Sunday, June 1, 2008

One of These Things is Not Like the Other...

The word of the day is:
peregrinate |ˈperigrəˌnāt|
verb [ intrans. ] archaic or humorous
travel or wander around from place to place.
peregrination |ˌperigrəˈnā sh ən| |ˈpɛrəgrəˈneɪʃən| noun
peregrinator |-ˌnātər| |ˈpɛrəgrəˈneɪdər| noun
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Latin peregrinat- ‘traveled abroad,’ from the verb peregrinari, from peregrinus ‘foreign, traveling.’

We are peregrinators! Peregrination is what we are doing. Traveling from place to place. Wandering. I like the word wander better than travel. From now on I’m calling it that. Wandering is better than traveling, which in itself is better than being a tourist. I’ve been told that by old travelers, that being a traveler is better than being a tourist. I wonder if they knew about the wandering thing but didn’t think I was ready?

Since my last entry we arrived in and left Las Vegas. I won’t say much about what we did, because “What happens in Vegas, blah, blah, blah,...” It’s some kind of rule. Who am I to break it? I did teach a yoga class there, Bikram yoga is hot in Vegas (Tee hee! Hot, get it?Hot? Oh never mind). They like having visiting teachers at the studio. It was a good class. I didn’t do so well in my practice though because I was operating on 4 hours of sleep. I’ll let Jimmy explain that one. He may also adhere to the above rule though so don’t count on much information.

What strikes me about leaving Las Vegas today, as I sit in a quiet room in Odgen Utah on a peaceful street in Old Town near Union Station, is the contrasts. We stayed at the MGM Grand in Vegas and had a view of the strip. When I went downstairs to get coffee at 8:30 this morning there were girls in club wear still coming in from the night. The noise is never ending, it’s never dark or quiet or peaceful or still. It is so big you could lose yourself there. I know many people have. I never stay long enough to lose myself. That is likely why some people go though, so they don’t have to hear the quiet any more and know themselves in it. I take Vegas for what it is, a quick party stop. Since I don’t party much, I don’t last long there. Three nights was enough. With the best of intentions I didn’t write a word the entire time we were there, or take a single photograph come to think of it. Something about Las Vegas is not conducive to inner reflection. I don’t dislike Vegas, but I don’t really care much for it either. I’m glad Jimmy got to see it, if you haven’t ever been to Las Vegas it is a stop not to be missed. I’m also glad it’s checked off the list because I could easily not go again for many years, or, ever. There are so many places to see in the world.

We drove straight out of there this morning into some of the prettiest, quietest country I’ve seen. We drove miles sometimes without seeing another car and could stand and look at the beautiful scenery without hearing anyone’s voice. Mountains and valleys and big, big skies. Trees for miles and a strong landscape made of bedrock that sometimes would make a stand by the roadside, shoved up from the ground, just you know what you’re standing on. We ate a late lunch/early dinner at Ashelle’s Family Diner in Beaver Utah. Comfort food, my mom would call it. An Alarm went off at the business across the street and the whole place was abuzz with excitement over the sheriff coming. Quiet was just another contrast to the place we had just come from. In Vegas nobody even looks up from the paper if an alarm goes off. It’s just another loud noise in a sea of loud noises.

As we settle to one of our many hotel rooms tonight there are some constants that don’t contrast at all and show up in each room so no matter where I wake up I know where I am:

The sound of Jimmy typing as I drift off to sleep
My pink Nalgene water bottle next to the bed
A picture of my son in a journal I carry
My iPod playing Patti Griffin songs to calm me after a long day
Jimmy’s guitar by the bed, ready for my lullaby
My toothbrush and night guard - I know, but that's how I settle in to sleep...

These small things make me feel at home in every strange place we sleep and I find myself wondering if, by the time we arrive in Argentina, settling in to a new country might not be a breeze compared to our whirlwind tour of North America. Maybe I’m just a gypsy at heart. After all, I am my mother’s daughter and she never stayed in one place very long....

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