breath away, like finding a shiny coin on a forest floor.
And once again I realize, anew, that the closer you look, the more you see. I am travelling, here on the property, travelling in place and travelling through time. The view from
our front porch is kaleidoscopic, full of wonder and color, always changing and always marvelous. There are always new birdsong
s in the morning, new wildflowers to discover in the spring and new mushrooms erupting through the leaf mold in the fall.
Even the seasonal chores, which grow more daunting as I age, are comforting markers of the passing of the year; the mowing of the tall grasses, the splitting of firewood, the cleaning of our roof gutters. Comforting, I suppose, because they cause me to mark the passing
of another year, and experience gratitude at the opportunity to, perhaps, be allowed to enjoy another.
So I will continue to dream of another trip to Hawaii, or Europe, or perhaps places even more exotic, and every so often we will gather up our resources and buy our tickets and travel away from our little place here in the hills. And no matter how wondrous the trip, I know that the sweetest moment will be when I turn on our gravel road and see the lights of home. And so today I think I’ll go travelling through this fine, rainy winter’s day and see what new marvels I might discover.