This Old Longing

The old longing has returned, the one that comes with the weather change from weeks of suffocating heat to cool mornings with overcast skies and gentle breezes.  It is a deep set longing for change.  I awakened with the desire to get in my car and drive north, all the way to Madison, WI.  That would be about twelve hours of driving, with only necessary stops.  The pull is the photo I saw of my son and his girlfriend’s new apartment they have been in for a month or so.  It looks so tidy and clean, uncluttered, lovingly kept.

I understand from them both that I am welcome.  Forty years ago, I felt free enough to travel on a whim.  Usually that would be the desire to go south, into Mexico.  Back then, I did not seem to have a care in the world, and when the urge hit me to go, I went.  Today, I have to consider a few things, such as, who will care for my animals while I am gone, whether or not I can realistically afford to make the trip, and whether I can actually handle such a long drive alone.

Tomorrow my son will perform his music with many others during a festival.  I relish listening to him perform.  He gives his singing and playing all of his best energy, and one would have to be a stone embedded in the ground to miss it.  Music is his love.  A few years back, a friend of his, drunk as could be, accused me of not supporting him enough, saying that her own father would travel 1,000 miles to hear her perform.  I do not know how she arrived at this judgment, but she was wrong.  I am probably my son’s truest fan, and if I do not travel those miles to support him, it is because I am challenged supporting myself.  I set her straight, however, and refused to accept her condemnation.  Today, I wish I could shed any trepidation at the thought of such a long road trip, pack my backpack, get in the car, and go.  There is still time.  I may do it!

To leave home for a few days is nothing to fear.  The animals would survive.  It will not snow while I am gone.  There is still enough time when I return, to bring in the wood I need for the soon-to-arrive winter.  The world will keep on turning, with all the upsetting things that are going on.  The only thing that would be different about taking off like this is that I would leave my traveling companion at home, for the first time ever.  My son’s landlord does not allow dogs in his rentals, and I would not wish to take the chance of alienating him.  In addition, all the animals have fleas right now.  I treat them with anything I can, short of putting poison on them.  The animals banned from being inside these days, I hope these insidious insects will leave my pets’ furry coats with the first cold front.  Were I to go, my dog would watch me leave with a crestfallen expression in his amber eyes.  I might feel guilty for a few minutes, but I know he is happy to run in these woods, chasing squirrels and nosing about for creatures hiding underneath fallen trees and old piles of lumber I keep about the place.  I could be gone twenty minutes or less and he would soon find something to distract him.

I have almost talked myself into this.  I have food I can put in the cooler, clothes that are clean, and new tires on the car.  I had the car serviced two days ago, thus, it is good to go another 5,000 miles.  I would not spend any more money than required to travel and I should be fine.  Maybe the trees are turning now, and I will see a colorful, autumn landscape.  The spirit in my bones longs for a change, impulsive, as it may seem, and as the weather changes, so awakens anew this old longing to see new places and folks.

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