by Lisa Bullard
A few years ago I decided to visit a friend in North Carolina over the holidays, and the only way I could afford the airfare was to ﬂy on Christmas Day. I admit to a case of self pity as I set out, picturing the rest of the world in their new pajamas, opening presents and reveling in a holiday feast, while I suffered the long lines, cramped seats, and other indignities that air travel offers
What was I thinking, leaving home for Christmas? How could I possibly enjoy another family’s holiday traditions? Would it even feel like Christmas in a place where pansies were still blooming?
And then I spotted a family at the airport who were all decked out in Santa caps, the two young children big-eyed with excitement as they prepared to journey over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. They hadn’t left their Christmas at home: they were carrying it with them, packed along with their toothbrushes and clean underwear for the trip.
My entire mood turned instantly ebullient. All it took was that reminder that even when we travel far away, we still carry a little part of home with us.
Writing is a journey too. It might begin with the things we know best, but eventually our imaginations take us into unfamiliar territory. Sometimes this is exhilarating. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable or even a little scary. The best thing to do is to keep moving forward, taking out whatever little part of home we’re carrying with us when we need some reassurance.
The path to Grandmother’s house may take us through the woods. But never forget that Grandmother is waiting on the other side with a big cup of hot cocoa and a thousand twinkling Christmas lights.