"The world is a book. Those who do not travel read only a page." --St. Augustine
We've just returned from a trip to California, a trip with special meaning. Please forgive me for having a nostalgic moment here, but the following are thoughts I came home with. You'll see the purpose of this latest trip as you read along. All of this has little to do with the subject of writing except to say, run with your imagination where ever you go. You'll see what I mean...
Once upon a time there was a little boy who loved to fish, wander the creeks, and chase butterflies. He wasn't Christopher Robin, but like the boy in A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner, he had his array of childhood friends, including Bert, Ernie, and a black cat named Tootsie-Too. He entertained himself for hours by building cars--on his bed. A bowl served as a steering wheel, various toys as engine parts, and a box covered in brown paper was decorated to look like a battery. The best of the best was when someone dragged in a real radiator for him. This child spent countless preschool-aged hours driving hundreds of imaginary miles to all kinds of imaginary places.
He was a little boy who loved to take items from the pantry and stock his own playtime store on the screened-in porch, pretending to sell his stock back to mommy for a penny here and a penny there. Once he even sold groceries to the neighbor lady, who played along with his game so convincingly that mommy didn't know the box of baking soda had sold until she went looking for it.
The little boy grew to enjoy basketball, the electric guitar, and a family tradition of Friday night international meals. On those nights, recipes from a different country were prepared, facts about the featured country were shared, and a well-worn globe was pulled out in order to locate the country's position in the world.
The boy grew up to become, not a builder of cars, but an engineer in his own right. He accepted a job offer and moved to California right after college. He married a lovely young lady and, as time went on, opened his heart to his own little boy, Nicholas. And then...the day came when imagination became reality. He no longer chased butterflies, but he chased, caught, and ran with a dream he had dreamed for a long time--a dream to live in another country.
The day has arrived. He is about to embark on a journey that will take, not a car built on a bed, but a whole range of modern day marvels to make his dream a realilty. He has sold, not groceries from mom's pantry, but personal belongings like cars, furniture and appliances. This time next week all the preparations will have been completed, and he and his family will fly to...Spain. There they will begin their new lives.
And so, where proud parents (that's us by the way!) once stood back and marveled at a child's imagination, they now step back and wave to a grown-up son who is living out the dreams of that imagination. Birds once sang their songs outside his bedroom window. They've sung their songs outside of nine month-old Nicholas' room in California as well. The mural that Nicholas' mommy painted on his bedroom wall stands as a testimony of songs waiting to be sung in their new home far away.
We wish them smooth travels, bright-eyed wonders, and all kinds of good things ahead. And who knows what adventures will open up for those of us who cheer them on. The fun has only begun.
Keith, Suzan and Nicholas--we love you. Let your imaginations soar. We'll anticipate all the many stories that will only be yours to tell.
And don't forget to skype!
"People travel because it teaches them things they could learn no other way." --Lance Morrow