Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Frequent Travelling Autumn Comes to an End

First of all, for those of you who haven't yet gotten enough of my shopping tips, go here for my latest post on the Living Lutheran site.  I talk about balanced gift giving.  As you might expect, I recommend charitable giving--but I also have recommendations for the people on your list who really want a present to unwrap.

I am now back from my Thanksgiving travels.  But really, I've been travelling a lot since the end of September.  My life seems to be like that now--long periods of less travelling followed by a period where I'm on the go a lot.  If I was truly good at this, I'd be arranging readings along the way.  Yes, let me hold on to that thought.

Here are some notes from an autumn of frequent travels:

--We hear a lot of people going on and on about how there's no longer any manufacturing in the U.S.  But there is.  During the last two months, I've seen lots of factories in action, smoke coming out of the stacks, workers coming and going.  But they're small factories, manufacturing parts or obscure machines or things that I'm not sure what they are.

--I also drove by many independent businesses--but these aren't the businesses that will rescue the economy.  They're already employing as many people as they can.

--Lots of deer processing places, lots of agrarian products (hay, livestock, tools, machinery) for sale.

--Of course, I drove by many a manufacturing site that was shuttered--some for sale!  I immediately thought about what I could do with an old plant.

--If I came to your house, and you served me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and black coffee, I'd wonder what was wrong with you.  But on the road--yummmm.

--it's interesting to watch the billboards change along I 95.  At my end of the state, we've got lots of billboards for alcohol and gambling and luxury cars.  At Jacksonville, the other end, more billboards for lawyers specializing in injury cases than I've ever seen.  All along the way, those anti-abortion billboards that remind us of how abortion stops a beating heart or that a fetus' heart starts beating 18 days after conception.  Those billboards used to have a drawing of a fetus.  Now they have a photo of a cute baby who looks to be at least a year old to me.

--I realized some time ago that travelling on a plane meant I'd finish a book or two, zip, zip.  But lately, time in a car is the only time I have to listen to CDs. 

--When I was at Mepkin Abbey, just days after being at Williamsburg, I had this bizarre moment where I felt like I was existing completely outside of space and time.  Yes, time with the monks can sometimes do that to me anyway.  But this year, the feeling was especially intense.

--What a treat it is to travel in autumn, when the landscape is in such a state of change--each trip a feast for my eyes.

--Months from now, I won't remember my aching back, but I'll remember long conversations with my spouse, who was often my travelling companion.  I'll remember the joys of meeting up with old friends, the thrill of a different landscape.

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