Another click, as another little bit of understanding falls into place.
As I write this, two people I care about - Vix and Metis - are each on the road. Metis is on her way back from a city about 800 miles from here, while Vix is returning to that same city as part of her ongoing tour.
What seems to bother me about this is that they are both exposed to terrible risks - statistically, driving is one of the more dangerous things we do - beyond any possibility of my helping them, or even knowing for sure that they are safe and whole.
It makes me feel vulnerable, exposed to a risk of loss beyond my control; it seems to me this sense of vulnerability has been a significant part of the emotional turmoil I've experience during Vix's many long absences this past year or so.
There are other factors, of course, but I do think this is important.
I may have inherited from my parents and grandparents the tendency to worry about people who are traveling. Whenever we left their house, when I was a kid, my grandparents always insisted my parents call them as soon as they arrived home . . . on the other side of town.
I'm getting better at bracketing off this particular worry, not letting it occupy too much space in my thoughts; it's easier when I know people I care about have arrived somewhere relatively safe, even if it's far from me.
There are moments when it's especially difficult, though. When Vix and I parted a week ago, I was overwhelmed by a kind of desolation, an acute sense that I could too easily end up alone, just on some random mischance on the highway.
Fortunately, Vix and even Metis are willing to humor me on this, checking in from time to time to let me know their progress.