I’m sitting at our kitchen table with the cool Portland morning sun shining through the window. The trip is over. Life will resume its old routines. The garden grew to an alarming height while we were gone, the mail piled up, and otherwise things are pretty much the same. So was it worth it, I ask myself. Did it satisfy that inner urge to sail forth into the unknown?
Yes. Strange as it seems, all the difficulty somehow resolves itself into a few shining moments: standing beside Sam Hammond as he played the carillon up in the tower of Duke Chapel, the sound of the cicadas in the trees, seeing Mount Hood at eye level as we made the descent into Portland. It felt good to be home, and that means that the urge to sail forth was somehow satisfied.
It always strikes me while on trips how much of our lives we spend getting food, preparing it, eating it, cleaning it up, using the bathroom, sleeping and all those necessary things. On a trip you feel it more acutely. There are only a few useful hours in the day to see sites when you subtract all the time spent on the other things (not even to mention the time arguing about what to eat, when to eat it, and how much of it to eat). You get home, and for a while at least you see your own life in a different light. Here we have a quiet space to call our own, away from the seething mobs out there waiting in line to see tourist attractions. Here the old routines that felt boring before suddenly feel comforting and friendly.
I could go on, but now there are other things calling– the laundry, the unpacking, the bills to pay. It’s not so bad.