Back home

Our trip doesn’t end when we’re back home again. We feel renewed. We have our memories, photos, souvenirs. Some souvenirs take up a true residence. On one wall are four carved and painted masks from Bali. These masterpieces on high look down on us – the devil Kalalau (DK) attempting to swallow the moon, Rama the king, the flying dragon Garuda, and a purple-faced devil.

A most elegantly lacquered calligraphy box sits on our coffee table (a crocodile carving from Papua New Guinea, bought in Santa Fe). It’s an object to appreciate for its visual appearance, the cool and smooth feel, the balance of its slight heft. Huge baskets woven by a Turkana woman and once occupied by David at age 5 are comfortable natural furniture.

Books, a dozen or more, join the other 2,000 on our shelves. So do some ephemera – newspapers that capture the way that people think over there, whether their views of America or what sports or businesses or home life items matter to them. A panorama of our living room imparts the sense of it all.

For Vince, especially, photos take center stage. Now that we’ve gone digital we take as four to five thousand images each trip of 3 to 5 weeks. Prior to the oh-so-handy digital imagery, he would develop slides and negative or have the developed, print a number of them, assemble them into shows for friends. Now he downloads them to a desktop computer with a graphic arts screen and reviews every one. That’s reliving the trip, that’s being struck by powerful images, that’s sheer fun. He identifies many, tagging them with fully descriptive names. Some images call out for editing by cropping, rotating, warping, color corrections; it’s a chore he enjoys. The power of computers, and especially of the Total Commander search app, lets us in a moment find that touching or exhilarating or amusing event. We also have nice software, EXIF Date Changer, to put images in the local time if we forgot to change the time on the camera.

There’s all the catching up to do – mail and email, bills, meetings, whatever. Yet the trip is a persistent presence. We recall it with joy and fondness. Australia calls itself the lucky country and we agree. We call ourselves lucky people. We are prepared and diligent, but we are very large measure lucky people.