First, there was the rush to claim the best spots. With a lot of kids in my family, good seat selection never went to the faint of heart. You’d have thought we were trying out for the NHL the way we’d swing elbows and bump hips while trying not to attract the attention of whatever adults were in the front seat.
By the time the seating chart had been squared away, we were on the interstate, east-bound and down.
Yes, friends, if you have ever been in the back seat on a long car trip, you know what was coming next. Invariably, one of us would ask, “Are we there yet?”. And why not? The great thing about being a kid was once you got in the car, it was time to get out. It was as if I thought our Chevy wagon was some sort of 4-wheeled version of the Starship Enterprise with its own Transporter Room. I wanted to get in the back and then, get out, having been beamed over to Grandma’s house – Snap. Sadly, it never seemed to work that way.
The night before, I’d seen my dad at the kitchen table with his atlas and a calculator; “If a Chevy wagon filled with kids left the Farm Land in Illinois at 7AM and traveled at 65 miles per hour, how long would it take them before they reached Cincinnati?” Dad was doing what grown-ups do. But none of that auto club stuff mattered a hill of beans to any of us kids. We didn’t factor in logical places to refuel; places to pull over to eat or take bio-breaks.
While dad had been doing his math, mom had busied herself making sandwiches and freezing the blue bag things that kept the ice chest cold. None of that mattered really mattered to us and our poorly developed kid-sense of time or distance.
What mattered was 7AM (the next day) had arrived and we were underway. Leaving our little farm town behind us, we were now on the open highway. All our inquiring pre-pubescent minds wanted to know was, “Are we there yet?”.
“Are we there yet?” The first 16 or 17 times the question was asked, the answer from the front seat was “No, not yet” as the miles ticked by.
The second 16 or 17 times, you could hear the tension rising in mom’s voice.
By the third round of questions, mom spun around to face her brood, saying “Do you think we’d be here if we were already there?”. We knew then it wouldn’t be long before the parental units declared “quiet hour” which in our family, meant the elbows had be to be more skillfully delivered than ever before…leave no marks.
This past week, I’ve been struck at how blogging is a road trip all its’ own. Here are a few recommendations for blog spots (links at conclusion) you might want to stop at while you travel your Life. For any number of reasons, I’ve come to depend on each of them during my trek:
INVISIBLE SHADOW: Only 28-weeks into my own blogging journey, I was pulled up short by the power of Invisible Shadow’s honesty when she acknowledged thinking maybe she should step away from blogging all together. In her post, “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah”, she speaks to not wanting to add any more layers of negativity/darkness to a world already filled with plenty. And I applaud her for her conviction to ‘authenticity’. I say: Please don’t quit. Invisible Shadow. Hear me. Road trips are never all lollipops and gum drops, but you knew that. Your skill at speaking plainly via elegant prose has given me an external yardstick I’d never have without you. Your blog is ‘you’ and I defend your right to make the choices that fit your ‘real life’. But that being said – whether you travel in another direction or not, I’m honored to be on the Planet at the same time you are. In the best sense, you’ve become a valued mile marker for my own trip. Are we there yet? Don’t know, but you’re helping me chart my position.
YEARS STRICKEN: Here’s another wise old Soul who has sagely remembered not to grow up too much. Goofy and definitely not normal (a badge of honor in our circles), she can extoll the humorous virtues of saving “dozens of dollars over the course of their few remaining years and teeth” as easily as she paints a vivid canvas of her day-parts being representative of Life on this hurling rock called Earth when she wrote ‘I practice dying every night‘. It’s a powerful read. Such adroit and uncluttered essays don’t happen accidentally.
When it comes to her management of content and blog architecture, I view her work product with great respect. Her ever gracious (if not sometimes tongue-in-cheek) acknowledgment back to readers has been a lighthouse in my own development. I hope to be as authentic when I grow up (ha!). When will that happen? Not a clue. May it ever be so…
KANA’S CHRONICLES: As in every Pantone Color Chart of note, Kana shows me how one can be both unvarnished in her own autopsy of personal habit and authentically grateful in the face of miracles spelled out in sign for the word E-l-e-n-a. I dare you to read “Body Language” and not feel your own own pulse rate quicken at the majesty she has taken the time to relate to all of us. Wow. What a witness to the visceral heartbeat of Life lived fully. Are we there yet?
PHOTOBOTOS: You’ve heard the expression of ‘a picture being worth a thousand words‘? Two brothers, Charlie and Tom own the new definition. While so many of us are struggling with literary form, grammar and syntax, these two have wiped all that away with one simple F-Stop for some really tremendous photography. For all our history as a story telling people, Charlie and Tom use silence in presenting our world through the lenses of photographers of every stripe. Sometimes when the chatter of the blogosphere and the real world get too deafening to think, I take a quick cruise on the good ship PHOTOBOTOS and quickly cease speaking. Not many people can do that and I’m grateful to the spiritual medicine they dispense to me – knowingly or not. Their work matters to me.
The other night, Jean L., a long-time friend of mine wrote me in response to my having shared a recent disappointment with her – namely, something I’d really worked hard on – having fallen apart at the last minute. She said, “Dan, You’ll get there before you know it. It could be right around the corner and you wouldn’t even know it”.
Her comment beamed me back to my early days of jostling for position in the Chevy on the way to Grandma’s house.
The funny thing about going anywhere for the first time is you just don’t know how long it’s going to take. It isn’t till you’re on the way home when you realize how close your destination really was all along. You’ve seen the route. You know the landmarks. “Gee, it wasn’t all that far away after all…” Who knows? You may be steps away from turning the most majestic door knob you’ve ever turned in your Life…You just don’t know it (yet).
Are any of us ‘there yet?’ Nope. But some of the Bloggers I’ve come to respect are helping me get there – whether they know it or not.
Am I there yet? Nope. But I know I’m not alone. So I’m gonna keep on, keepin on, and see what the ends’ gonna be.
In the meantime, thanks for riding with me for a little while. See you on the flip-side. Peace. Out.
BLOG LINKS: Take a Road Trip and visit these sites:
Invisible Shadow – http://theinvisibleshadow.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/rah-rah-sis-boom-bah/
Kana’s Chronicles – http://kanatyler.com/2012/01/08/one-of-my-very-bad-habits/ and
Photobotos – http://photobotos.com/ Thank you Charlie and Tom – Amazing Site!
“The Walkers”- Qingyan, China – Marc Tan – Guest Photographer
“A Splash of Light”- Morro Bay, CA – David Pasillas
“A Photographer’s Gift for his Mom”- Church of the Good Shepard, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand – Bhuminan Piyathasanan
PHOTO CREDITS: Are We There Yet – The Simpson’s by Matt Groening ; Are We There Yet? By Tim Hodgson – http://www.sgsgashtead.com/Groups/71176/Churches_of_Ashtead/Church/The_Well/The_Well.aspx
Fun Fact: The Picture and Thousand Words reference can be traced to newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in his remarks to the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club, in March 1911: “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” (SOURCE: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words.html)
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