Here’s to all of us who are homesick for a place that no longer exists.
For the first few years of our relationship, Charlie and I spent a lot of time poking around in some pretty desolate areas out west. It was awesome, sometimes days where human interaction was available only when initiated; it was available, but we had to search for it. But in 2019, Covid and ATV vehicles changed all that.
When vacation travel was restricted in 2019, it seemed that the entire country migrated to New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, even the Ozarks here in Arkansas in search of “recreation”. Before we even knew that it was slipping through our fingers, there seemed to be no solitude. Even when I took Marty’s particles (Marticles) to the top of Ophir Pass, 11,789′ up a rocky dirt road, the sound of the everpresent ATVs grinding up the grade behind me ripped at the rolling silence of the Rocky Mountains.
I miss those special places; not so much as just places to visit for the scenery and adrenaline, but more as refueling stations for the soul.
But this longing we all occasionaly feel may not be for just a physical place; it may be for a time. Maybe for a time in a relationship that has now progressed past a particular stage. Maybe for a stage in life when an old dog was still a pup. Maybe for when what are now independent adults still needed our care to survive. The Greek interpretation of the word “Nostalgia” literally means “pain from an old wound”; it’s a twinge from deep beneath our ribs, far more powerful than memory alone.
When traveling, you must always remember where you’ve been to be able to determine what direction to take to get wherever you’re going. While going backwards is not usually an option, you might just realize that that gas station you so cavalierly passed a while back might be the last one you see before making that long, dry slog across the desert. So, it could be that the remembrance of better times and places is not just a wallowing in the mire of self pity, but an opportunity to refuel on the memory of past experience.
“Fossil fuel”, if you will.
But ultimately, we have to keep moving forward, as life is defined by movement. The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “if you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotting”. This applies to all of us, regardless of what mile marker we just passed on each of our own particular journeys.
See you on the road; Dad and Charlie out.