The journey

I write this final post of The Slice of Life Story Challenge from the passenger seat of my son’s car as we return home from an impromptu vacation.

This weekend’s weather forecast: Sunny skies, upper seventies—how could spring fever NOT strike?

“Let’s go to Busch Gardens,” said my son. “It would be good to get away and just have fun for a while.”

He didn’t have to say it twice.

Off to Williamsburg we went.

The area is home to me. I grew up going to this park, am still a diehard roller coaster fan. I expected just to have fun spending time with my youngest in the glorious, inviting weather.

—While trying to think of TWO MORE POSTS to write in this thirty-one day challenge.

We arrived Friday evening and decided to walk colonial Williamsburg in the dark. Mostly because we never have before, so why not?

Naturally one thinks of ghosts. In fact, several ghost tours seemed to be in progress. Guides carried lanterns, told stories in hushed tones to huddled groups of tourists. Once or twice, as my son and I passed the little closed shops with their wordless, pictorial trade signs hanging out front, or little wooden gates slightly ajar, with paths leading through herb and flower gardens, or caught a pretty strong whiff of horse and stable in spots, it seemed we were eerily straddling Time. One foot in Now, the other in centuries past. A shivery, delicious feeling.

And those lanterns carried by the guides—Reminds me of Pa-Pa’s lantern. I just wrote about it.

Eventually my boy and I checked into our hotel room where the decor was, of course, in keeping with the colonial theme. On the wall by my bed hung this picture:

—The Continental Army! I have just been writing about them.

I felt a slight prickling on the back of my neck, but I didn’t pay it much mind. I crawled into the high colonial bed and typed the whole of yesterday’s post—on memory and being present in now and writing and my father—on my phone, before falling fast asleep.

I woke this morning to a day tailor-made for adventure, exploring, celebrating. As beautiful as a day can get. My son and I made our roller coaster circuit at the park, where flowers were riotous beds of color by the walkways and the sweet fragrance of fresh mulch stirred in me, as always, some nameless desire. I do not know what or why. Something so organic, clean, nurturing . . . .

My son asked at lunch: “What are you going to write after this March post challenge is over?”

I told him my ideas, many ideas. He listened with rapt attention.

“Do it, Mom. Do all of it.”

We finished our lunch, began another round of rides, when I caught sight of this:

“I JUST WROTE ABOUT SEEING AN EAGLE!” I exclaimed.

Passersby looked at me oddly.

My son laughed. “I know. The one by the road that flew away before you could get a picture. Well—now you can.”

There’s something in all this, I think, as I get my eagle photo. I don’t know what, but something.

We leave the park with one last stop to make.

My son wants to visit his grandparents’ graves.

Both sides are buried in the same veterans’ cemetery. We spend a few moments at each.

The last, my father.

Wrote about you last night, Daddy. Remember when I broke my arm in fourth grade and you brought my old doll to the orthopedist’s office? I could see it all like it just happened yesterday.

It occurs to me then that I’ve also just written about my house finches returning, generation after generation, to build their nest again on my front door wreath, a post I called “The Homecoming.” Like the finches, the next generation and I have just returned to the place where those before us carved out and sustained life. Where they now rest from all their labors.

—The baby finches, I should add, that my son and I named Brian, Dennis, and Carl after the Beach Boys, my musical son’s current passion. On this trip we’ve listened to their songs all the way up and all the way back, and as I write these very words, what should be playing in the background but “Sloop John B”:

Let me go home, let me go home
I want to go home, let me go home

“You know,” I say to my son, as daylight fades into night with just a few more miles until we really are at home, “this was a great tripI am almost finished with the last post and can’t help thinking how these two days were like some weird recap of all I’ve written this month.  Almost like that old, old, TV show, This Is Your Life—except that it would be called This Is Your Writing Life.” 

“That’s how life is, Mom. So weird, sometimes.”

“Well, that’s basically why I write in the first place. To interpret life.”

I think for a moment, then add: “And because I am deeply grateful for it.”

—We are home. I need to check on Brian, Dennis, and Carl before going to bed:

—All snug. Goodnight, little songbirds. 

They will be here so short a time; soon they’ll fly—OH!

I failed to mention that I got a “Happy Blog Anniversary” notification from WordPress that thanked me for “flying with them.”

Lit Bits and Pieces is three years old.

Three happens to be a number signifying completeness. Interesting to contemplate as the daily Slice of Life Story Challenge ends with this post.

I think of my fellow Slice bloggers, friends, fellow sojourners, how we all gathered at Two Writing Teachers for just a little while each day.

Now we fly on.

But that’s only the end of this journey. The end of a thing is only the beginning of another.

—Write on, writers. Keep tasting life, exploring the meaning of your days.

Keep spreading your wings.

Fly high.

And far.

