As I write this post, the final miles of this particular journey are counting down. In just a few short days, we will be back “home” where this journey began having experienced 33 states in 396 days.
Tonight we went to dinner in Port Angeles, WA and as we sipped our Chianti we reflected back on all that the last year has brought us. We also smiled at the different ways in which we process experiences.
For him, the mission isn’t over until we have safely arrived home, have conducted our after action reviews (AARs) and have prepped our gear for the next adventure. Then he says he will sit back with a glass of wine and ruminate on the journey.
Not so for me. I crave the bookends, the closure, the poignant beginnings and endings to a story with the overarching themes and journeys in between. I see our lives in the form of a movie script or a book. Perhaps this makes sense as I am, after all, a writer.
The beauty of this is that we complement each other. His focus on the present keeps our logistics sound. My love of the story preserves the emotional impact of the experiences.
Our story didn’t have a name when we started out, but it does now. Thank you, T.S. Eliot for perfectly and eloquently summing up our shared vision of this life and this journey.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place
For the first time.
Though I don’t feel ready for this portion of the journey to end, there is comfort in the knowledge that our lives are those of ceaseless explorers. This perceived ending is merely a circuit on the infinite Möbius Loop of our exploring. Each time, when we arrive back where we started, our goal, our end, is to know a little more about ourselves, about each other, and about our shared place in this vast universe.
Though the exploration may be ceaseless, my bookends of choice for this particular part of the journey are a photo of the road which I took at sunrise on the morning of our departure and a Cheryl Strayed quote I am reading the night of our return::
“‘Thank you,” I thought over and over again for everything the trail had taught me and for all I could not yet know.”