|Sharp-tailed Grouse strutting for the ladies|
Wanderlust is yin to my staying-at-home-hibernating’s yang. I am content to remain in one place until I am not, and then I hit the road, which is where I am now as I write this blog. This 47-day road trip will take us (my much better half, Jan Rubens, is with me) from our winter abode in Savannah, Georgia out to Hood River, Oregon, back east to Greece, New York and finally to our summer home in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula woods.
Air travel is my least favorite way to get from point A to spot B. I do love trains, but they run on rails and more or less on schedules; both inhibit our ability to get outside and enjoy seeing, hearing and touching ground. Walking would be great, but I don’t have sufficient time (or energy). That makes automobile travel the happy compromise.
We plan our day-to-day travel to include National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks and Monuments and other outdoor attractions whenever possible. We’re not much for cities and museums. This trip we have added a different twist: every 50 miles as measured by the car’s odometer we stop and take a picture. This methodical approach does not capture the highlights of the trip, but it has captured the topography changes as we moved from east to west; from lush to dry to lush again; from low to high to low. (The album is on my personal Facebook page.)
The saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is not accurate for me. However, I do find that pictures stimulate my memory. Often when I see a photograph I have taken, I recall not only the specifics of that locale, but what led up to it and what happened afterwards. One added enjoyment of this trip has been to see how these more or less random pictures have triggered memories in folks who follow my Facebook posts.
We usually prefer taking backroads, which can make for more interesting pictures than those taken along interstates. On this trip, time constraints on when we could leave and when we had to be in Hood River made it necessary (well, at least very convenient) to do much of our early travel on interstates. Given that, these pictures provide a sense of the modern American society, rushing by the land at 75 miles an hour in our air-conditioned, nearly hermitically-sealed autos.
|Northern Gannets billing|
As much as these roadside pictures draw comments, the photographs I periodically take of the birds we see always bring responses. Some people have never seen the particular birds before and marvel at their colors or shape or antics. Others of my friends are avid birders and share their own experiences with the birds or the location.
This sharing, initially from me, but then back to me, provides a continued sense of community with my friends and acquaintances regardless of how physically far apart we are. Even those who do not comment on Facebook will, when I see them in person, often engage me in detailed conversations about a recent trip. Those conversations, which can occur months after the trip, allow me to relive my wanderings.
I’ve found writing mysteries has a similar communal affect. I write the mysteries and then some time (often a long time) later a reader will talk to me about the story, or the characters, or the setting, and I have the opportunity to relive the story, yet experience it through the filter of someone else’s eyes.
That is the essence of my wanderlust: to experience, to share, to re-experience and to learn.
Toward the infinite