On the way to Live and Learn
We're at the Clarion in Memphis Tennessee today, many, many miles from the house we now own in Johnson City and many, many miles from the home we still own in Pensacola. Between cities is where I sit tonight, not quite sure where I'm from, not quite to our destination.And that's ok. I like the journeys. I like the path between places. The destination always beckons, but it's all the little pitstops you don't know about when you begin, that I adore.
We made one such stop today in search of a letterbox. It was hidden at a lovely bookstore named Lemuria, in J-J-J-Jackson MS (think Kid Rock). It was in a large stone building, with a bubbling fountain and sumptuous bakery. On the second level a gargantuan statue of a hand, holding a book, marked the entrance. It was one of those stores that invites your curiosity to come out and play, that seems to have hidden corners where some mystical, magical book is sure to be hidden. The books are lined all the way to the ceiling, just the kind of place I want to curl up and read for hours on end.
The books had been re-arranged lately, so a kind employee showed us the section we needed to search. Sierra reached her slim arms behind a few shelves and procurred the coveted letterbox. We all plopped down in the corner and happily did the stamp sharing using a makeshift stamp of a meditation stone from my purse. We plan to make a real letterboxing stamp at the conference.Lemuria's atmosphere invited the kids to explore further. Pretty soon they were sprawled across the children's section with a "Guiness Book of World Records 2006" and a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not"...oohing and aaahing while they kept me looking at all the oddities they discovered within the pages. We left with the Guiness Book in a bag. It's provided fodder for conversation all day.
Aaron Jansen is traveling with us from Pensacola...I think Jalen's antics have convinced him to ride home with his Mum! I can't say I blame him. We have three close families from Pensacola that are attending the conference this year. That, combined with the fact that their cousin's are also coming in from Alaska, has my kids incredibly excited to get there.
Trevor was begging me to keep driving tonight, even though everyone else wanted to stop. Seeing the Peabody Ducks in the morning is important enought to stop for. Where else can you see five ducks waddle down a red carpet, in a five star hotel, to swim in the lobby fountain all day? It's a 76 year old tradition!
I thought swimming would exhaust Sierra and Jalen enough to get to sleep earlier, but they're both sitting on the bed behind me singing "Where is Thumbkin?" Trevor is sacked out on the floor and Jared and Aaron are chatting about computer games (I think) on the other bed.
Adventures are not always very comfortable, in fact they're fairly inconvenient and messy much of the time. Cleaning up Jalen's egg mess over and over, dealing with his screaming demands and edgy voice, looking for bathrooms at the darndest times, making five trips down two floors to the van so everyone has the things they need and switching hotel rooms after unloading the van, helping Sierra tighten her dreadlocks after swimming (because they're brand new)....all this is the part that makes travel and having adventures exhausting.
I love it though. And I especially love the fact that after all is said and done, it's the connections and fun we'll remember. All the inconveniences and annoyances will fade into the background. We'll live and we'll learn, just as humans do.