It is half a mile hike down to the car, then forty mintutes to my parents’s house, then two and a half hours to the airport, then one hour to Cincinnati with a two and a half hour layover, then five hours to Portland, then into the rental car and an hour and a half to Corvallis whereupon I walk into Beth’s house, sit down to a grilled steak dinner, and am greeted warmly.
Driving through the city and into the green here always seems to provoke the same emotional intensity for me. I choke up around the Terwiliger Curves on the I-5 cooridor and today I did just that, crying for the release of it, crying for the relief of it, and crying just to be back in a place that nurtured me for so long. I make one stop: Burlingame Freddies, where the check out clerk is still the kid I went to high school with the sushi bar is still in the same place after all these years.
It is sixty degrees and cold to me, but still, the local radio station is playing and my arm is out the window and I am smiling through tears, trying not to think of the heartbreak, trying not to think of nerviousness and tomorrow, and only, only, only to think of the ease of Oregon air across my skin, hair ruffled in the wind from the window, the color green at it’s best and dotting every edge of the periphery.
After all the travel and the meal with Beth and her family, she goes to stoke the word fired cedar hot tub in the backyard and I retreat to write. The starts are coming out, though only in patches between the ever-cloudy skies. Soon we will soak, talk about our words, our goals, our lessons learned, our fears at the page, our small victories. And for what it’s worth, I check my email and finally, Cass has written, saying that she tried to call the night before I left but couldn’t get a hold of me and could we meet in Portland after the reading soon? Oh, and good luck and sorry…
No picture posted tonight. The sun has set and I haven’t even unpacked a single item. But as per the last trip, there will be daily updates and photos you can count on the for the next four weeks. Yowza!