Tal and I left home on Monday morning, September 30th. The first twenty miles of a 1200+-mile drive to Maine was in the wrong direction -- in order to drop Whitby and Belle at All God's Creatures where they will board while we are away. We have been preparing to make this trip for weeks and weeks, even months -- reading about the Allagash River, consulting maps of the Allagash River, collecting the requisite gear to spend eight days in a canoe and a tent on the Allagash River. I still can't quite believe what we have set out to do.
Over the years Tal and I have been married we have enjoyed travelling together, so the getting ready aspect is not unknown to us. We actually have a rudimentary checklist to ensure that the mail gets stopped and the hot water heater turned off. The process this time, though, was distinctly and pleasantly different in one primary way: I did not experience the usual intense panic leading up to our departure. There was no newsletter to finish; there were no last minute meetings to attend; I didn't have with me as we pulled out of the drive a list of notes to write and calls to make on the first day. I've not been gainfully employed for over two years and it's taken that long for me to clear the schedule and conclude a backlog of expectation.
Now, I didn't leave our home precisely the way I'd envisioned -- all the towels washed and freshly hung, Tal's truck clean (that'll be the day ...), the grass edged, the depleted pantry in order ... It's excessive expectation, I know, but I always want to leave home in perfect order. That's partly so I can walk back in and find it perfect, I realize. But, I also think, at least in part, there is some dim but persistent memory of Eden in all of us. From how I want to leave home as Tal and I depart on a trip to humanity's sense of fairness (and how we think things ought to be along with our restlessness and anger when they are not) -- maybe all that springs from the imprint of Eden on the collective conscience.
Well, I said maybe ...