Monday, 1 August 2011

Goodbyes, Saturn Return, and Road Trippin'

"In a sense, Saturn is almost like a miniature solar system."
~Linda Spilker

Sandal on the accelerator.  Grey ribbon of highway.  Starbucks coffee in the cup holder.  Sleazy gas stations.  Lunching at diners.  Bruce Springsteen on the radio.

These are the things I love about Road Trippin', and on Wednesday I embark on another Road Trippin' extravaganza.  But first, the goodbyes and Saturn Return...

Goodbye Minneapolis.

When you're constantly away from home (as I was for the previous nine years), you become desensitized to goodbyes.  But live with your family for part of one year, and you realize the things you've missed.  As I leave Minneapolis, I am bracing for the hardest goodbye I've encountered, a goodbye that is tempered only by my excitement for the future.

Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Sister #4

As I bid farewell to family and Minneapolis, I also feel like I'm saying goodbye to my childhood.  A few weeks ago, I read about Saturn Return.  Saturn returns to the same point in it's orbit ever 29.4 years.  So, every 29 years Saturn occupies the same position it did at our birth (aka. Saturn Return).  In astrology, Saturn is associated with transformation and rebirth and Saturn Return is said to be a transition time from one life-phase to another. 

According to astrologers, the first Saturn Return coincides with a transition from childhood to adulthood.  The second Saturn Return (~age 58) a transition from adulthood to maturity.  And the third Saturn Return (~age 87) a transition from maturity to wisdom.

It's difficult, but if you're willing to make necessary changes during your Saturn Return, say astrologers, the entire universe conspires to help you.  

Minnesota wildflower.

Three years ago, I woke up one day and felt like an adult.  I'd recently returned from Afghanistan, and maybe that feeling of adulthood was more precipitated by my reintegration into civilian life than actual adulthood.  Either way, there must be something to Saturn Return, because I feel like an adult more intensely today than ever before.

One way is professionally.  Until the age of 28, I wasn't ready to commit to a profession, mostly because I didn't understand who I was as an individual.  I felt like I spent my 20s trying on dozens of costumes and reinventing myself.

But from this decades-long exploration process there emerged the idea of becoming a writer, an idea that I suppose has been staring me in the face since I first delighted in putting pen to paper at age five...

After these goodbyes, the road trip begins...

Pie.  An obsession.

First stop is Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Fort Lost in the Woods is one of the Army's largest training facilities.  The surrounding area is a cultural dead spot (aside from a scattering of vineyards) and might be the American equivalent of Bulgaria.  Still, I'm thrilled to reunite with a few amigos.

Second stop is Lexington, Kentucky.  A Wikipedia search revealed the following: Lexington is Kentucky's 2nd largest city (after Louisville), it's nickname is "The Horse Capital of the World," the US Census Bureau identifies it as America's 10th most educated city (40% of adults have a bachelor's degree or higher), and Forbes named it one of the 17 cleanest cities in the world.

I know little about Kentucky, but reading about Lexington piqued my interest.  It would be fun to visit neighboring Louisville in May for the Kentucky Derby.  (Or maybe throw a Kentucky Derby viewing party in Roanoke, complete with mint juleps, fried chicken, polo t-shirts and oversized hats.)  

The third stop is Roanoke, Virginia, my new home.  It's a city of 97,000 nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The Appalachian Trail and an American Viticultural Area (winemaking region) are nearby.  And, political orientation aside, I'm reassured that two-thirds of Roanoke residents identify themselves as Democrat. (In my experience, that bodes well for farmer's markets, food co-ops, art house cinemas, granola, dreadlocks, and other delights.)  I can't wait to settle in and explore the area for three weeks before school starts.

More to follow as I cross America...


  1. This post gives me so much hope~~ totally needed to read this today. Thanks, Lori. :)

  2. Thanks, I'm glad it helped :) Hope everything is great with you.