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" … we're leaving with the destination unknown, but only because it's properly unknowable now."

I'm up early this morning, plotting the course for the start of the return trip. I learned on the way up that The Muse had planned for a two day run back home, which took me by surprise. I'd thought we'd tuck down our heads and drive the seven hundred miles in a single day, but she insists upon toodling back like we toodled up, and I'm more than agreeable. I texted the cat sitter to please put out the garbage on Tuesday morning before setting about considering how we might spend that extra day. Distances seem so vast here that we tend to stay within the same narrow escape and reentry paths, struggling to justify the additional hours any alternate might demand, but with a whole extra day to play with, plenty of choices emerge. Too many choices emerge.

If the purpose of plotting is to pre-determine how we'll go, I'm not really plotting at all.
Maybe I'm scenario-ing, trying on different paths to see how well they might fit. The Muse and I could be famous for our flexibility once we hit the road, but only if word got out. Even we don't know exactly which route we'll end up following. We have decided in the past while turning around in the driveway, despite considerable plotting beforehand. We can never know which spirit might visit us on the way out the door, so we never really know beforehand. Given that there are always nearly an infinite number of possible paths from which to choose, we never really could know beforehand.

We enter deep contingency whenever we hit the road. I might have carefully calculated travel time without consulting The Muse on what she's quietly considering. The two sometimes divergent plottings often first encounter each other once we're securely buckled in and backing out the driveway. "Oh, I thought … " might be the most commonly overheard phrase as we depart, which leaves our initial trajectory essentially equivalent to a whim for at least one of us. We quickly negotiate to agreeable terms when we simply must choose between a left or a right turn. Once committed, we've already entered the unknowable.

I imagine that I remember a particularly enchanting encounter with the West River greasy grass, wind rippling through virgin prairie on a sunny afternoon. Of course I want to see that again and my plotting reflects that desire. I possess nothing but my memory and my imagination to guide my preferences, maps merely serving as constraining boundaries. I remember slipping between two distant points in no time because that particular passage we took so very long ago seemed at the time to take place out of time. I cannot know beforehand whether Kronos, the god of time, or Karios, the god of timelessness, will prevail today. Time remembers at every possible scale. A moment might remember as a vast eternity and a lifetime as hardly a moment, depending. Depending upon what, we do not know. We can, it seems to me, only go and find out.

I counsel myself to remember that we do not embark on a trip back, but on an adventure into wholly unplottable space. We can choose and then choose again. I always imprint upon some imaginal arrival time and judge our progress against that. The new car encourages this behavior by continuously recalculating arrival time. It's never once been right yet. I might be dedicated to disappointing myself for we only rarely ever arrive early relative to that projected time, and late carries the cache of failure. In fact, there is no success or failure when adventuring, only surprise. Whether that surprise disappoints or delights remains mostly under my control. The plotting might serve as my mental fidget spinner, filling time before it's finally time to go. I'll have to let you know where we end up this evening for we're leaving with the destination unknown, but only because it's properly unknowable now.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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