Detours

Eighteen years ago, my wonderful husband and I took a honeymoon trip to England and Wales. We got married in February and the trip was scheduled in June, so we had a few months to prepare. I found all the resources I could to help me- books, mainly, and a few travel videos. I took them out of the library because the internet wasn’t a big thing yet.The time finally came for our big adventure which would consist of a week traveling around the west of England and Wales, followed by a week in London. I had reserved campsites where I could, and he knew of a cool bed and breakfast in London he had stayed at before (finding it and reserving the room for the following week was its own adventure, but it worked out). We packed lightly, each taking with us one backpack with bare necessities, and we shared a duffle bag containing a tent and an extra blanket. 

One day, following our tight schedule driving from one location to another, we encountered a road closure with a detour. We had no choice but to go off of our path and take the road presented to us. We ended up in an adorable little postcard of a town called Castle Combe. We walked along the river, around the old church, and discovered the oldest working faceless clock in England. My husband, a clock and metalworking enthusiast, was ecstatic about that. We sat and wrote postcards to friends and family back home, and posted them from the quaint little post office. It was idyllic, and unexpected, and we would never have gone there had it not been for that detour.

The entire trip was magical, and I think that it is in large part due to us being reasonably prepared ahead of time and then just letting go, not rigidly adhering to the plan. On one of the nights when I had not been able to get us a reservation, we had one of our most glorious adventures ever. It was the night of the Summer Solstice so it stayed light very late. We were traveling through the Brecons in Wales, and were planning to visit Hay on Wye the next morning to go book shopping. Driving along, we spotted a farmer’s field with a sign heralding “Camping 2 Lb.” SOLD, we spent that night next to a stream, our hard cider and ale cooling in it as we decided to scope out the little town of bookstores we were going to hit in the morning. All the stores were closed and the town deserted, but we found a courtyard full of unwanted books on tables and shelves. There was a metal “honour system” canister on the wall for the ridiculously cheap amount they wanted for those books. We perused that place until the sun finally got too low for us to see, which was really late that midsummer night. In twilight we headed back to our camp, our cold cider and ale, and our honeymoon time together.

I try to follow that philosophy in life all the time. I am pretty successful with that practice, but not perfect.  I am a human after all, and we humans like the illusion of control. I seek to be as prepared for anything as I can be, then just relax and go with the flow. This is an especially important skill to have in dealing with children, even the ones who don’t stay.

Some journeys we would never ask to go on, would never choose. Grief is one of those journeys. A few months after our magical trip my husband and I lost our first child together. It’s interesting because on that vacation we had a mystical experience with a rabbit while visiting an ancient burial mound near Avebury. While walking up the muddy path, wheat fields on either side, one with a crop circle I might add, a young rabbit hopped out and literally led us up the path. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. It waited by the gate as we went into the excavated mound, crawling into one of the spaces to hold hands, meditate together, and honor those who had rested in that place. When we emerged, the rabbit was still there, and it led us back down the path. A year later we would walk another path together, the hardest that a couple can endure. This path led us down into the depths of the burial mound again, from which we eventually emerged changed people. We have had other experiences with ‘magic’ rabbits since then. Our Jake was due in the year of the rabbit, and he sends them as one of his signs.  It was and still is devastating, even after seventeen years, but it has been an integral part of my growth, and of my being who I am in the world. Sometimes it takes years before you can see that the detour life gave you was the right path all along.

Now I am at another crossroads, my body forcing me to let go of the career that has been my path for over 25 years. I am hurt and angry, but trying to embrace the truth that this new adventure I am crafting with Karen is actually the thing I have been preparing for my whole life. All the things I have passionately loved come together in one place, and I am blessed, and thankful, and excited. We have prepared as best we can, and now it’s time to let go and fly…

Hold each other in Divine Love, and soar...
Ann