Well, my family and I are not "gone fishin'" in the literal sense (not this time). We're "gone fishin'" in the metaphorical sense. We're headed off on a family road trip into a big part of Mother Nature we don't usually get to see these days: the American West. We're going to dwell for a Biblical period of time (about 40 days) in a wilderness of sorts: we'll be sleeping in unfamiliar motel beds and campgrounds in about 15 states around our great nation. I'm taking books to read instead of my laptop, and I'm turning off my cellphone. This, my friends, is for me the modern wilderness, a vacation away from email and the media, enjoying some Blue Highways roots.
I'm not even going to blog. I decided I wanted my head to be with my family on this adventure, not stuck on myself. I didn't want to find myself at some point irritated at my family for interrupting my "creative process;" I didn't want them to have to wait for me while I struggled to upload my deathless blogprose for some amorphous outer world. The heck with that. I'm sending old-fashioned postal postcards to my friends, and other than that, I want to "BE HERE NOW" (thank-you, Babba Ram Dass--there are still a few vestiges of my hippy California college days worth hanging onto, including those three words). I want to get back in touch with my inner Little Women, my inner Scarlett O'Hara, with the kind of people who don't surf the web or check a blogroll every day (not that there's anything wrong with that).
My children are 15 and 10 and eager and excited to go--they will not long stay 15 and 10....My Dreamboat and I are willing and able to hike, climb mountains, and wrangle gear and kids. We will not always be this energetic and capable. These few weeks will be a precious snapshot of and for the four of us, flash-frozen in time to always remember.
And we are the third and fourth generations in our family to make and love these crazy road trips around the nation, gobbling up miles and gasoline in our peculiar, casually adventuresome American way--striding like Paul Bunyan across vast distances. Our grandparents set out on similar journeys back before the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was born, before Route 66 came and went. And it's still the same country, our country, depite the 21st-century surface gloss, and I want to see it again, and show it to my children.
Do kids still hang their bare feet out the car windows in the desert slipstream? Are there still date shakes and Burma Shave and Wall Drug signs? Does an orange soda pop still taste so good after an afternoon's forced hike, and does it still leave an orange mustache on the youngest kid's upper lip?
I'll let you know when we get back.