Saturday, December 01, 2018

The rituals that ground us before long journeys

Journeys, theirs and mine
Laval, QC
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's 6:46 a.m., and I've decided to take a walk alone through the quiet neighborhood outside my father-in-law's place before my wife and I finish packing the car and set off for home.

It's something of a tradition now, this pensive stroll before a long drive. I always bring my camera along because you never know when you'll want to record what you were feeling at that moment. But it really isn't about the photography. It's about closing one chapter before setting off on the next part of the journey.

Every journey is different, of course, and this particular journey has been a rough one. So today there won't be any easy and clean chapter-endings. We leave here with more questions than answers about my FIL's future, with uncertainty both ahead of and behind us as we begin to make our way home. We're already planning our next trip here, but even then we know the dark clouds will continue to hang over us all.

But life has never been predictable, anyway. And the fact that I CAN do any of this at all - afford to take the time to be here, have kids who can keep their own lives on track despite the roller coaster we've been on of late, have the support of friends who will do anything for us, any time, any place - is something I will never take for granted. The game may not be playing out as we had envisioned. But the fact that we are able to play the game at all is the only thing that should matter.

As that last thought flashes into my mind, I notice a family of ducks quietly making its way across the river channel that carves its way through these small, impossibly lovely islands. I wonder about their journey, as well, and silently wish them safe passage as I tuck the camera into my pocket and head back to my wife.

Because in the end, we're all on some kind of journey, we never quite know what lies ahead, and no one is ever truly alone.

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