Trying to pay more attention


Carrie Classon Contributing columnist

Carrie Classon Contributing columnist


I know I am not the only one having travel fantasies.

My husband, Peter, and I were not planning to do a lot of traveling in the past year. That was our plan, and we certainly made good on it. We didn’t realize at the time that “not a lot of traveling,” would mean a bi-weekly trip to the grocery store. Like a lot of folks, we’ve been tracking how many months we’re getting on a gallon of gas.

Now, however, traveling is sounding better all the time.

My parents are also making travel plans. Over the past year, they decided to sell the little cottage they have in Florida. Instead, they have a list of places they’d like to take their recreational vehicle.

“There are too many other places we want to go!” my mother explained.

A year of sitting in their cabin has made them realize how many places there are to see and how little time there is to see them.

It’s true. A year of sitting and watching the months fly by makes a person realize how quickly the time passes. Sometimes, without the normal milestones, I completely lose track of time. I’ve caught myself glancing out the window with a feeling of panic, looking at the trees to give me a clue what season it is. (I am embarrassed to admit this — but now I have.)

Peter’s oldest sister, Shelley, lost her husband to Alzheimer’s early in the pandemic. She’s now living with her son and daughter-in-law, waiting for a return to something like normal before finding a place of her own. She missed the trip to Norway two years ago, where Peter and a bunch of his older cousins all went to the small town his grandfather emigrated from. We met the Norwegian relatives who still live there, and they were unbelievably welcoming. It’s a sweet town, nestled in the mountains, sitting on a river, miles away from any major city.

“I think we should go back,” I told Peter. “And I think we should bring Shelley.” Peter liked the idea.

So, the next day, we called up Shelley. She had just gotten home from a dental appointment and had a sore mouth.

“Shelley! You are coming with us to Norway in September 2022!”

I held my breath, but I didn’t have to wait long.

“OK!” she said.

And, yes, it is more than a year and a half away, but it still feels wonderful to have a plan to go somewhere other than the grocery store. Just thinking about seeing a new landscape fills me with excitement.

Later in the day, I went for the hike I take every afternoon. It seems as if I’ve seen every tree along the way, noticed every rock, and as I walked, I thought how nice it would be to hike in completely unfamiliar surroundings.

But just as I was thinking this, I stopped and looked at the tree directly in front of me, caught in the afternoon light. I don’t remember ever really looking at it before. It’s a beautiful tree, in a forest of beautiful trees, and I have walked by it thousands of times without giving it a second look.

“You are a beautiful tree,” I told it (just in case it was listening).

Norway will be wonderful, I am sure. And I am sincerely looking forward to more travel in the coming year. But as I stood before that one beautiful tree, I promised myself I would try to pay more attention to the place I am visiting now — right here, today.

Till next time,

Carrie Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.

Carrie Classon Contributing columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/03/web1_Classon-Carrie-mug.jpgCarrie Classon Contributing columnist