Sunday, March 6, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Thinking about my upcoming trip has been a welcome relief from some of the ugly weather we've had around here. But now that I'm actually packing my suitcase, making long lists of bill-paying and petcare-arranging and finishing projects for work and confirming reservations and . . . okay, you know . . .now that I'm doing all these tasks and the trip feels very real and imminent, now the weather delivers a few lovely sunrises, some charming spring mornings, March birdsong, and a myriad of plants ready to burst into bloom as soon as I lock the door and close the gate behind me.

At this stage, the week before a trip, I often experience this conflict. To be sure, once we arrive in London, I'll be thrilled to stroll down to the Portrait Gallery or across the Thames to the Tate Modern. A few days later, I'll be racing to get to the Pompidou for the Mondrian exhibit. I will enjoy my good fortune, making the most of time away with my husband in a giant candy box of new cultural possibilities, wonderful culinary offerings, not to mention retail opportunities unparalleled close to home.

But for now, I can't help wonder why we'll be away when those new species tulip finally bloom to reveal their interior colours. How can I bear to miss the flowering red currant, surely all gone to seed by the time we get back in six weeks? Will this be the year the hydrangea petiolaris finally blossoms, and I won't be here to see?

Perhaps this is why I make the lists of before trip to-do's so long -- so that I'm too busy to contemplate the garden and home life I'll be missing between now and May.  Pater's approach is wiser: he isn't wasting time fretting over lists this week nor fretting about missing home while he's gone; what he does instead is savour where he is now -- today, he took the newspapers outside to read in the early March sunshine -- it's only warm if the sun's shining directly on you, but it's a lovely harbinger of what it will be like when we return.

Sadly, I'm not so evolved as Pater, so I'm back to worrying over my lists, although I'll take time for a garden stroll a bit later. Where do you fall on the spectrum? Do you think about home when you're away, or wonder if you should be staying when you're leaving? Or are you out the door with no regrets?

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