It feels strange to write again. When quarantine started and we were truly “hidden away” from the world, I thought I would find myself pouring words onto pages and posting them every step of the way. But when all predictability evaporates from your life, you cannot expect to be the same person you were. Our trips were all cancelled this year, like they were for millions of people – Montreal, Vancouver, Switzerland, and Banff National Park were on the original roster. Friends’ weddings were postponed; birthdays happened via Zoom. I feel deeply grateful that I was able to get married in 2019.
We’re still healthy, and we’re still here. As life in the city began to open up again, I started to find myself slowly forgetting about the realities of 2020. Not all at once, and not for more than a few moments at a time. I’d be sitting (socially distanced) across from a friend at an outdoor table stationed precariously in a lane of traffic, and I’d stand up for *just a second* without immediately putting on my mask, my mind wandering to an earlier time – I’d realize my mistake in an instant, clasp my hand over my mouth like I’d just screamed out an insult, and snap back into the now. I know that is a weird example, especially for an avid mask-wearer (NY Strong – like everybody should be)! I guess my point here is that the ability to forget for even one second is a beautiful gift. It gives me hope that one day, we can put it behind us for good. It won’t always be inside of us.
We did not get a chance to road trip through Canada this month like we had planned, so instead we chose to explore a little closer to home. We spent just over a week meandering through NY State and staying at Airbnbs, from the Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls. I’m posting at a delay, but it feels good to be posting at all. I didn’t expect to have the gift of traveling anywhere this year, and I still don’t know if my writing will feel the same. Let’s see together.
We set off early in the morning with an espresso-filled mug shaped like a camera lens, courtesy of my mother (slash cat-sitter). The road felt open and easy.
Our first few days would be spent in Hammondsport along Keuka Lake, an area of the Finger Lakes we didn’t explore in the packed mini-bus wine tours of years past. Upon arriving in the area, we wasted no time and quickly settled down onto some bar stools for a flight of beer at the Brewery of Broken Dreams. We felt comfortable sitting indoors for the first time since March only because our table was by itself at the end of a long hallway past the bathrooms. It felt like being in a boozy time-out chair.
Our home for the next few days was a quaint tiny house tucked into a little bit of land on the side of a scantily used road. The lake was just in front and accessed by a set of steep wooden stairs built into the hillside. Behind the house is thick woods, crackling when the wind swirls through.
As we clumsily attempted to start the firepit, I found myself wondering how much one can really “travel” in areas so close to home. Will I ever feel that surge of “away-ness” if I know I am this close to what is familiar? I hope to see fresh layers of newness while I am here. And to think more about why I need that feeling so much.