Fayetteville, North Carolina, June 30, 2015
It is Tuesday night, again. This time a week ago we were braving a severe storm to make our final exodus from 66 Bradford Way, Voorhees, New Jersey and begin our nomadic journey. That night, we persevered south over a branch-strewn turnpike in bumper to bumper traffic with a sputtering engine, taking over three hours to arrive just under an hour south of home.
When we realized that Casa Blanca had been damaged by all the water we had driven through, we felt a fleeting discouragement. All our plans suddenly seemed very uncertain. It would have been easy to give up, to call ourselves fools and sheepishly change plans. But, first things first, we needed some sleep. When we awoke the next morning with the sun streaming through the streaked motel window, things looked a little less dismal. Charlie went out to see if a good drying-out had resolved the mechanical misfires. It hadn’t, but even when he returned to the room, hangdog in demeanor, to report this misfortune, I discovered that, try as I might, I just couldn’t feel the discouragement that was due. I felt peaceful. We had closed the door on the past: our house was empty of every material “thing” we cherished, the rest was discarded. Physically, there was absolutely nothing to go back to. What was important we carried in our hearts, and all we possessed was the here and now. I felt no wistfulness, no disappointment. Just this excitement, this peace, this sense of presence.
Even later in the day, when the mechanic we had been lucky to find reported that a needed part would not be available for a few days, my sense of acceptance prevailed. We faltered at the news momentarily, primarily because we needed to be In Florida for a family event by the very day said part was due to arrive. I told the mechanic that we needed a moment, and we stepped aside to deliberate, coming to the quick conclusion that the only resort was to rent a car and continue on our way. We had to adapt: we wouldn’t have Casa in which to sleep, which would mean continued hotel stays. We would have to return the rental within a week and retrieve the RV, which meant that we would not be able to take the meandering return journey with stops in Savannah and Charleston that we had anticipated. Our family in Florida would not get to see our new home on wheels. Worst of all, our adventure as we had envisioned it was postponed.
And so the past week was not exactly what we had planned, but we made lemonade out of lemons. We are now on the northward journey to return to our Casa. Our rental, a white Nissan Versa which we dubbed Casita, got us where we needed to be, if not in style, quite efficiently. She was loaded down with everything from Casa that we hurriedly thought we might possible need, which is to say, she was overloaded.
The trip to New Smyrna Beach, Florida went smoothly and we managed a lovely overnight in Savannah on the way down and a great stop in Charleston on the way back. The family gathering was a success, spending quality time with family members on the beach and celebrating mother Adele’s 80th birthday in a great Italian restaurant that all 26 of us foodies appreciated. It was deeply satisfying to have enough time as an extended family that it felt as if everyone was able to connect. In Charleston I was delighted to see a niece that I hadn’t seen in many years and meet her adorable little girl for the first time.
We bought peaches in Georgia. I discovered that the friendliness of southerners is contagious and makes me nicer.
One thing that I have noticed during this first week on the road is that my capacity to love is heightened. Perhaps it is because I feel less rushed, but I feel more in touch with a deep and genuine affection toward those in my life with whom I come in contact. At the same time, negative feelings are slow to surface, if they surface at all. These are good, if unexpected, discoveries. I hope I don’t sound boastful. This is not something I can take credit for, it is just there. It is the sense of presence I mentioned earlier, that the moment is everything, and it is full of goodness.©