Wednesday, November 4, 2015

transitions and travel

I'm on a week-long trip, visiting a colleague and friend of mine.  In the swirl of everything that's happening on this visit (lots and lots of good math conversations, catching up on family stuff, more good meals than I ought to be eating), what strikes me is how much of what takes my energy and thought is what happens in the corners, not in the core, of this visit.

That is, it's not the swirl of math/friends/food/talks that makes me go lie down and recover my brain juice; it's the transitions.  Things like packing.

My friend has a beautiful house, overlooking a gorgeous set of woods. Here is the view looking away from her back deck . . .
. . . and looking back to her house.

But we've spent at least an hour each day with views that look like this.

Uff.  I'm not used to daily commuting, and all this time back and forth in a car is wigging me out just a little.  My friend even drove her daughter to her trick-or-treating night.  

It's making me re-appreciate how nice it is to live in a place that -- even though there's no cedar grove outside my back door, there are neighbors and bike-friendly roads and play grounds and things to walk to.  

But I am doing my best to appreciate the views that I can't get at home, because I don't want to let the corners take over the middle of my experience.  So I retreat from the transitions and look out the back porch and listen to the coyotes yowl.   And then I come in and we do math.  It's good to be here for a while.


  1. De-lurking to say yess!! and uggghhh to the commute!! so true!

    In the city where I went to high school, there are so many beautiful beautiful homes, especially ones up in hills. But what do people do much of the time? drive themselves to their high-tech jobs. And drive to school and down town. And drive to each others houses because its too far to walk. Even around the higher-density areas, two adjacent buildings can be a 15 minute walk apart.

    The houses and surroundings are beautiful, but such a huge upkeep and so inefficient. I live in the city , which is also expensive but for different reasons, and I have a long commute but it's all on train/bike. And I'm paying to live by the train station, not to have the privilege of driving 30 minutes each way to get to work.

    I don't know. Those big suburban/wannabe rural houses are really beautiful. But I still think their inhabitants and the rest of us would be better off living in cities/towns/higher density and leaving the rural area to be truly wild.

    1. Thanks for de-lurking!

      I think my friend is really conflicted about the house, and even a bit unhappy that they bought it. She had visited me at my home a few years back, and she regrets that her area isn't at all walkable. But they just bought the house two years ago, when their daughter was born, and moving is now fraught with all sorts of hard choices, so staying (which means, lots of daily driving, ironically) is the choice of least resistance. I feel a lot of empathy for her.

  2. Ha! I'd know that traffic anywhere! You are (were) in my town.

    We live centrally and thankfully can bike to work and walk to greenbelt, grocery & grandmas, but we still spend more time than I'd like in the car.

    Fun fact: my class (& most geology classes) spend 4 or 5 hours at the road cut in your picture - you are looking at 100 million years of history right there!

    1. I've actually been really struck by the geology around here (as seen, at great length, from the road). It's so flat on one side of the city, and so incredibly hilly on the other. How did that happen? The difference seems like an east/west split, so I'm guessing the answer isn't "glaciers" (like in Indiana).

      Not that I'm expecting you to answer. It's just curious; I've never seen this elsewhere!

  3. Our house is small & I don't have a real garden (I do what I can with containers) but we both walk to work & daycare & school (and well everywhere, actually, we have no car) so while I love the idea of open spaces, I'm very loathe to leave the city!

    1. Walking everywhere is wonderful!!!

      I too love the idea of open spaces. But I'm SOOOOOO looking forward to a few years from now when we can move into a smaller space than our current large home, one that doesn't take so much time to maintain. So every weekend this fall that you don't spend 3 hours raking leaves, you can remind yourself you have one more reason to be grateful!

    2. we do have to sweep up the leaves in our back patio...but we never ever have to do "yardwork!" unless its the fun stuff like weeding little containers and checking how things grow