Monday, February 08, 2010
Close to Home, Part 1
Maybe it’s just the weather. Perhaps it’s because I spent most of the last year gearing up for a move that never happened. Or it could just be the way I roll. Whatever the cause, I’ve been wanting to blow this town with a wanderlust rivaling George Bailey’s, just before Uncle Billy lost the bank deposit and the townspeople helped George discover what a Wonderful Life he had right in Bedford Falls.
If I would have been as faithful a January poster as I had planned, you would know that here at my house, I had nary a bank deposit to lose, as we’re just coming off Frugal January, a month of living off hoarded reserves while my husband launched a new business venture. Finances aside, the Usual Suspects of sundry responsibilities don’t compose a favorable atmosphere for immediate departure, either. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to remember—before my sanity headed south, without me—that you don’t always have to be far to be away.
How could I forget the wonderful afternoon my children and I spent consuming authentic British junk food ,exploring tartans, and restoring an antique instrument mere miles from our front door? That day, I proved to two skeptical children that you really can become a tourist on the streets you’ve tread your entire life. This weekend, I proved it to myself all over again.
While cold, sometimes freezing rain pulled an all-nighter on the region, my husband and I were far removed from the misery: soaking in a private Jacuzzi tub, snacking on gourmet cheeses, sipping champagne by a roaring fire. In reality, we were less than half an hour from home. But having a well-stocked and beautifully decorated bed and breakfast inn virtually to ourselves? We were in a world of our own.
In the morning, we took a spontaneous tour of a stained glass-studded 17th century church. Even without the benefit of sunlight the windows were a wonder to behold.
Home before noon, we were gone for less than 24 hours—no heap of accumulated laundry, with no mountain of mail and rolled newspapers waiting on the flip side.
And thus I succeeded in staving off the travel bug for at least a little longer, and learned anew the importance of appreciating the underrated here and now right in front of me. It’s a timely lesson, too, as it's one that relates to the book proposal on which I am currently working. Thanks, by the way, to those of you who have asked about it. It’s basically version 2.0 of a concept that got away from me more than six years ago and withered on the vine. This time, I’ve called in an important reinforcement—my friend, Patti, a former editor at the same struggling Tribune publication for which I used to write. She’s a great writer with stories of her own festering in file folders, and we’ve decided that enough is enough. We’re meeting now, bi-weekly, and giving each other assignments and deadlines and encouragement to keep our projects on track. We even have a joint venture thrown in the mix.
But my proposal? It’s got a lot to do with the material right here in this blog. It’s loaded with art metaphors and never strays too far from the witty, tongue-in-cheek sort of commentary I tend to favor. It's also pretty tightly tied to the concept of embracing the extraordinary experiences embedded within the admittedly ordinary lives most of us lead—because no matter where we call home, most of our days are spent there. And we need to squeeze every bit of adventure and discovery we can from each one.
Psst…before you head out, take a moment and check something out for me, OK? Just take a little peek up and to the right—see all those pretty faces? Is your picture included in that sort of mosaic along the side of the page? If not, why not go ahead and add it…because I love mosaics and I love followers…and following my followers!