I’m home. This is a deeply happy thing, like in my bones happy. I started to feel it on the flight home as I approached Utah. I wish I knew if physical proximity to my heart’s residence actually had an effect or if it was all the effect of knowing that I was going home. Part of me would like to believe in a connection to the place I have created here, as if I could draw strength from the ground I have nurtured. I certainly felt like the forest around Mary’s house nourished my spirit. On the drive from the airport I immediately noticed how brown Utah is and how few trees it has. The only natural forests here are in the mountains and they are very different. Another part of me thinks that whole idea is a little bit hokey, but it doesn’t matter because I’m back with my people.
So how was my trip? I ask myself the same question, and I think it is going to take me a week or more to figure out the full answer. For today and tomorrow I am unpacking and resettling. I’m not going to have the mental and emotional space to figure out what this trip has done for/to me until after I figure out how it has shifted things here at home. In my absence my kids have learned some additional self reliance and I should not hurry to take back the tasks that they did for themselves this past week. This requires me to observe. Watching the group effort to pack lunches was certainly interesting and useful. It resembled the lunches on the retreat–make the ingredients available and let the people serve themselves. I’m also going to discover tasks that have piled up, waiting for me to return. But there are no crises and that is good.
In some ways I don’t want to unpack my brain from the trip. I know that some of the contents of my head have shifted and there will be changes as a result. Creating those shifts is exactly why I went. Yet, I’m tired and sorting it all out sounds every bit as difficult as going on the trip and being on the trip. Right now I’d really like to just have things be calm and normal. One of the things I have to figure out is if this desire to retract into ordinary routine is a wise impulse to allow time for writing, or if it is me trying to escape anxiety by making myself smaller. The two possible reasons require opposite responses from me. But I don’t have to figure it out today. Possibly not even this week. For this next week I will focus on creating calm stability for everyone in our house.
How was my trip? It was good. It was hard, but only because of things I carried inside my head. The location was lovely. The company was delightful. The food was excellent. I’m glad I went. I’m sorry that my going caused stress for Howard and the kids, even though letting them learn from stress was part of the point. I wish I’d been better able to disconnect my own stress and anxieties. I came home and the house is as I left it or perhaps even a bit cleaner. I think I will be able to incorporate more writing into my days here at home. I don’t know if the trip was necessary to making that change, it will definitely color the stories I write. And I get to sleep in my own bed. Now if only I could just get the lingering mosquito bites to stop itching.