38 thoughts on “The journey

  1. Oh Fran! This is so you… to be able to wrap everything up so beautifully. I picked up on how your son is so proud of you. He knows your writing and encourages you. I loved reading about this trip and all the connections to the stories you’ve shared this month. A beautiful recap.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful reflection on writing, slicing, parenting and living…all a part of some journey that, as you seem to capture in almost every line, is somehow intertwined. Thank you (she says, flying away)

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  3. Look at you, weaving the threads of the month into a beautiful tapestry. I’ve missed reading your writing this month, Fran! Somehow I just haven’t been able to carve out enough time to visit all the blogs I love. This post reminds me what I most love about your writing–the sheer eloquence and the wonderful ability to pull all the pieces together into a magnificent whole. Congratulations on completing the month!

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    • I am always happy to hear a word from you – and I, too, could not get everywhere I wanted in this challenge (one has to stop and sleep at some point!!). Deepest thanks and congratulations to you as well, my friend. 🙂

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    • Thank YOU, Lanny, for these words. for your time, for being so dedicated to this community. I wrote this to Kathleen also, on this venue that you all provide at TWT: It’s vitally important work – not just on a professional level, but for life. My growth because of it has been immense, partly as a writer but more so in connecting with other writers. I am ever-grateful to you all.

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  4. Fran,
    You do such a beautiful job here of tying together all of your blogs. I love the fact that your son is on this journey with you and encouraging you to write. you can almost hear the pride in his voice as he listens with rapt attention, asks about your writing, and tells you to “do all of it.” What a resounding endorsement!
    I also picture you going together to visit your father’s grave Such a natural and healthy way to show your dad respect and instill the connection to his grandfather in your son, especially bringing your son closer by writing and sharing stories about your dad. How special that you have family on both sides all buried in the same historic place. I become further woven into the threads of history when I read your posts You bring historic moments alive for me the same way you undoubtedly do for your students.
    Congratulations on your three years of blogging. What you said about the completeness in three rings true. Look at the shamrock for example! St. Patrick even used it to help people understand the trinity, three in one

    Your three years of blogging are a gift to all of us reading you, and looking forward to what you will share next. I am in your son’s camp. Write all of it, and I hope I will have the opportunity to continue to read your slices on life, that fill the page with insight, inspiration and a model of what the exquisite use of language looks like.
    As a first time blogger, you were my greatest inspiration.
    Bravo, Fran! Thank you!

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    • Colleen: I do not even have words enough to thank you for yours, here. I almost didn’t take the challenge this year, knowing that sometimes it’s terribly hard to maintain the stamina, both with ideas and thoughtfully responding to others. But I decided I NEEDED to do it – and immediately landed in your inviting emerald island of joy. I was just celebrating the confirmation of my Irish roots and lo – came Irish Daybreak! 🙂 The shamrock – yes, that wasn’t lost on my when thinking of the symbolism of three.

      I have loved your writing, your passion for leprechauns, your love of the children, your nurturing, ebullient spirit. You’ve added another layer of warmth and light to my world. I am grateful. That I inspired you so – that leaves me in awe.

      AND KEEP BLOGGING-! The world needs more of your heart! 🙂

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  5. How awesome to have your son as your writing cheerleader. You write to interpret life and because you are grateful for it – powerful reasons to write. Happy Blogversary!

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  6. Totally agree with Irish Day Break above my comment and your son- KEEP WRITING. Your words are always a gift, as is your perspective. I’m sorry I didn’t get to your blog more often this month but I hope to stop by and read the different entries. Thank you for being you and for being here with us

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    • Oh, Kathleen -! I always sense your encouragement and support, even if a bit of time goes by. You’ve so many others who will also benefit from your extraordinary warmth and insightful support. YOU are a gift, always. Do not forget it! Thank you with all my heart for every encouraging word, ever, and for being one of the “spear-headers” throwing the door wide open for so many teachers to write. It’s vitally important work – not just on a professional level, but for life. Joy always. 🙂

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  7. This is such a beautiful post wrapping up all the words and thoughts you shared with this writing community. Our eyes are open wide to take in so much more with this challenge.
    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words with me and us this month. You leave this writing looking at things in new ways!

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  8. Thanks for taking us with you to Williamsburg, and into your thoughts and reflections. Your son sounds like such a supportive cheerleader as well as just plain fun to be around. I’m sad to see this month end. I hope you will keep going each week. I’ll be looking for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re always such an encouragement to me, Margaret; I am so grateful. Yes, my son’s interest makes me think my writing ideas are viable and worth pursuing; he is a rare young listener. What a run this month has been! I am tired – but filled with joy. See you on Tuesdays. 🙂

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  9. Kismet, indeed, your SOLSC wrapped up nicely in the neat little package of this vacation. Son, birds, father, memories, ghosts…even the lantern. It’s been a pleasure, Fran! See you on Tuesdays.

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  10. Fantastic read! Thanks for sharing!

    Some would think how serendipitous your moments were the other day. I’d say it takes quite the observer, analyzer, writer to notice and make these connections and to weave it all masterfully in this delightful piece. Kudos!

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    • Thanks so much – I’ve learned that if we follow threads far enough, long enough, all things are connected, somehow. Part of the great pull of writing for me is seeing this crystallize. 🙂

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