Monday, November 28, 2016

The Restfulness of Road Trips

Tomorrow I leave on a road trip with my nephew Terry and his son Zach, driving 13 hours from Denver to Dallas for a "Thanksmas" reunion of one branch of the extended Mills family clan. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with loved ones I haven't seen for a year, as well as engaging in hokey, happy family fun. As we did last year, we'll observe Thanksgiving on Thursday and Christmas on Saturday; on Friday we'll have a huge shopping trip to the poshest mall in Dallas (the Galeria), where we will ask total strangers to award prizes for our loud, proud Christmas sweaters.

It will be bliss when we get there, but tomorrow's long drive will be blissful in its own right: a day on which there is absolutely nothing I have to do except for drive, drive, drive, Actually, since Terry loves to drive and plans to do all of the driving, there is nothing I have to do except for ride, ride, ride. 

We'll leave a 4 a.m. - ooh! That is part of the fun of a road trip, to depart in the pre-dawn darkness.

We'll have snacks for the car - ooh! And rest stops along the way - ooh! 

We'll listen to music, and chat, and gaze out the window, recalling Emily Dickinson's lines about a different form of transportation, the railway: "I like to see it lap the Miles/ and lick the Valleys up..." But mostly we'll do nothing except move through 800 miles of landscape. 

Today my pre-trip to-do list has 29 items on it (admittedly most of them are teensy-weensy ones such as "send get-well card" and "put more cat food in the cat food jar"). Tomorrow it will have just one.

Many years ago we had a family raft trip on the Green River in Utah, with professional guides to row us on our way. On the second or third morning, I asked one of the guides what we'd be doing that day. She looked at me with mild astonishment that I needed to ask the question: "Why, go downstream," she said. That was another day with only one item on the to-do list.

Don't get me wrong. I ADORE making to-do lists for every month, every day, sometimes even for the coming hour. But once in a while, it's sweet to have a day with only one item on it, one I won't even bother to cross off with a bold red mark at the end of the day because for once, the list matters so little. 



  1. The poshest mall in Dallas is Northpark! It's too fancy for me; I feel like an imposter there. When it opened in the 1960s it was the largest air conditioned enclosure in the world, and it still retains that old wealth feel. They even have trained ducks that waddle to the fountains in the morning and back again at night. If you've been to the Galleria before, I definitely recommend going to Northpark once.

  2. If the Galleria is only the second poshest mall in Dallas, Dallas is a pretty posh place! I'll mention Northpark to my hosts and see what they say. The fun is the contrast between the tackiness of us in our "ugly" Christmas sweaters and the elegance of the venue where we parade.

  3. Then Northpark is definitely the place to be; it's like a fancy art museum inside. Dallas used to be really well known for all its malls, but then two closed in the last couple of decades. Even the Galleria isn't thriving like it used to, but Northpark recently expanded and looks as posh as ever. Have fun in my old home town!

    1. I will ask my hosts what they think about the mall choice! Galleria may be closer? They live in Forney. I'm here now - Texas is soooooo big!!!!! It was a loooooog drive! But tons of fun.