Traveling by Memory


Nebraska in watercolor pencil, and supposedly waterproof ink…

Lately, I’ve been daydreaming about trips I’ve taken around North America. Trips up to Connecticut, daytrips to regional parks in Pennsylvania, the long trek down coast to the bottom tip of North Carolina, and family journeys up to Stratford, Ontario, Canada so we could see Shakespeare in the round. The trips to Canada always had a special day when we tried to buy whatever we could with our last remaining currency before coming back to the States. Lovely times spent in parks eating the apples or plums we had bought, prior to crossing the border where they would become contraband.

One year, I drove solo across Nebraska to Colorado for a conference. I kicked myself for not scheduling more time; once I found a park where there were sightings of wildlife, I wanted to do an early morning vigil, looking for the Prairie Chicken. The drive was dreamlike: long stretches of road, with 2 stops for museums, meals, and to sleep in a clean hotel. I managed to avoid the traffic near Lincoln (big football game), had one of the best steak dinners ever in Kearney, and drove up into the foothills near Denver as the sun was setting. While I drove over the flat earth, with the mountains off in the distance, I could see movement out of the corner of my eye. And I thought, what the heck is that… ants on my window?

The ants continued to grow, and I thought, maybe those are a line of cars on a road…. But they were too even, with too little light between them.

And the road grew larger, until I could see that parallel to my road, but looking like they were going to cross on the horizon, was a line of rail cars following a line of tracks that was hidden partially by the optics of the dirt and scrub. Maybe 30? Maybe more. They seemed to shimmer in the heat.

The other day I drew what I saw in my memory, imperfectly. I’m beginning to feel like I need to sketch some of the places I’ve been, to relive how wonderful they were. So, if you were going to memorialize a trip…. what trips have you taken that you daydream about months or years later?

2 Responses to “Traveling by Memory”

  1. 1 itwasjudith May 15, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Probably trips done in company of lost beloved ones 🙂 bitter sweet memories

    • 2 wordtapestry May 23, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Oh, I understand that so much. We had many trips we made to visit people who have either moved to retirement homes in Florida, or who have passed on. So bittersweet.

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