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:
Conversation: Frivolous #89
You must actually exit the aircraft before it counts against the list.
On Being Irish and Packing for a Trip
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.