I am not an easy traveler. Oh I talk about where I want to travel and how I want to get there and what I'd love to see and how long I'd want to stay; often. I dream of seeing faraway landscapes and towering natural skyscrapers that allow us to stand before them in awe and remind ourselves how majestic this world is and how small and insignificant we stand before them.
Others travel where I wish to go, and I see the beautiful places vicariously through their photos and wonder why I don't travel more often.
And here's the truth. I tend to travel more to deep and dark and miraculously mystical places in my mind, in my early morning musings, in my spiritual readings and meditations, than to physical places on a man made map. I've been drawn to the soul maps within; they are my quiet places I long to wander and discover secrets and languages so old and full of mystery, one cannot so easily decipher. But I try.
The other part of the truth for me is..... I'm more hesitant to travel in person, by plane, auto or boat because that unknown causes me much more anxiety than the inner travels I prefer.
What used to happen when I committed to a physical travel adventure, I'd come down with some malady that either caused me to cancel the trip or made me sick while I was in the middle of the trip. On my adventure to Italy with my daughter Leah in 2006, the night before we left, I got a cramp in my neck that stayed with me the entire 10 days we were away. Too bad I remember the pain I was in more than I remember the joys of walking through the duomo in Milano or taking a bus ride into the gorgeous countryside outside Firenze. Stress. Being in the middle of a divorce battle didn't help. But I think more than facing down Mr. Meany in court, I was afraid of leaving home ( my new cozy apartment) and all its familiarity and certainty.
Not long after, I took a trip to meet my sister in Reno for a 10k adventure and came down with strept throat as soon as I arrived. Trips planned then frequently cancelled. The list of physical freak outs before trips away from home endured for about ten years until I decided to trick my mind into looking at physical travel as a buried treasure map.
In my mind I saw a buried treasure map, all aged and yellowed with corners curled. Mountain ranges, desert valleys, rivers curling like snakes along the trails. And there, at some spot marked with a big yellow X, was where I would find my pot of gold.
I told myself my pot of gold was waiting for me on my future trips. It could appear as an interesting person I'd meet, a beautiful vista I'd see, an incredible meal I'd eat, a wrong turn that would become a right turn into an exciting drive along some beautiful spot in nature. The pot of gold was waiting for me to discover it. But only if I bravely and fearlessly ventured out to find it. And to be open to when and where it would present itself.
That's how I became less afraid of physical travel, by creating my own magic map to my pot of gold. It's worked nicely since then.
So on our road trip last week to Susanville in northern California to ride mountain biking trails, here stood my pot of gold in this majestic old oak tree on a quiet street near our B&B. My husband and I were out for an evening stroll after dinner, wandering the local neighborhood before dark.
We turned the corner just as sunset made its way through the autumn leaves of this beauty and deep blue day was surrendering to early night. If you'd seen me, I was kneeling in the dirt before this "pot of gold" worshiping its magnificence and taking a few closeups with my iphone of the sunset performance and the mirroring wonder of that moment.
The bark was the darkest black I'd seen, so maybe it wasn't an oak tree. The contrast in its dark and bright and luminescent shine above was a work of nature art. I'm known as a tree lover. I listen to trees and speak to trees on my frequent walks and rides into nature places. For me this tree represented a happy life being grounded in the earth for sustenance while reaching skyward to share its beauty in reflecting the sun.
As my husband and I both stood there appreciating its glow and grandeur, I moved closer and realized it was one big base, yet spreading out as two.
Celebrating our wedding anniversary on this adventure made this pot of gold a special gift for both of us.
Our enticing, beautiful planet Earth is here for us to wonder, to wander and to be wowed by its richness, our physical connection it it and its sacred specialness. Here we live and here we are sure to know its treasures waiting to be discovered around the corners of our everyday lives.