1 May in Vermont and one of the last things I want to do is travel now. I am awake at 5 AM and starting to write. This is my morning routine at Blue Heron pond– I wake up, make coffee and start to create. I think of the line from Prufrock by T.S. Eliot every time, “”I have measure my life out in coffee spoons.”
I love to sit at my desk overlooking b
lue Heron pond. It is one of the most serene places on the globe. There is peace, tranquility and focus. I am so at home here. Yet, I find myself getting ready to travel for two months. We have just come back from several months in New Orleans with a big art show “Pornography of War and building a Peaceable Community,” then on to Guatemala, and points in between. My Zoe and I are gypsy homebodies. Yet, we love the discovery of traveling. We love the bazaars of cultures, languages, wonderful people we meet on the road, and the adventures we can’t even imagine. We are inveterate travelers. There are some travelers who can put a toothbrush and a change of underwear in their shoulder bag and be ready to wander the globe. I am jealous of that simplicity. Perhaps that is something we would do when we were younger, but now in our seventh decade we like a wee bit more comfort in our travel.
My travel bag includes my sketchpad and black case for my colored pencils. Of course there is a laptop and a cell phone. A camera. Then there is my guitar and harmonica and a few changes of clothes. As kids we would travel the globe with some cash (not much and sometimes less) and a lot of optimism, but a credit card and some careful planning makes life far easier. When we were younger and first traveling in Europe we would sleep on the train overnight and arrive at our city to wander around during the day. Then when the last night train would pullout we would tumble into a 3rd class seat exhausted by all our discoveries and dream of our next place the following day. But I prefer my one to two star hotels now. I prefer my Eagle Creek backpack on wheels versus the heavy rucksacks. I have surrendered some of the spontaneity, but there is a joy in slowly savoring and discovering the world.
I am not interested in simply putting another notch on my belt of a country that I visited. Instead, I love how we discover new colors and ways to see the world. It is not only in the cities and the monuments, but this incredible beautiful world that we live in from oceans to mountains, forests and jungles and all places between. Even as a poet, I find myself faltering for words, and simply capture the experience in a sigh of surprise. In my journeys and writings I hope to offer people the sense of how I look and travel. I am best armed with my sense of wonder. Though we are experienced in travel, it is always the task to look with beginner eyes as in the Zen expression beginner eyes. One does not need to travel to exotic corners of the globe to have beginner eyes. Living in this small corner of Southern Vermont there is more than enough enchantment to occupy us for our entire lives. As the poem by William Blake suggests, “To see heaven in a wildflower and eternity in a grain of sand.” Imagine if we could simply be aware of the incredible beauty in each moment.
It is a lot of fun being on the road connecting with old friends and making new friends. I love the surprise of traveling.
Setting aside our expectations don’t we all become a bit complacent at home? We know where the light switch is in the middle of the night and we can find our way to the bathroom in the pitch black. We know where the switch is for the coffee maker without looking. I have my guitars and all my drawing pads here. Who would want to leave? Not me. But on Friday we take off on Aer Lingus to Dublin for 12 hours. The flight only takes about five hours and we stumble into the airport and grab a bus downtown. My Zoe is a genius when it comes to traveling. She scheduled a massage for us at 11 AM in Dublin on Saturday morning. She is more of the planner and I am eternally grateful. At noon we take in a play by Bernard Shaw with our friends. Then wander around downtown Dublin for a few hours and stumble on a plane to Portugal. See it is not that different than when we were kids. Though we have been to Portugal before this is the first time we will visit the South, Faro. I am looking forward to Fado music. This is another opportunity for me to mutilate another language. Though we are both Spanish speakers and 70% of Portuguese is similar, we won’t be there long enough to gain any kind of mastery. We are the masters of the 50 word lexicon in any country. With the exception of Chinese and Hungarian.
it is absolutely glorious on blue Heron pond today 6 AM the sun is rising just over the treetops. Though I am looking to the West the light is illuminating the sky and clouds. 1 May is a harbinger of the glorious and magnificent spring. How could I even think of leaving and missing this beauty? But a series of circumstances, opportunities, and the chance to see both the French and Italian open tennis tournaments. Yes visiting with lots of friends along the way and our Algerian family in June for a wedding is fabulous. But being at the French Open and watching Rafa Nadal and the great stars of tennis is too much to miss.
There is so much work for me to do here, but Zoe and I are perpetually enchanted by the opportunity to travel. Over the next two months our journeys will take us Ireland, Portugal for week, Italy for week and the Italian open, France and the French Open, and then about 2 ½ weeks in the south of France visiting old and friends. I am looking forward to getting my French unrusted.
I could not imagine a life where I did not travel, though I love the joy of being home on Blue Heron pond.