Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Open Road

The contrast between the the last two weeks of my life is rather startling. Undoubtedly, cause for examination. I was caught up in a flurry of activities, trying to take care of several things and see people before I left for a trip north with one of my best friends. Once we finally made it to the open road, something in my heart took flight. Both our faces lit up with the possibilities that lay ahead.

We braved the concrete jungle of Chicago on Monday, ducking in and out of trains and buses all day, staring up at the mammoth structures built by the hands of men and women just like us. We took in the many sides of the city, as much as we could in the limited time we had between the morning and evening train, and walked quite a bit. My legs are still sore, but worthily so. Fully exhausted, we returned to the quiet confines of my parents' house after a forever long, many-times-delayed train ride. I know she is a true friend when she leaned over and handed me an iPod earbud and turned up one of my favorite songs to drown out the noise of the complaining and chattering passengers around us. We also pulled out our crayons and coloring books and passed the time with more (ahem) artistic endeavors.

The past few days, we have woken up slowly and drifted around my hometown...collecting a pile of books at a bookstore and settling in with a cup of coffee. Making pancakes and watching movies that make us laugh, cry and evaluate our own lives. Visiting with my next of kin and hoping the sun comes out through the drearily overcast northern skies. Watching the stubborn, hard packed snow melt away with the drizzling March rain that is always present in northern springtime. Visiting the lakeshore, complete with its numbing winds and massive sand laden icebergs that formed along the coastline and over the breakwater and its lighthouses. It reminds us that, while many of our friends have chosen to go south to some tropical tourist trap, we have chosen a quite different journey. One that warrants just as much meaning, nonetheless.

Something about seeing the place where a person grew up, meeting the people who invested into her and encountering the nuances of daily life in her hometown is so revealing to her character. And something about playing the piano where I wrote so many of my deepest digging songs, walking the creaking wooden floors where I had many-a conversation with loved ones, making food in the kitchen where I seemed to have the most meaningful of talks with my mother...reminds me of who I am. Although I have changed immensely in the past few years, my roots remain deep, strong and telling.

And for that, I am humbly grateful.


Blogger cool mum said...

Sounds great! Can I ask what some of the movies were? We're always keeping an eye out for good ones.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hmm..."Becoming Jane" moved me. If you're not familiar with it, it is the story of Jane Austen. It was sad but profound. I recommend it, with a box of Kleenex. =)

12:09 PM  

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