I’ve been home for 17 days. It took one day for Lyn’s suitcase to catch up with us, seven days for the jet-lag to wear off, and eight days for me to beeline up north, to our little cabin. I think I have finally accepted that this season in Pompeii is now in the past, and I know I need to start looking forward.
I am, however, finding myself a bit “homesick” for Pompei. I’m even feeling a tiny bit sentimental about Striano — a tiny bit. I knew that would be the case, so I took a few precautions just before I came home: Ordered a 2lb bag of whole bean, Caffè Kimbo, and three bags of the Gran Pavesi crackers that we ate every day, during our snack break; bought a paella pan and Spanish bomba rice; hit Total Wine and brought home a sixer of Peroni Nastro Azzuro. These things all help, but the one thing I can’t find on Amazon or at Sprouts are any of the friends I made there. That diverse, brilliant, sometimes grubby, sometimes grumpy, funny group of people made that experience! If any of you see this, know that I miss you and look forward to running into you someday. We will run into each other, at some point. The world of archaeology is a small one.
Now, I have to really make an effort to re-immerse myself in “the present” and be home. It’s not that I have nothing to do. There are plenty of projects around the house, and a lot of work to do up in Chama. What is Chama? It’s a little town, up on the Colorado state line. We have a piece of property there with a small, off-grid cabin I built during the Great Covid Shutdown of 2020. I needed something to keep myself busy, while I was on furlough from work.
In 2020, I planned and built the cabin. Last year, we added a little screen porch, to have a bug-free zone in the spring. This summer, just before I left for Italy, I started work on a small shower house. Nothing fancy — a propane shower and a composting toilet. It will make the little spot we have set up for guests a bit more comfortable.
I also have to work on getting back into “backpacking shape.” I have a permit to hike the Nankoweap trail in Grand Canyon NP, in October. I’m looking forward to planning for that little trip. I also owe my dog a couple of short backpacking trips. The fires we had in N New Mexico pretty much put any hiking plans on hold this spring. The fires are out (or close to) but many areas are still closed due to fire damage, and/or flooding. It seems that we can’t win, we are either burning up or washing away here.
I also need to decide what I want to do with myself going forward. I know that the schedule/routine of full-time CRM archaeology isn’t something I want anymore. Being gone 8-10 days (or longer) at a time is not for the faint of heart. It wears on your body, your to-do lists don’t get done, your partner is stuck taking care of everything. Your plants die and your pets hold grudges against you. Yeah, I have some reflecting to do. For me, building things is a good time to do that.