13 April 2011

An April Pilgrimage

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called England, Chaucer and his lively Canterbury pilgrims viewed April as the ideal month for an excursion.  Here we are, roughly 600 years later, and not too much has changed.  I fall victim, albeit willingly, to that wanderlust every April, as do many of my friends and colleagues.  Is it, as Chaucer claims, the fragrant new blooms, the sweet spring winds, the fond return of our feathered migratory friends? 


Of course, it could also be that glorious week of vacation I like to call Spring Break.  A week off of work + sunshine after a looooong month of rain = well, you get the picture.

In recent years I have spent this coveted week engaged in various leisurely pursuits- camping in the redwoods,

a visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,

a pilgrimage to my beloved alma mater.

Lately, however, due to economics and conflicting household schedules, I have become a fan of the hybrid model: half vacation, half stay-cation.  Three days elsewhere, four days home.  It’s perfect.  My urge to adventure out is satiated and I still have time to putter around the house, attend to some procrastinated projects and chores, and participate in some good old-fashioned lounge time.  Ah, if only I had some bon-bons and a chaise…

This year, I headed north to visit family and friends in rural California. My four hour drive consisted of pastoral vistas, rolling hills, orchards, farms, and fields as far as the eye could see.  Northern California is an agricultural mecca- a fact I didn’t appreciate whilst living there during my years as an incorrigible teen.  Now, even as a beach town aficionado, I can understand the allure of country life.  No where else is the cycle of time more apparent. The seasons change visibly in the country—you can practically watch the sweet alfalfa sprout, see the silver flashes of steelhead trout in the Feather River, and witness the grand unfurling of almond blossoms in the Sacramento valley.  The rituals of spring are celebrated in every rustic nook and cranny, by every creature – great and small.

And me? A glass of wine with my dearest friend, my dad barbecuing ribs, mom admonishing my lack of a sweater—these were my celebrations, my homage to April this year.  Okay, so it wasn’t a pious journey to honor Thomas a’ Becket or a quest for a votive purpose of any sort, but it was sentimental, soothing, and maybe even a little uplifting. I’m sure even Chaucer would agree – it was a trip well worth taking.


Today's Gratitude List:
  • waking up in my own bed
  • projects that keep me busy
  • afternoon naps
  • sea scallops sauteed in butter and garlic
  • the heady perfume of lilacs

1 comment:

  1. I am guilty of the same wanderlust, but here it occurs in June as spring break was one snow storm after another. The drive up north this time of year is truly invigorating.Lucky you! Think about taking a trip to Great Basin National Park and hike up to the bristlecone pines that have been alive since before Jesus walked the earth.


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