Most of us invest more time and energy re-playing the past and rehearsing the future than living in the present. On roadtrips, when–at 60+mph– you just want to get somewhere, it’s nearly impossible to Be.Here.Now. (Oh look! Sheep in that field!” “Where?” “Too late.”) Even on the two-lane slower roads we prefer, seems like we’re usually either bracing for what’s around the next bend or glancing in the rearview mirror.
We have a traveling companion, though–the “dogonmylap” named Charlie–who is much more in the habit of living in the moment. Like any dog, ask Charlie what time it is and he doesn’t need to check his iPhone. It’s always “Now.” (“Hmmm. . . this right here is the most eloquent pee-mail I’ve ever sniffed. Don’t rush me, please.”) In his own ways, he reminds us to enjoy the moment at hand (or paw). . . and put aside wondering whether it’ll be raining in Tucson when we arrive on Saturday or worrying about household chores we left undone at home.
Fortunately, our getting-to-Tucson has provided some notable real-time moments. In a week of potentially mundane driving, we’ve enjoyed two good visits with two good nephew-families. Both were well worth slowing down for. We caught ourselves soaking in each visit as if it were our destination. Besides, nothing past or future distracts me from a present dessert platter piled high with strawberries hand-dipped in dark chocolate. And I feel no need to be anywhere but “now” when I roll a 100-pin strike in wii bowling.
Today we moved on. Arnold, Angel’s Camp, Merced, and Fresno are all in the rearview mirror, and we’re anxious to put Bakersfield there too, come morning. Tomorrow it’s Palm Springs for a night, and then our last overnight on the road will be with some Portland friends who winter west of Phoenix. Charlie will no doubt help us be present during these last few hundred miles., and remind us to stop and sniff the. . . um. . . roses.