Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber
A week ago today I headed out on a solo driving trip to Louisville and back, stopping over to and fro in Scott Depot, West Virginia. 1500 miles or so, the completed journey, 5 days and 4 nights. I visited with friends and family, some I hadn't seen lately and some I had never met in person.
Driving long distances each day but one, I listened to hours and hours of radio programming and marveled at the vast interstate highway system. The speed limit for much of the way was a startling 70 mph, unheard of in New York, and I can't even estimate how many semi-trailer trucks I saw, particularly in Pennsylvania, carrying goods from place to place. What from where to where, I wanted to know, because there was an impossible number of them.
Spring is well under way in Kentucky. Birds are busy nesting everywhere and the rain when it fell was not cold. My winter coat rode undisturbed on the seat beside me and my boots made the entire journey without taking a step. I needed instead the clothes that I keep only upstate and even there don't begin wearing til June.
I was a fish out of water. No husband, no NY1 local news, no cooking, no shopping, no reading, no writing. Nothing of my routine was in place. Most unsettling of all, by far, was the not knitting.
I can't remember the last time I went 5 days without knitting. Traveling with my husband I knit in the car, on the plane or bus or train. I knit any time we have to wait, and in hotel rooms. To have my hands idle for so many days was disturbing. In a certain sense I feel like the real me - the Every Day Knitting me - didn't even make the trip. Somehow she was left behind, and yet I was not discontent. So what does that mean?
Writing to you now on Monday morning, I have been home nearly half as long as I was gone and I'm struck forcefully by how differently time moves when we're standing still. Finding my way back slowly, I'm readjusting, rediscovering my comfort zone.
I set out to visit family and friends in Kentucky and West Virginia, to learn more about their lives, to see them in their homes. I accomplished all my goals well and happily. But the decision to drive such a long distance by myself shaped the voyage into something more than I had envisioned.
"Secret destinations", Buber said, all journeys have, of which the traveler is unaware.
I can't pretend to know what he meant. I only know that I find myself unable to pick up again the threads of my everyday life without pausing to reflect -- though upon what I'm not even sure.