Let’s Go

…“Let’s go” is on the minds of many people in these last days of summer, especially the getting-out-of-here, going-away, going-home mood of Labor Day weekend. And it is much simpler by car…The long improvisational trip by car is quintessentially American, just as the road book is a peculiarly American form. […]

Yet it is perhaps truer today to say that the road trip has kept alive the romance of travel. Consider the misery of air travel, in what constitutes an average journey by plane. Much has been written about the stress, intimidation, limited space, germ-laden air and the intrusion of other people—the oaf in the seat in front of you who lowers his chair back into your lap, the child behind kicking your spine, the agony of the middle seat. Then there is the sludge that passes for in-flight meals, or the option to pay $7 for a “meal box” of chips, pretzels, cookies, candy, three crackers and a rectangle of industrial cheese that resembles a yellow piece of Lego but isn’t as tasty, and it’s five hours to LAX. After Sept. 11, 2001, casually showing up at the airport—often at the last minute, in my case—and easy boarding became distant memories, and since then air travel has degenerated further, so that the simplest flight is a secular version of hell. […]

This is why—for reasons of dignity and personal freedom—more and more Americans are rethinking the air journey and seeking the pleasures of the open road. […]

Not much on Earth can beat the American road trip in travel for a sense of freedom—no pat-down, no passport, no airport muddle, just revving an engine and leaving at will. Though the driverless cars that await us might have their uses in dense city traffic or on tedious L.A. freeways, they will certainly diminish the exuberance of a driver gripping the wheel, flooring it and rejoicing, “Eat my dust.”[…]

The American road trip rekindled my interest in travel and, most of all, reminded me how lucky we are in our country’s spaciousness and modernity. […]

So over the course of 2012-14, in four seasons, I drove tens of thousands of miles, meandering through the back roads of the deep South, listening to the blues on the radio, visiting churches and gun shows and family farms, and writing down people’s stories—of hardship and striving, raising families, struggling in adversity and remembering the past. […]

Nowhere else in the world (though Canada is a contender) is it possible to drive 3,000 miles—the distance from Boston to Los Angeles—and be certain that you will encounter no roadblocks or obstructions; that you will always find a place to stay and somewhere to eat. […]

Though I’ve been driving in the U.S. since I got my license 60 years ago, there is an immense amount of landscape I have yet to see. Driving through the deep South was a wish fulfilled, and so was my trip along the entire 1,900 miles of the Mexican border.

But I still have plans. My Road Trip Wish List includes: driving from Cape Cod to Seattle with many detours. Heading north from Cape Cod and keeping on, past the villages of my ancestors, until I run out of road around Lac Albanel in northern Quebec. Or heading south, as I mean to do soon, crossing La Frontera and taking an extended road trip in Mexico. […]

What made the experience a continuing pleasure was that, in my car, I never knew the finality of a flight, or the ordeal of being wrangled and ordered about at an airport, the stomach-turning gulp of liftoff or the jolt of a train, but only the hum of tires, of telephone poles or trees whipping past, the easy escape, the gradual release of the long road unrolling like a river through America. It is in many respects a Zen experience, scattered with road candy, unavailable to motorists in any other country on Earth.

~ Paul Theroux, excerpts from The Romance of the American Road Trip (WSJ, September 1, 2017). No other travel experience, especially today, can beat the sense of freedom it brings


Photo: Guy Le Querrec (via Mennyfox55)

Saturday Morning

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It’s a season when one gets spread out almost too thin in too many human directions, but come January first I am determined to batten myself down, tighten up, go inward. I feel the day must be marked by a change of rhythm, by some quiet act of self-determination and self-assertion. Everyone earns such a day after the outpourings of Christmas. We are overextended. Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge.

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea: A Journal

 


Photo: Kevin Farris (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

the summer we’re all sharing still has a few breaths left

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From behind me in the heat, beneath a cloudless sky, I hear happy shouts. Treasure every moment you are given; savor every summer’s day. From the time you are a child there is the sanguine suggestion that you will have a supply of those days stretching to the horizon and beyond. The greatest gift of summers, even as they conclude each September, is the winking promise that next year a new one will be rolling around. Waiting for you up ahead.

Labor Day weekend: Soon autumn will arrive, cool days for rekindled ambition, a time for fervent vows and ardent goals, of fresh determination that this may be the season when your ship comes in. But before that, even now, the summer we’re all sharing still has a few breaths left, each with an expiration date. To squander a single one of them would seem a shame.

~ Bob Greene, excerpt from Summer’s Greatest Gift Is That Next Year There Will Be Another


Photo Sand, wind & jazz by Fintlandia (via couvertures de sérénité)

 

 

Summer 2016. Last call?

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Oh, to be here or there…Now.


Notes:

Summertime

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Charles Simic, 78, the Pulitzer Prize winning Serbian-American poet, wrote a piece for The New York Review of Books which was published in July, 2013.  It is titled “Summertime” and is a wonderful collage of short reflections on summer. Here’s a few excerpts:

  • A wind so mild this afternoon it touches our faces as we lie in the shade like little children going to sleep.
  • Are rocking chairs in this country, I’m asking myself, being rocked on summer evenings as much as they once were? Or do they stand abandoned and motionless on dark porches across the land, now that their elderly owners tend to relieve their boredom by sitting in front of their computers?
  • To my great regret, I no longer know how to be lazy, and summer is no fun without sloth. Indolence requires patience—to lie in the sun, for instance, day after day—and I have none left. When I could, it was bliss. I lived liked the old Greeks, who knew nothing of hours, minutes, and seconds.
  • There’s something familial, deeply comforting in the sound of a pig oinking in the peace and slumber of a summer afternoon.
  • For the sweet old couple working side by side in the garden, being ignorant of what goes on in the world has been the secret of their lifelong happiness.

Don’t miss “Summertime” in its entirety here: The New York Review of Books


Notes:

 

 

Summer Flashback

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Source: Julian Stratenschulte via wsj.com. A boy jumps into a swimming pool in Hanover, Germany. 

 

Summer Breeze

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Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune…

Listen to Jason Mraz’s cover of Seals & Crofts’ classic here: 

 


Photo Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

21° F. Winds from NW @ 17 MPH. Today’s Plans?

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Source: Couch day with puppy (via “looking on the bright side“)

 

Eric’s Excellent Adventure

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unnamed

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Photos taken by Eric Kanigan in Iceland on January 4-6, 2016

In Celebration of Modest Christmases Past

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A long time ago in a country far, far away, America had less of everything and holidays were easier and more modest.

Only 50 and 60 years ago, well within human memory, Christmas was a plainer, simpler affair. Everyone—even the rich, but certainly the poor and in-between—had less. Because America had less. You’d get a sweater and socks instead of five toys, or five toys instead of 10. Technology was something that existed at places like NASA. No one’s wish list had a hoverboard, an iPad, or a brightly wrapped drone. There were more big families, whose children understood that even Santa couldn’t cover them all.

You could make gifts. Or you could buy one after saving up, and the recipient could guess the sacrifice involved. And because there were fewer gifts, the one you got made a big impression.

And so a nod to the more modest Christmases of years past. These memories came with a declared or implied, “We didn’t have much, but . . .” And this was said not with resentment or self pity but a kind of pride and wistfulness. […] [Read more…]

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