Friday, August 25, 2006

Pilgrimage

Photo: "Port Austin Shoreline," copyright William McCain.

"And we keep driving through the night,
It's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye..."

--Poets of the Fall, "Late Goodbye"

I got my leave form yesterday. Liz and I are frantically trying to pack and run last-minute errands. We fly out of Germany tomorrow morning, and will arrive back in Michigan sometime in the early afternoon. We've got a rental car lined up, and after we land, we'll have a two-hour drive up north to my family's home in the Thumb area.

I'm stressed out about the preparations, but on the other hand I'm also ecstatic. I've been waiting for this for a long time. It's always natural for one to pine for
the places where one grew up, but for me this is different. I didn't have many friends growing up, so as a child, it was effectively the place, rather than the people, that sustained and raised me. Some might call this a bad thing, but I don't. I feel that the long periods alone ("on walkabout," as my father jokingly called it) gave me an appreciation for solitude and reflection, an appreciation that I don't think many of my comrades share. The last few nights, I've dreamed of the shores of Lake Huron; sunrises on the pier. I've dreamt of keening gulls and water. I've dreamt of air that smells of purple lilac. These things, even all these years, have stayed fresh in my memory. I've made my wife promise me that, no matter what, I'll get at least one good long "walkabout," alone, while back in the States. She understands. This is something personal; an obligation I feel compelled to uphold.

I feel relieved. I feel scared. I feel free. This is no mere vacation. This is a pilgrimage. Possibly the last.


















Photo: "Port Austin Sunset," copyright William McCain.


I can never afford to forget that.

6 Comments:

Blogger cameo said...

just picked my brother up at the airport this evening. germany to seattle to kc.
it will be good knowing you both are back home safe in the states for awhile.
enjoy your time. breathe it all in!

9:44 AM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

Find your center again. Refuel. Charge your batteries. And enjoy your walkabout.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Softball Slut said...

Have fun on your trip home and take lots of pics with people in it, that you can take with you. Stare at people not objects. Hope you and your wife made up

*HUGS*

8:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Have had lots of "walkabouts" in my life, some good some bad. However, I really do value solitude and the time for reflection and you are so right that not many people do. Maybe they are frightened that they will find themselves if they stop and pause for long enough. Memories are wonderful, memories are precious. I hope you will create many more on this trip.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous waimeawahine said...

I feel that the long periods alone...gave me an appreciation for solitude and reflection, an appreciation that I don't think many of my comrades share.

I know how you feel. May you find what you need on your walkabout.

12:56 PM  
Blogger essa said...

You are in the right mind, Milo. Enjoy Home.

5:03 AM  

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