I am grateful for my imagination and for that of my friend “Lor”.
Loraine and I have decided to paddle to Finland. We aren’t just willy-nilly with our plans, coming up with some hair-brained idea without careful planning. We want to see Finland’s outdoor glass sculptures that look like they are living beings, flames of glass seemingly growing out of the marsh and gardens in blues and reds and yellows. A PBS program sparked Loraine’s curiousity and I am just game to go along for the ride, truth be told. We thought a double kayak might work nicely to maneuver across the big cold waves in the north Atlantic. We’ll have to pack a lunch and wear some warm clothes and I don’t even want to think about what rest spots we might find on our way. So with “Lor” in Fort Frances and me in Nova Scotia we will set sail in our minds and see where we end up. It is the beauty of the imagination.
I’m not much for travel, it turns out. I would be if I could do the “beam me up, Scotty” method. So instead I imagine where I might go and how I might get there and what I might do once I am there. Not wanting to travel doesn’t mean I’m not curious and fascinated by the world outside my reach, the animals of the Sahara, the waters of Victoria Falls, the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China. But if I am being honest, and honesty is the best policy, the great trail of the Gaspereau River calls me back over and over and it’s a mere eight minute hike from home. I don’t need my passport or my patience. I don’t have to sit still in a very small space for hours on end and pretend I’m still sane when I reach my destination. And I can bring Gracie with me.
As I get older, I don’t feel a panic to “see” what I haven’t seen. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy hearing of the travels of others, their experiences and stories. I listen with great interest but without envy. I have friends who travel, who get off the main road and truly experience different parts of the world and the people who live there. They all report back with a similar sentiment: we are more alike than different.
My father was stationed in India with the RCAF during World War II and he saw the great Taj Mahal. Its ivory-white marble structure was magnificent, my father confirmed, a tomb erected in 1632 on the bank of the Yamuna river to house the “favourite” wife of the Mughal Emperor, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. I’ve only just barely managed to stifle my thoughts on that, but best save it for another time. My father kept a small box with an ivory impression of the Taj Mahal on its lid to remind him he had travelled half way around the world once upon a time. He said it was an experience never to be forgotten, but living on the Rainy River was far sweeter. I concur.
T S Eliot said, “The journey not the arrival matters.” I think all our journeys are leading us home.