I remember the first time I touched snow and looked at the great pine trees towering above me cloaked in a glittering blanket of diamond cut ice and snow. “It looks just like the pictures, just like all the books said it would,” I gasped, “All the fairy stories are true,” Everything I read and looked at in sketches and pictures came alive before my eyes, more real and more bright than anything I had imagined. It was as if Aragon was taking the Fellowship right up the mountain and I was there too. It took the words I had read on a page and pasted them all around the world around me.
This morning I drove through a small neighborhood in eastern Washington full of swooping purple and pink blooming trees and pine trees and the sun floating through the limbs. The dew on the grass bounced light straight up to the pink and purple flowers that fell lightly from the trees in the morning breeze. It was just like a sketch I had seen when I was younger. A path cut its way through blooming trees. The artist sketched the flowers with sharp magical strokes that blended into one mix of lines that left me feeling mesmerized by the peace of the moment. The tree trunks were bold black and the sunlight was the warm off white of paper slicing through blurred pencil strokes and smudges. I left the picture imagining the peace of an early morning with nothing going on besides perhaps an errand that didn’t weigh too much on the heart. I could see a gentleman in work boot taking his time walking down the road to pick up a tool or off to fix the fence. No rush except the bright sun and the cool air.
This morning I drove down the reality of that path letting the cool breeze stroke my hair as I drove unhurriedly to an appointment I would be early to. I knew I was driving through someone elses piece of art. I hadn’t been here before and getting here just reminded me that I wanted to be here almost as much as I wanted this to be home. That is what traveling is all about isn’t it? Finding home wherever you, finding the familiar in the fantasy. Walking into the story books you read and finding them as real as the mundane life you have back home. You find that the fantasy of the bizarre in that moment is just as mundane as your reality, and back home the mundane reality is as much a fantasy as the world you explored. Because when you get back home you realize someone from a far off place drew a sketch of that place too, and there is some story about the beaches you walk and they are peaceful to walk as the forests on the other side of the world.