Greetings From the Igloo

Travel 'n' vacationing. The seashore, the mountains, Yellowstone Park, Disneyworld--whatever floats your boat--I highly recommend it. There's nothing like the perspective of distance for pulling into sharper focus the things that are closest, and the people who are nearest and dearest. Nothing beats a whirlwind vacation for refreshing spirit, creating new happy memories, and making you appreciate the routine of home. It really is the small things, the simple things that matter in life. As the holiday travel season draws near, these are the thoughts that occur to me.

Snow flakes on a brightly colored Christmas card look soft and welcoming, but the reality is snow blanketing an icy sidewalk or parking lot hides treachery. Lurking beneath a fluffy white cover is a slick surface that trips many an unwary pedestrian. Sprained limbs or broken bones can and do result from a short walk on a snowy day. A night spent in an unheated apartment in the frozen north can be deadly.

Those of you who live in the Southern U.S.: enjoy the winter outdoor scenes on postcards and in magazines, watch the Christmas movies with nostalgia...but don't take the nostalgia trip too far. Listen to the voice of experience, from a grandmother who knows.

When that traveling urge speaks to you, and faraway locales beckon, call a travel agent (I recommend AAA). Peruse the brochures, plan a vacation, (take your time) book your trip with care. Let it be a few days--maybe a week, two weeks; then come home again.

Chances are, where you call home is your home for very good reason. Could be you've forgotten those reasons. Beware of the selective memory. Remember where you came from, and remember why you left.

Home has nothing to do with an address on your birth certificate. Home has no correlation with the first number on your social security card.

Home is a state of mind. It's where your heart is warm. It's where your spirit is free, and your mind is present. Don't get caught up in nostalgia, leave it where it belongs--in the past.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is an unfortunate affliction that causes some people who live in northern climates with little or no sunlight to get depressed during those long gray winters. I first read about it when I lived in Miami, but I didn't "get it"--meaning the concept. I do get it now, and I get why more than 24% of the people in this part of the country smoke, (including my dear mother who died at age 60). I also "get" why so many people here drink their way through the endless winters. And why so many of the young people flee-- if they can--I get that too.

I get it but I don't want it; can't use it. I'm here, but not present--heart's all but frozen, bones stiff and cold. It's time to get back to the garden.

So I send greetings from the igloo; the coldest place I've ever lived, figuratively and literally. From AM to PM no light, no sun. Night descends at 4:30 PM, if daylight ever ventured out. This should've been a vacation. Instead, this became a trip, a long and strange one; one where I've never really been present.

Except when I voted.

It must've been a long strange trip for him, too--the past year or two. But he made it, and I'm glad he did.

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