I've been traveling. Not huge big time faraway places travel but comfortable, get out of your own ruts kind of travel. First, I spent several days at my sister's home near Mt Lassen in north central California. Laura's home is situated in a small community that sits in the far reaching shadows of Mt Shasta and is down the road from the dormant volcano Mt. Lassen. The homes in the neighborhood are set on large lots with more pine needles on the grounds than grass. It is a quiet, sleepy little neighborhood that smells like the forest.
My sister and her husband Doug are always so welcoming and always so much fun. Laura is employed full time while Doug is retired. Doug and Laura are also living with the side effects of radiation and chemo that Doug received three years ago when cancer raged through his body. It was a horrible year of cancer treatments that left Doug at death's door on more than one occasion but he and Laura were a mighty team with which cancer had to reckon. These days, they are generally living alone as one of their children is married and the other is in college. It was just the three of us when I was there two weeks ago.
The weather in their neck of the woods is relatively mild though they are not far from one of California's hot spots. They live about a forty minute drive from the northern central valley city of Redding. While we were there, the temperature in Redding kicked around 111 to 115 degrees. Yikes! At their home, the temp was closer to 90 and it didn't cool off much at night. These temps are both exciting and uncomfortable for this more coastal dweller. The excitement comes in the novelty but the novelty of intense heat wears off rapidly and I find myself remembering fondly the foggy mornings about which I complain all the time.
We spent some of our time bopping around Redding and the nearby college town of Chico and we spent some of our time enjoying neighborhood walks and relaxing at their comfortable home. They are lively people with lots of interests. I enjoy hanging out with them and I love watching the silly interactions the two of them share. They have delightful senses of humor and I have been known to laugh uncontrollably in their presence. Ask my sister sometime about the time when the electricity went out while we were fooling with the remote controls on the bed!
Visiting at my sister's house is like being at my home away from home. I know where things are, I know she is comfortable when I rustle up my own towel or peanut butter toast, I know our routines when I am there. We have been visiting at each other's homes for nearly 30 years and she never fails to make me feel as if I am the best thing that happened to her that day.
This was the first of my two travel adventures in recent weeks. I drove up there in my little bug Oskar and slipped away from the routines of home and into a different but comfortable setting. I had time to connect with my sister and her husband. Laura and I took long walks and drives and tried, as always, to make sense of our lives. We looked at what is now, what has been in the past, how we are changing, what our hopes and fears are for the future. It is always a thoughtful time with a companion who has been on life's road with me all her life and all but 7 years of my life. This kind of travel takes me out of my comfort zone but is, in fact, comfortable in its own way. On another day, I will tell you about my second travel adventure of the summer.