I've said goodnight to my two grandsons for the last time on this trip, and I'm facing the fact that I have to leave this place tomorrow to head back to NYC. After 8 weeks on the road all over the USA, I settled in at my son's home here just outside of Austin on the shores of Lake Travis, and I've gotten really comfortable being with my family (and vice versa) over the past two weeks.
It won't be a straight run back to NY, as I'm going through the south (along the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern seaboard), and I've got to get back into "road mode" and enjoy the rest of this trip. Of course, I don't love the south like I do the western states, and I'm dreading the colder weather after basking in the sunshine for so long with the top down. But the south has its charm, and it's not New York. I look forward to breakfasts at Waffle House, where the first question from the waitress is "Y'all need an ash tray?". Not just about the smoke, but what the lack of that legislation indicates about courtesy, consideration, and preservation of individual freedom.
I attended a concert by my son JP's choir today, and they closed with a composition called Untraveled Worlds, based on a poem entitled Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson, which reminded me of why I went on this trip (talking about it in the past tense already - hey, not so soon!), and why I wanna keep on traveling (beyond the US borders in the future).
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
And not to yield!