It took me a day and a half longer than I planned to pack up the rest of my belongings and load the car. I’d seriously overestimated what would fit. But seven big, heavy boxes worth of stuff to be shipped later, I finally hit the road on Wednesday. Aside from wondering whether the cats would fray my already move-frazzled nerves by meowing the whole time, the only part of this long, solitary roadtrip that caused me any real anxiety was the idea of being swept away by a tornado in Kansas. So there was something darkly humorous about the tornado warnings in western Mass and Connecticut that interrupted the serene music serenading me from the radio as I rolled out of town.
In the midst of everyone’s wishes for a safe journey, the warnings reminded me that none of us is ever really “safe” in the way we crave or imagine ourselves to be. The out-of-the-ordinaryness of this adventure brings into focus all the horrible things that could befall a solitary woman and two cats traveling 3,000 miles in an 18-year-old car. But really, life is as full of horrible possibilities as it is of wonderful ones. And happiness comes – as the smiling Buddha on my dashboard reminds me – from being fully present and awake for all of it.
No actual tornado encounters tested my equanimity that first day of my journey. But then again, I’m not in Kansas yet!