Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
That book was publish by Dr. Seuss in 1990, a mere two years before I would figure out just how awesome a feeling the “Oh” signified. (Sadly, it would be Dr. Seuss last work.)
Today marks 10 years that I’ve been in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ten years ago I packed up a rented Chevy Suburban and left Chicago on a 36 hour non-stop drive to get into town before the start of the Labor Day weekend. The following Tuesday I started work at the Lab and I haven’t looked back since. The chance to live in New Mexico was the culmination of a desire planted in me from summers spent on the Navajo Reservation as a boy and cultivated by various camping trips with a good friend following high school. Little did I know that it was also where I would meet the most wonderful woman in the world who would transform my life in ways I still cannot predict but always for the better. She and her family mean more to me than I could possibly express to them.
And it was twenty years ago this week that I first loaded up a rented U-Haul and moved all my worldly possessions from Kansas City to a rented room in Milwaukee to begin graduate school. As excited as I was for the program I had been accepted into, and for the opportunity that I knew lay ahead, I spent the first few hundred miles weeping for the people I was leaving behind. My brother Vincent drove my car up, following me through Saint Louis, Chicago, and into Milwaukee. The last break with home was returning him to KC at the airport the following day.
I spent the first two years of graduate school between winters in Milwaukee and summers at Argonne Labs outside of Chicago. Later I moved to Chicago full time and fell in with a group of people I hold dear to this day. Extended vacations aside there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk to them. Modern technology being what it is means that I’m never really out of touch with them.
It is an odd thing to uproot oneself so completely and swiftly, yet I highly recommend doing so at least once in your life. I’ve done it twice and have been blessed both times. We keep toying with the idea of doing it again but building up the required momentum seems to be harder as the years go by. But it is such a huge, fantastic world to explore. Metaphorically it is a gravitational tug that is almost too overwhelming to ignore. We remain committed only to keeping an open mind. It is no wonder that Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” has become my personal mantra. There is more guidance there than in any Bible.
The point of this rambling is to mention that as I think back on all of the places I’ve gone, I’ve been one lucky s.o.b. as a fellow traveller in life. If you are reading this, you are one of the people I have had the great joy to call family, friend, co-worker or insane fellow traveller. (The latter includes, but is not limited to, one insane individual I had a run-in with in a BART station in Oakland, California, circa August 1989.) I owe you all a huge debt, thanks, and much love.