A Word In Edgewise: A Winter Getaway When You Can’t Get Away

There are those who thrill to ice and chill—exploring ice caves on Lake Superior—and others yearning to immerse themselves in Caribbean warmth.

The getters-away are further divided into those with the means to do so, and those without, whose thoughts are couched in the conditional. The former need no coaching. They’ve had their tickets since August, or annual time-shares set up; you’ll be seeing their banquet and margarita photos on Facebook any day now.

The suggestions here are for those whose finances don’t allow flight to anywhere remotely picturesque or out of sight of the U.S. Bank Stadium. But getting away is not necessarily a physical journey, time travel is not attached to airplane tickets, TSA pat-downs, or cancelled flights. The object is not to be “here” for a period of time, and that can be done in situ.

Emily Dickinson wrote, “There is no frigate like a book,” encouraging, “This Traverse may the poorest take/ Without oppress of Toll.” So, to follow my “Stay-at-home Getaway” plan, simply choose enough volumes to fill your allotted vacation days, and the universe is yours. Pull the shades, lock the door, and begin. Here are a few recommendations;

Really long ago, though not so far away: James Kuether’s The Amazing World of Dinosaurs: An Illustrated Journey Through the Mesozoic Era. You’re stricken by heat and the smells of swamp and alien creatures—more than you ever imagined—wondering where you are on the food chain.

Back? Take a cool drink of water and move on to the far away. Read, or reread, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Stories of getting there, being there, and in the final tale, “The Million Year Picnic,” watch the earth self-destroy.

Old and new: Emily Wilson’s brand new translation of Homer’s undying epic, The Odyssey. Her iambic pentameter bears you along as swiftly and remorselessly as Odysseus’s black ships cut through the wine-dark sea. You’ll never hear the sleet against your windows.

More than you can handle in one vacation: There are 75 Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret novels you can plunge into in whatever order you wish, English or French. They’re deceptively short, easy reads, but will pull you in.

No matter what you choose, you won’t have time to finish everything; or to be bored. Settle in to your La-Z-Boy, pour a favorite beverage, open a book, and bon voyage!

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