I walked outside without a jacket on today for the first time in a very long time. In front of our building, flowers are suddenly blooming. Even here in the city you could smell the earth waking up. And the light was different – softer somehow. The streets were crowded in the early evening with people tired of winter and relishing the warm air that washed over us today.
It’s not going to last. Not yet. Tomorrow the high will hover around 50 and the rain will return, and next week it might not make it out of the 40’s, but it doesn’t matter. Spring is almost here – you can sense it in the air and feel it in the sun, even when the temperature still calls for a jacket.
I had the urge to get in the car today and drive a very long distance. Warmer weather always makes me dream of road trips, for some reason. And although we did more than our usual share of traveling this winter, it was mostly by plane. Now it’s time to take to the roads, without thinking about the possibility of a winter storm blocking our path. I’m gearing my kids up for our first really long road trip; we’ll be heading West in late April, taking the southern route till we hit Amarillo, Texas (which because of Maya’s Spanish class I now know means “Yellow”, Texas) and then heading north at a leisurely pace till we reach Boulder Colorado. I want to visit the White Sands National Monument and plan to find a bunch of other cool stops along the way. When we return it will be by the northern route, so we will in effect be driving a very large oval.
Whenever I wonder if my kids should be more involved in classes and planned activities, I think about the experience they have when we travel, and I know that nothing can replace it. There is no geography lesson yet devised that can rival driving across the country and seeing things first hand. It is such a luxury to simply get in our car and go, with no worries of checkpoints or borders of any kind for days on end. Anyone who has spent any amount of time pretty much anywhere else in the world can appreciate the wonder and complete sense of freedom found on thousands of miles of open roads. We are so lucky.
Our plans can be specific or general; I’d love to just take off and stop when we feel like it, with no real daily destination, but I’m not sure my kids are ready for that just yet. (At least, one of them isn’t.) So we’ll get out the road atlas and plan our route, and look for interesting or kitschy attractions along the way. Sadly we won’t be far enough north on this trip to visit Wall Drugs – a must if you are crossing South Dakota – but maybe we can find something just as good. Like the world’s largest corn cob. Exciting! (And I mean that sincerely.)
We are sooo ready to welcome Spring after a very long and snowy winter. We can almost taste the warm breezes and feel our skin sighing with relief in the sun. And see the road stretched out in front of us, for as long as we want to drive it.