I carried this fortune (from lunch with Hunju and LB the day before I left) with me the entire trip. In fact, the weather was incredibly mild. Between Buffalo and Albany yesterday afternoon there was rain, ranging from drizzle to downpour, with a brief period of actual hail but otherwise, no inclement weather whatsover. I thought it a nice symmetry that I drove through rain in NY both going and coming back.
I got out of Columbus a lot earlier than I’d expected, but I woke up unexpectedly eager to get on the road. Nothing for it, I guess, than to face the future that awaits. I finished listening to Other People’s Children, which didn’t plunge me into as much purging as I’d anticipated. The characters weren’t so recognizable to me (or maybe I resist identification and accusation?), although I painfully recognized the theme of “separateness, and the heartbreak and diligence it takes to mold that into the togetherness of a family.”
The phrase that had stuck with me from the previous day was about being “held down by the gossamer threads of the past.” I also kept noticing that it was Rufus, the eight year old, who was most adept at accepting change and embracing affection. The moral is captured in this line:
“Sometimes hard things turn out better because you have to make an effort at them.”
Before I dove into the next audiobook, I listened to the radio for awhile, enjoying Born to be Blue by The Judds, among others. (I’m sortof listening to Bonnie Raitt, Souls Alike, now.) I also spent an hour on the phone with Frances, missing the exit (!) that would take me around Cleveland instead of through it. I don’t think it added too much time to my trip. By the time I figured it out it was easier to keep going than turn around. It might have been when were recalling me taking the kids camping without food. Who knows what I was thinking? (It seems I wasn’t.) grin We all came out of it ok.
I’ll post separately about The Light of the Universe, but one line captured much of the sense of this time in my life:
“We have to understand each failure before we can move on to success.”
I took in much of the landscape and some architecture as I drove these two thousand plus miles roundtrip. Entering Indiana on I-71 at the Pennsylvania border is the ugliest state-to-state transition I’ve ever noticed. Billboards peppered both sides of the highway. Crass, to say the least. While I’m complaining, I-71 eastbound in Ohio is an awful stretch of bumpy highway.
Kansas City has built up some new funky stuff … saw a cool photo of four towers they’ve built up somewhere downtown. I touched Ohio State University – their amenities in the Linguistics Department put ours to shame (an automatic coffee/latte/hot chocolate maker!) and drove past the sign to Kent State University. The upcoming Communication in Crisis conference is displaying a photo from that era.
The mild weather provided great views of the land. The best parts are in-between cities, rolling hills, some forested, some cultivated, and some open prairie. The bare trees were amazing – so colorful! Varying shades of gray, brown, and orange. Plenty of green conifers and in some places, even green grass. I was amused by the bison statues scattered at one junction coming into Buffalo but hey, I suppose it’s better to remember they used to roam free than erase their memory altogether.
Now, Carrie Newcomer. I think she fits my mood better.