Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Mothers worry.

At sunset on Saturday I was westbound on Wisconsin Highway 23, nearing the end of long day’s drive to Mo’s mother’s house in Ripon. Mo’s brother Cory had been in the passenger seat of my rented 10-foot moving truck since Chicago. As we hit the town limits of Rosendale, he cautioned, “Watch your speed through here. Mom tells me the cops are pretty picky.”

That reminded him to call Lyn and tell her that we were getting close.

“Hi, Mom! It’s Cory.”

A pause.

“We’re in Rosendale.”

Another pause. I could almost hear Lyn’s voice in his phone.

Then turning to me, with a knowing smile, “Mom says ‘Go slow through Rosendale!’”

My mom worries, too, and with good reason, I suppose. I’m her only child, and I’m going a long way from home. In a recent email she wrote, “I know you don't worry about anything happening to you or Mo, but it does cross all our minds. I am really not fretting about it, but I pray for your safety daily.”

I hate to think of people worrying more about me when I’m traveling. That’s one of the hardest parts of leaving. Those prayers mean a lot to me, though. There’s power in them. I believe there is power in the formation of every positive thought, and I’m glad to have some traveling with me.

Mom’s wrong about something, too, though. I do worry Mo and me. Maybe not as much as I should, but I do worry. I worry about her being in Japan by herself right now, and I worry about me going to China. But I also worried about us in Cleveland.

Life is such a tenuous thing. There are countless ways to die each day. The thing is, we're never free from all of those, even if we lock ourselves in our houses and never come outside. When Mo was living in Cleveland and commuting to work everyday, I would worry about her each time I heard of an accident on the radio traffic reports. I worry about her every time she flies and now as she travels about Japan. I worry about myself, too, and every now and then I remember there are no guarantees as I speed down I-90 at 65 mph.

This weekend, I drove a 10-foot moving truck over 500 miles on Saturday, the first 2/3s by myself, on busy highways at 60-70 mph. I did so on 3 hours of sleep. I made several stops, including one to take a nap, but it was still a pretty dangerous thing to do. It's quite possible that I was in more danger of being in a fatal accident on Saturday than I will be at any point during my time in Asia. That doesn't mean something can't happen in Asia – a million things could, but just as many could happen right here in Ohio and West Virginia. I’ve lost count of all the solo, late-night drives back to Cleveland I've made after a weekend in search of trains in Appalachia, flying down a dark highway at 75, 1:00 in the morning, searching for something on the radio to keep me awake, the white lines blurry through the windshield in my sleepy eyes. That's an incredible risk every time I do it and I always hate myself for taking it and say I won't do it again. At least in Asia, without a car, that’s one risk I won’t be taking for a long time.
I’ve shot some good photos by staying out in that golden, late evening light, rather than getting an earlier start for home. Were they worth the risk, though? Probably not, and yet I’ve persisted. Even if the photos weren’t worth it to me, just being there was. I’d much rather be there without the risk, but living and working in Cleveland made that impossible. So I took the risks in order to be there. Risks are part of what make life worth living. What I'm about to do is trade known risks for unknown risks, and that's always a little scary. But I really don't think that, where my life is concerned, what I’ll be doing in the next year or two is going to be any riskier than just driving to work every day and making those weekend trips. Even if it is, I'm excited to discover so much I don’t know, and that's worth the risk to me.


Trula said...

Yes, You will always be your mother's baby!

Kira D. said...

"You miss %100 of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky