Friday, April 23, 2010

The best-laid plans...

I was excited about flying down to California to meet my daughter; excited also to have the chance to drive back across country I'd never seen. And so I packed my trusty camera, eager to see what images it might gather to share with you here.

But as we realized how far we had to go, and how short a time we had to accomplish our travel goals, plans changed. And so, instead of spending the night with friends in Alameda, we shared an early dinner and hit the road.

My daughter had already been driving all day, so I took the first shift, and drove until dark; no picture-taking for me! At sunset we were driving through a lovely valley, and rejoiced together in the contrast between the pinks and purples of the sky and the bright chartreuse of the vegetation below. But no photos.

And then, of course, it was dark, and cold. We drove on, through the gorgeous mountains of northern California, climbing higher and higher into the snow and wind, and rejoiced together when the half moon rose and made the snow glow dimly to outline the passing hills. But no photos.

At 1 a.m. we called it a night and crawled into bed for a dreamless sleep. Rising again at 7 to grab a cup of hotel coffee, I went back to the room and woke my daughter long enough for her to shower; she was asleep again not long after climbing into the passenger seat, and I drove through the mountains of southern Oregon, rejoicing alone in the bright greens of the passing hills.

By the time she was awake and ready to drive, we'd pretty much come to the flatlands, and before long it was familiar territory, farms and fields I'd driven by before. And so, though I had my camera ready, there wasn't much to shoot. This is one of the few good ones we got, and I think actually she was the one who shot it, after I pointed it out and begged, at the tail end of my morning shift that second day.

So, no, it didn't turn out the way I planned -- and I could feel some childish part of me wanting to stamp her feet and whine. But in fact, for the chance to travel with my girl and listen to her tales of adventure and hold her hand while she mourned its coming end -- I'd do it all again in exactly the same way. Those hills will still be there when I get a chance to drive through there again. But she, I suspect, will never be the same: last night she came to me, now in full throes of her transition time, and said, holding me so tight, "Oh, mom. I feel so lost." I can only hold her and weep with her.

And now, today, we'll hit the road again, this time in a more comfortable car, with my husband driving; off to the islands for a very sad memorial service. A different sort of journey, celebrating -- and mourning -- a different sort of transition -- and in many ways a fitting beginning for this strange new chapter in all our lives. Who knows how it will all end; I am simply grateful we'll be traveling together, and trust that all will eventually become clear.


Blue Eyed Ennis said...

This is a moving post and the photo is beautiful; can't put my finger on why but it touches me deeply.
Blessings and my prayers are with you and your family in the future.

Maureen said...

Thinking of you and yours.

May peace be with you.

(I, too, found the image touching.)

Anonymous said...

last month my 22year old daughter and i drove to davis ca and back in two days. through shasta and over the pass, through the hills of southern oregon, wind and rain, the flat and straights. all photos taken out the car window with her camera...still not downloaded. we saw a lot of baby sheep along the way.

so many twists and turns on this road we are all traveling on.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Beautiful photo ... and if you get anywhere close to Yosemite, remember I'm here ... and have lots of beds!