The name of this photo, taken in 2005, is "Turning Home." It looks very much like being on a road that might lead to Hobbiton in the Shire of Middle Earth.
Every spring since I first started going down to the Hocking Hills of Southern Ohio, I've gone in search of the perfect redbud tree. And every spring is different. Even the same trees look different from year to year. And the feel of the air, whether it be a misty pastel oil painting or a joyously crisp warm sunshine blue. And the touch of light or shadow.
Then you realize that you are actually on a quest to dream the impossible dream, because what you are after is the memory of a moment in time whose proof physically exists only in the photos you took back then. That the road goes ever on and on ... and not back, because even though you try to go back, you are going forward in time. Such that past memory clashes with future vision in the present to form a double exposure of things as they currently are against a backdrop of things as you wanted them to be.
Last year my search led me to a dogwood tree instead.
This year is leading so far to questions. Should I drive allll the way down to the Hocking Hills on a round trip hundreds of miles long just to return to my favorite haunts where I know the redbud trees will appear however unfamiliarly? Should I even return to my beloved bed and breakfast for the occasion? (In any case, I would love to go any time of year even without an occasion just to visit the innkeepers who really do treat me like family after all these years.) Should I return to the region but purposely avoid the beckoning "tried and true" for a random roll of the dice on unknown roads? Or travel somewhere I have yet to have an inkling of?
Questions for Readers: Do you prefer vacation trips to the same well-loved places every year, or to explore something completely new? Wherever you go, do you have traditions you like to keep or things you like to see? Where would you go again wishing to find it the same as you left it before?