I'm in PJs, lying on my comfy blue couch in my lounge in Toronto as I write this. I'm tired, but it was a great trip.
There are reasons to go back - especially to the archives in St Louis now that I've got more of a handle of what to look for - but also to archives in Chicago and perhaps elsewhere in Northern Illinois. Plus I'll take Mum and Dad to Springfield when they're here next year :)
But for now, it's reflection time. And sleep time.
So I'll share one of the things that struck me while I was away over the past week: taking risks. All of the stories I heard about included people taking risks... with careers, with ideas, with moving around, with love. Each of these risks, which must have seemed unimaginable and bizarre at the time, now take their place in family histories in ways that make them feel obvious and even, in some ways, ordinary.
Yes, I'm the result of a long line of risktakers on many sides of my family and for some reason that feels reassuring tonite. Of course the present is always so deeply shaped by the past that to point this out is almost redundant. And yet, it's worth thinking about all the same. Risk taking. Imagining how things could be different. 'Feeling the fear and doing it anyway' as they say.
I feel like I'm on the edge of several precipices in my life right now, peering over and thinking about where to jump and where to pull back to a more comfortable place. While I wouldn't want to take risks just so I can tell myself I'm a risktaker (cos, um, that would more just make me superficial), I also know - and have had reaffirmed in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana - that the bigger risk would be to take no risks at all.