Virtues of Travel: Part 10
I knew the cold was coming. This is my 7th winter in Denver, so I could anticipate the arctic air stream dropping just south enough to bring our temperatures to zero, and to dust us with snow and ice and gray skies. It has happened every year I’ve lived here, but usually not until the first weeks of December.
I was thus more than surprised when only the day after I had finished raking leaves and cleaning out rain gutters, the temperature changed from 59 to 28 degrees in an hour. I expected the change, but not with such quickness and furiousity.
Earlier this month, I wrote about the concept and virtue of connection, and our ability as travelers to establish connection by being open to a place and aware of its beauty and nuances. One outcome of connection is the opportunity to enjoy the process of change that happens to a place. The seasonal transformations here in Colorado quickly became one of the many reasons I love the state. So though I don’t loathe the cold, its early arrival challenged me to negotiate the emotions of change.
The change that happens in familiar places and while traveling enables us to engage with a need for flexibility and a willingness to truly go-with-the-flow. It echoes the sentiments of letting go and enjoying the road you’re on, and encourages us to relish in experiencing the diversity and evolution of a place or a time or even a person. We must let go of attachment to the way things once were and then take joy in the way our road unfolds.
Back in Oaxaca, there was an overgrown garden next door to our home-stay. I could look down into the abundance of tall grasses, tangled bushes, and stocks filled with singing and feeding birds. It served as a bit of a natural refuge within the urban life. And then of course one morning I woke-up to the sounds of gardeners clearing it all away, mowing down the grass, and slashing the weeds into neat piles.
I was distraught and unforgiving. Things had changed in a less-than-desirable way. But in just six weeks, the seasons shifted, and that newly created empty lot became a field of spring flowers, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Though different, the natural refuge re-emerged; the change had brought a new enjoyment. Travel teaches us the virtue of change, the confidence that a phoenix does rise from the ashes.