Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
That age is best which is the first
When youth and blood are warmer
But being spent, the worse, and worst,
Times still exceed the former.
Copyright © 2018
by Ralph F. Couey
They are curious, these feelings that drift through me these days, and it has been a challenge to sort them out. In this transition time between Colorado and Hawai'i, we find ourselves at a church camp situated on the banks of the West River in eastern Maryland. The scene is gentle and tranquil, and genuinely pretty. It is a place where expensive homes stand in splendor along the river's twisting course leading out to the broad reaches of the Atlantic Ocean, the homes overlooking a sizable fleet of equally expensive sailboats. Despite the trappings of the one per centers, it is a place of peace and contemplation.
The first night here during the de rigueur "get to know ya" exercise, I was asked, "where do you live?" Always an easy one to answer, but this time I came up empty.
Denver is officially in our rear view mirror. Honolulu still lies just over a two-week horizon, so in a very real sense, we are sans domicile. Homeless, in other words. We are on the road, but it is a strange feeling to not have a place to call home.
There is a positive aspect to this situation for us. We are out of debt, save a car loan (the object of which is on it's way to the Port of Honolulu), thus our financial situation is as secure as its ever been. Once there, our income will be freed up to accomplish two goals, fill our our rather skinny retirement accounts, and re-establish our emergency fund, three to six months of income. Having sold or donated almost everything we own, we are no longer laden by thousands of pounds of household possessions. What we have left, in a closet in Aurora and a small 4x4 storage unit, is substantially less than a thousand pounds which will be re-located at that as-yet undetermined point in time when we finally decide where to settle down. Our options are freed up now and we can go wherever, whenever, and for however much time we choose.
Time. That's the only wrench in the gears. We are both in our 60's and while our health is good, we both know that will not last. At some point our bodies will become enfeebled to the point where we will have to stop roaming and stay put. That could be sooner or later -- the future being shrouded with nebulous uncertainty. But the knowledge of that certainty drives our motivations for travel. We will, in the timeworn phrase, sow wild oats while we can.
Why we feel this way is something of a mystery. So many others of our peer group are perfectly happy and content to have established roots, a place where they can always be found. Their homes are an expression of their personalities and passions. But they are also a museum, if you will, of their past. There is a sense of permanence which fills the air and echos from the walls. Even when they are absent, their sense of presence remains.
We don't have such a place right now, nor the desire to acquire such. We are oddly okay with that arrangement. Our "home" it seems is on the road, always on the way from somewhere old and bound for somewhere new. We have always been restless, anxious to move on to a point beyond the horizon. We are hooked on the narcotic of adventure; new places, new things. But always in the background, we hear the clock ticking. Time is sifting away, and at some point the hourglass will be empty, and then the last great adventure will begin. We know that time doesn't end here. We will leave our old and broken bodies behind and our spirits will soar gracefully, blissfully, eagerly to a place where there is no pain, no anger or hate, no judgment...only love, acceptance, and peace.
And there, we will finally put down our roots.