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No Travel Plan Survives Contact with the Pavement

Posted by on 29 March 2011

A few days ago Sue told you about being stuck over night in Bakersfield because the roads going south were closed because of the snow. Yes, in California, you can close the carotid artery of the state with snow, unlike, say, Wisconsin.

Anyway, we had a ball. We never would have planned most of the stuff we did on that drive; sleeping in the car in a WalMart parking lot, f'rinstance. We left early to get here early. Sue finally has contact lenses again instead of her outdated glasses, so she can drive at night and we would have. We've driven 25 hours with nothing but naps. I wouldn't do it often, but we were so antsy to get going that we were ready to leave at 4:30pm Sunday, and drive 'til 7 the next morning. That's not what happened.

What happened was that we discovered, again, that we can do pretty much anything, and if we can't do it, we can survive it. We can't control the weather or road closures, so instead, we controlled our reaction. We enjoyed the silliness of, after making it out of Canada, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and more last November, being snowbound in southern California fer cryin' out loud.

We saw Tehachapi covered in snow. (Jerry and I are going to organise a business retreat there. Interested in some of the most humanistic, practical, fun business training in existence? Gimme a shout.)

We reminded ourselves that no one was waiting up for us. We had no deadline, only a goal, and a loose one. I drove under the speed limit. We stopped to look at stuff. Fiona trudged through snow in a Walgreen's parking lot, just because she wanted to. We sat in a StarBUCKs in Bakersfield and just puttered while Fiona ate the free oatmeal one of the baristas gave her ("I'm a mom and I just thought she might like some; is that okay?" Um, yeah, you can give our little girl breakfast; sure!)

You can't plan trips as great as the ones that happen on their own.

I noticed something as I drove. When I glanced at Sue, there were different lines on her face. For quite a while, they've been worry lines; stress lines. We've spent some time doing things we needed to do the past couple months; time getting ready for should instead of want. Now, the lines are smiles, peace, thoughts, prayers.

Lines on the map don't mean much to me anymore; I can go anywhere and be happy. It's what I read in my wife's face that tells me whether we're on the right path.

2 Responses to No Travel Plan Survives Contact with the Pavement

  1. caitlyn

    Shit, Joel! I'm not even apologizing for the expletive. Here I am dashing through my morning routine to go to one of those "job" thingies and twitter tells me you have a new post. Sure, I think, that's a nice way to start my day, a little check-in with the Canfield's nomadic adventures. Yep. That will be nice.

    No!

    Instead, I get lulled for a while. My expectations met as I picture Bakersfield under snow (been there, done that.) I smile at Fiona trudging. And, then ... then ... dammit ... we get lines on Beloved's face and I want to cry with the beauty of that. I am forced to pause in my dashing and consider how loving and gorgeous this little observation is. And, then, of course, while in the moment, I must berate you before I go on with my day ... which means Brodie gets less read the pee-mail time or my teeth will be only lightly brushed!

    ;-)

  2. Joel D Canfield

    I'm glad someone noticed that. Thus far, it's been the high point of the past 6 months, that first glance where I realised that she was really truly happy.

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