Summer, Travel, and Places of Enchantment

Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives: Summer, Travel, Places of Enchantment

I love this Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ quote. What is life, what is summer, without moments and places of enchantment?

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a road trip with my husband. (He is an awesome road trip pilot, ready and willing to stop anywhere interesting or necessary, plus he is a fantastic photographer.)

We traveled from Reno, Nevada, to Sonora California, to Eureka California, through the state and national coastal redwood parks, then home.

Summer Isn’t Summer Without Places of Enchantment

For me, there are several requirements that must be satisfied for me to feel like I have actually experienced summer.

  1. Fireworks: satisfied on the 4th of July
  2. Sitting beside a rushing river or gurgling stream: satisfied last week with a little stop alongside the Waller River. We did some rock-hopping (what I used to call it, now it’s more like scrambling and balancing after my recent health set-backs), rock-gathering–“Come see this!” “Oh, isn’t this one beautiful!”, and lastly, just sitting with my feet in the cold water, listening to the river’s roar. Ah, peace.
  3. Walking in the forest: also satisfied last week as we made stops to amble in the beautiful California coastal redwood groves. They are so majestic, huge, and old! It really puts our little lives in perspective. We even had the pleasure of enjoying some mysterious morning fog!

The Literate Lives Joys of Road Tripping

Road tripping is fun, renewing, and feeds my imagination.

As we drive, I collect names for places mostly, but as my husband and I joke and engage in wordplay, for characters as well.

Road tripping refills my “landscape well,” providing me with a reminder of the wider range of settings available to draw on when writing, and the links between settings and names.

And, road tripping can inspire actual scenes and stories. Don’t be surprised someday if one of my future projects includes a love smitten gold miner and the glacial object of his affection!

Summer’s End

A week into August, I can accept that, like every year in the past, summer will end, and I can be at peace with that knowledge thanks to mine and my husband’s summer wanderings and savoring of places of enchantment.

Your Turn

  • What does it take for you to feel you have experienced summer?
  • How does travel fuel your literate lifestyle?
  • How do places of enchantment feed your soul?

 Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts. I love to hear from you!


The Long Train Ride

I am writing from my Mom’s kitchen table. I should be en route home when this post appears. I’ll be taking the train overnight, leaving from Modesto, CA at 11:00 P.M. and arriving home Wednesday at 4:00 P.M. There will be a two-hour layover in Sacramento from 12:30 until 2:30 AM.

Sound grueling? Yeah, I know. But do you know what? I’m looking forward to it.

I adore family vacations, and a road trip with my husband can’t be beat. But there is a certain alure to traveling alone. All that time, all to oneself.  It’s just not convenient, or expected that I should work, so I feel free to do whatever quiet activity I’d like. I’m a quiet person. I love quiet activities. I’m looking forward to my long train ride.

So what will I do? I’m bringing three books (one I’m nearly done with, one short one that comes next on my reading rotation, and a longer book that’s next  just in case I finish the first two). I’ve also got magazines: a news magazine, a women’s magazine, and two writing magazines. In addition I’ve packed a spiral notebook and pen. While here at Mom’s I finally found the story to go with a scene I came up with during a free-write at a writer’s conference. The scene just wouldn’t go away but finding a setting and story that works to go with it has long eluded me. So I’ll probably jot some notes on the trip. Maybe I’ll even start writing the story. There’s so many possibilities for enjoying activities I love!

And then, I’ll be home!

What would you do on a seventeen hour train ride?

Better yet, what kind of short story can you launch from a seventeen hour train ride? The working title for mine is The Magic Tea Bag. Hmm. Now what kind of story could you write that combines a train trip and a magic tea bag? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you.