A friend of mine recently brought her husband to the bus station to embark on a faraway trip. Then a friend of hers asked, “How did you feel about not going?” She replied, “I don’t know. ALASKA!’
You guessed right: that friend was actually yours truly. So I don’t really need to ask anybody else about my feelings; in truth, though, they’re a little hard to parse out.
Fortunately, this remains a blog about contrasting elements lying side by side. That’s what I’ve got, yet again. In fact, it almost seems to be my perpetual condition
Maybe most other people are walking around with everything all in synch, matching up nicely, harmony reigning. If so, lucky them— perhaps. While I’m not exactly a swirling cauldron of turmoil, I do find a certain element of friction to be part of the daily experience. And that friction creates some sparks that, well, keep things popping.
On the one hand, it was disappointing not to be able to join my husband on this journey.
I mean, how often does one get a chance to go to the 49th state? To get a glimpse of the mightiest peak in North America, walk on glaciers, see huge animals meandering around in their natural habitats, meet people who live in tiny villages far from the mainstream culture? Frankly, it’s hard for me to think too much about the thrilling new experiences I’m missing. Glancing at the beautiful pictures I see on Facebook gives me a twinge all right.
Then again, I must recall that he did after all go mostly for an indoor meeting of bishops. That, let’s face it, doesn’t directly involve me. Much as I enjoy mingling with the other spouses, and I do, my presence in these sessions is absolutely not required. It would have been mostly for the time in the great outdoors we might have had before the meeting that I wanted to go.
And, the fact was, that travelling just wasn’t practical for us this September. If I’m supposed to be working on a book, in a really perfect program enabling me to work on the book– well then, I’d better stay focused. It’s an unconventional job, but it’s still a job all right. Once you take on a new set of responsibilities and then slip into taking those responsibilities too lightly, well, that’s where the road to perdition can start. This kind of thing takes maturity, a firm spine (as opposed to spinelessness). Sure, it’s tempting to think that “Oh, I don’t have to be in an office every day, so why not, I can go to Alaska!” but that would be only looking at half the picture – the collective picture showing all those beautiful sights.
OK, so maybe I’m bending over backwards here to make this fly. The fact of the matter is, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Funny how that old saw just came into my head, especially since it’s not as if I’m about to come up with something really important like the cotton gin or a vaccination for polio; I’m just trying to write a decent memoir. What I mean to say is that whenever you decide to address a need that’s staring you in the face — looming majestically like Mount Denali or maybe just wiggling around persistently out of the corner of your eye like a shrew — then something good is apt to result. Or at least you have the satisfaction of doing what you set out to do.
Needless to say, when you don’t go to Alaska and receive a panoply of new experiences just by going there, you want to make certain that you’re being a highly productive stay-at-home person, that you’re reaping some of the rewards (?) of staying put.
Fortunately, I don’t have time or space here to list all of my accomplishments over this past stretch of days. Let’s just say that, for starters, I’ve taken excellent care of our dog and have kept my main project afloat. Speaking of floating, I wonder whether the Alaska contingent has gotten a chance to swim outdoors? It sure was lovely last evening down at the local pond here. There were no willow ptarmigans, but I heard the rattling of a belted kingfisher for sure.