Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just before sailing

I am itching to travel. I can't stop thinking about it. I just want to go. Many many years ago I published my very first short story in a journal called "Just Before Sailing." A friend named Ron Horning published this and, well, it always seemed fitting. It is nice to think that my first story was in a publication that dreamed of sailing.

Lately I've been dreaming too. It's not that I haven't traveled in recent years, but, well, I haven't had an adventure. Something unpredictable. Surprises. In the spring of 2008 I had a sabbatical from the college where I teach and I was off to Morocco, Spain, and parts unknown when I broke my leg ice skating. Since then, and now that I am finally healed, I am longing to go. Istanbul, Morocco, India await me.

Already I am making plans. Just today I told a student of mine from Calcutta that I want to go to India. She began planning my trip. I've found myself, gazing at maps. A sure sign. When I was younger, my mother used to say, "Oh oh, Mary's looking at maps again." Sending out feelers. Everyone writes back. They know a hotel, a restaurant, a place I must see. I am ready. I am so ready. Chomping at the bit.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? In a restaurant near our house that we like to frequent the owner is going off to Cambodia for six weeks. He does this every year. Namibia last year. He takes off with his girlfriend and has no idea where he'll end up. He just knows where he'll land. It has been years since I've been able to do this. Pick a place on the map and fly there. But I am ready to do it again.

My leg is healed, my daughter is grown. I think of my own mother who at the age of 85 walked the Great Wall of China. And then I see the photo I took this summer of this little boat, about to set off, for somewhere. Anyway. Wherever it wants to go.

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