A couple of hours from another departure to a familiar place. As of the moment I have neither a route or a time of arrival in mind. I’ve looked over a map in an attempt to find a new place to see between Chicago and Marion County, only to notice I’ve been on nearly every road of any importance between the two points, not to mention many of road the world would say lacks importance.
There is a joy in going to familiar places and the descriptors for such places are many: family, tribe, reprieve, struggle, community. It is why, though it may lack anything in the way of discovery, a familiar place affords something a new place cannot: recovery. For me the back-roads and the family home is just this. It is a relief from urban weariness and the beat down of day to day obligation.
A small swath of rural Ohio is many things. It is nothing to do, swatting mosquitoes, mowing the lawn, and sorting through my father’s things. It is also ice cream, fireflies, recalling Dad’s memory, long talks, and missing nothing because there is nothing to miss. I think again of my route and realize getting there is not the point; being there is. In this way travel to the familiar is more a pilgrimage than tourism, for a pilgrim always cares more for the endpoint than the points in between here and there.
In reality rural Ohio is no there. One never refers to their home as there. It may not be a here, but neither is it a place removed from everyday thoughts.
So very soon, I will begin a familiar travel. In my own way it will take about seven hours or perhaps a little longer, though it can readily be done in less time were I not inclined to stop, if only to add to the narrative of Marion County. Soon there will be the interstate and rural roads and stretches of time with little on the horizon and little on the radio. But there will be the joyful anticipation of the familiar…..a thing that happens not on a voyage of discovery but from well-worn routes to a place called home.