The Journey Toward the Creek
Last month, Toby and I had to get out. I’m a homebody; I could stay inside for weeks at a time, reading books and losing myself online. Toby is not–he loves being outside, seeing new faces, and flirting with girls. There’s always something forcing me out of my den: if it’s not work or class or groceries, it’s Toby, whining and pleading for an outing.
So, one Thursday, I packed my purse and picked up my stroller and we went. Out the door and down the stairs. I packed light on purpose–we also planned to ride the bus, and I’ve found that a stroller plus Toby is all I can carry. You see, I have a cool stroller, but mine doesn’t have zebra stripes, thankfully. It folds into thirds and has a long strap on the back that lets me heft it over my shoulder.
We went to go see Mill Creek. I’d seen pictures online months ago, and I’d also taken a bus down State and seen a sign that said “Mill Creek” and had somehow connected the two without checking my source. I was hoping for a quiet stroll alongside a river and a chance for a boy to wander in grass and see some ducks. Nope.
We walked between traffic and the creek, over the Mill Creek bridge and that was it. It was short, maybe a few minutes long. We enjoyed the water from the stone bridge railing and we saw two geese and their goslings taking a slow ramble across a grass yard. I crossed the street and crossed the bridge again, then ran to hop on the bus to get home, driving the stroller right on and folding it up while we took off.
On the bus ride home was a guy with a large pack and a weather-worn look. I found out that he’d just visited all 48 states on foot or bike and was preparing to visit Alaska. He’d also taken notes of his journeys by paper, logged them all onto the Internet, and then thrown the notes away and started a new set of notes; now all he had to do was sit down and write the book.
I was fascinated. My head was reeling with questions, but the one that came out was this:
“From your travels, would you say that Americans are all generally good people?”
He answered in the affirmative, and then got off the bus. The only other detail I got from him was that he was doing this for a soldier’s mom. He didn’t tell me whether the Iraq/Afghanistan soldier is dead or alive or how he knew the guy. He didn’t tell me where he was from or whether he posted his notes on a blog. But I want to read the book, if only because I can say I’ve met the guy in person. (If anyone reading this sees the book I might be referring to, will you please let me know?)
I wished I’d given him my Email address because he’d given me something: a reminder. The thought that, sometimes, the trip is just for the sake of going. You may have a destination in mind, but it’s really the trip that matters.