It is a crazy decision. Almost beyond belief for a girl who knows what she will be doing a year in advance. It is scary. It is amazing. It is life altering.
Suddenly things which had been important – the promotion to senior staff, the new vehicle, the thirty million dollar contract – are meaningless. Gone. Dissipated like a spirit dissolving in the morning light. They are things of the past now.
All because of one decision.
I am sitting in my small Jetta on an unbelievably blue and sunny July morning; the remaining snow on the mountaintops glows brilliant in the sunlit skies. The streets are empty as everyone who has to work is already gone, and everyone who doesn’t is still in bed. My car is filled to the rafters with items which need more care than can be guaranteed in the back of the cargo trailer. It also houses two coolers packed with groceries. I am actually sitting on mile zero of a six thousand kilometer journey. The great unknown looms ahead and I am both excited and yearning to get started. I feel no regret in leaving the place where I had matured from young woman to settled, responsible doyenne. I am as ready as I ever will be to start the next chapter of my life. I am anxious to read on.
My husband, the early riser, wakes and brews the first pot of coffee. I am snuggled inside the blankets and breathe deep the fragrant cool air blowing through the camper and the rich, dark aroma of coffee. Ambrosia in the woods.
Today’s activities aren’t written down anywhere. There is no timetable to adhere to. No meetings to plan, no deadlines to contend with. I don’t even have access to the Internet. The day stretches before me. A blank sheet to be filled with events as they unfold.
The day promises heat even as the night’s coolness still clings to the camp. It is early but the sun is already ferocious and quickly dissipates the morning dew. Maybe I will go for a long walk in the thick shaded woods, and then take a refreshing dip in the inviting waters of my new lake. Or maybe I will just lie in bed and read, and read, and read, and read until my eyes are so blurry they can focus on nothing. I feel like I’ve returned to childhood, where the most important decision was which book I would choose next. I listen to twittering and warbling birds and the soulful call of loons and I feel contented.
We finally found a new home; the deal has been made, but it isn’t available to move into for two months. In the meantime we have our little camper, our nightly ritual of watching stars and planes winking overhead, and poking at the glowing embers of a dying campfire. Two months without any responsibility. I wrap that feeling around myself as if it were the softest blanket in the world.
It’s been four years. Sometimes I search inside, looking for regret or sadness for a life left behind. A life of deadlines and meetings and schedules. I must admit that occasionally there are pangs. And there is a little guilt lurking below the surface, the imprint of thirty years of agendas and timetables, lists and plans, memos and outlines and itineraries.
But now there is freedom. Freedom to fill that blank slate after the fact. Or just the freedom to make another crazy decision.
“Mountain Top” by Adriaan Bloem. Cereative Commons Flicks. Some rights reserved.