>does it count if i say i almost jumped?


I’m packing my bags for another road trip. What do I want to take with me? Good tunes, some good poetry, my mittens. Memories of good friends and family. Comfort stuff. (Oh crad! I forgot to mention my favorite smart wool socks).
But this trip doesn’t require a road map because I’ve made this trip before. And before that, I made the trip before. This trip excluded, part of what I’ve been changing in my life is learning to quit doing the same thing and expecting different results. Hard to do when you are a person who struggles with taking chances.
When I pack, I also pack my friends with me. Their wise words, their encouragement. A warm hug or a solid joke. In packing for this trip, it’s occurred to me that some of my most influential friends came into my life ever since I determined (as in: set my jaw and took off my mittens) to go after whatever it is that is beckoning me. They’ve been the ones urging me to make a Do List: leap through fire, write the book, learn to say no, jump in the lake when it’s forty degrees outside and without a change of clothes. Or . .  . say . . . start my own blog.
None of these friends know I’ve lifted these photos of them at play, at doing the items on their own Do Lists. I’m trying to write this post with a straight, innocent face. They know who they are, but I won’t name names. And some of them don’t come with a handy photo to illustrate the courage they’ve given me. Some of them have started their own businesses or quit working to pursue their art.
I was sorting through files this morning. Whenever I travel, I like to think of those who matter to me. It’s an Irish thing, perhaps, to say goodbye to everyone just in case something happens. I’ll end this post with a poem in that regard, but first I want to share with you what I came across as I sorted through the fond memory files.
Note from a friend, an officer stationed in Kahbul:
Classification: Unclassified
Caveats: None
Conversation: Frivolous #89
Nope. Nope.
You must actually exit the aircraft before it counts against the list.
*****     *****
On Being Irish and Packing for a Trip

                                                 For Sebastian

I planned to take the lamb count with me
when I flew to Oregon, so far
my sister has three sets of triplets and one bum lamb
in a crate next to her kitchen stove. I call her
each time I travel- she centers me, makes sure
I am packed with good books just in case
I find myself lost in Washington, borders away

from those I love and everything that matters.
In my family, before we fly, we call
to visit a bit, just in case something happens
we can carry this last time, this last memory
with us whenever we go- wherever. Still when it comes
to you, I’m so sure that the last time won’t be
until next time, I don’t call you. And when I say
I miss you, I don’t say a word.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

4 responses to “>does it count if i say i almost jumped?

  1. >I have a favorite pair of smart wool socks, too! Your packing list sounds similar to mine- always good music and good books, as much as clothing. Packing your friends with you, too, is a good way to think of things. I enjoyed your poem!

  2. >I think that's fabulous! When my dad and I went to Ireland, my sister didn't phone to say goodbye because she was jealous! Can you believe it? She's 51 years old. Maybe she has more of the Scottish side in her…have a fantastic time…

  3. >annie-yes, packing my friends with me is a comforting way to travel! oh and you like smart wools, too. socks are a favorite gift i like to receive, so over the years i've received a variety of them. the summer smart wools are amazing!kerry-oh i envy your trip to ireland with your dad, but hearing stuff like that enthuses me. my dad has rarely left the state of montana, but he and my mom went to ireland and visited the relatives and old family homestead there. jealousy and envy are such burdens, yeah your sister must be a wee bit more scottish (grin). i would love to hear more about your trip.the poem in this post was written last year when i was flying out to oregon to help a friend help his father pass away. i was extra tuned to the passing of time in our lives.

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