Pointing the car north.

August 1, 2013 § 13 Comments

In my sister's garden.One whiff and we know the tent is musty.

It hasn’t been out of that olive drab bag since last August when we camped our way north to my sister’s place in Stockbridge, Mass.

And now it is August again, time to air out the tent, then turn North, toward the part of the country that was my childhood home. Time to see the kids who shared that childhood.

My little brother, Chris, is retired now. My sister, Claudia, wishes she were.

The generation that spilled from ours will wander in as their increasingly adult schedules allow. Who can keep straight when everyone will arrive? But once again this year, almost miraculously, everyone will be there.

As if someone has yelled, “Ally ally in free,” we will tumble in the front door of Claudia’s kitchen, hug each other, smile and the rituals will begin.

The Housatonic River.We will make a thousand piece puzzle featuring a landscape with lots of foliage—two if it rains a lot.

Play Bananagrams in the gazebo.

Walk along the Housatonic.

Cook and eat more than is good for us, then complain about how stuffed we are.

We will (and this is a ritual recently instituted) discuss our joints, our difficulty sleeping, our most recent blood work.

Our summer family gathering is a celebration of return. We catch up, we remember, we miss those no longer with us. We will make some new memories, sure, but mostly we will reaffirm our earliest allegiances by telling our shared stories.

Travel, when I was young, was often linear. Off to college, off to a new home in Baltimore, the Keys…  I traveled alone or with my self-made family from Point A to Point B with no thought of going back. Windows down, a breeze whipping my hair, I was headed someplace new and exciting as Point A fell into the past almost unnoticed.

Travel now walks a familiar circle. We leave, at least in part, for the pleasure of coming home again.  We unlock the door. In our absence the house has grown musty. We air it out, this tent we will live in until another August prompts us to walk the circle once again, a migration pattern that always leads back home.

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