I want to keep my hands busy and create something, anything. I want them to work like a spider creates a web and cast a net of protection across everyone I love.
I’m safe and yet I can’t help but think of my neighbors, my friends, and even the strangers who sought water along with me at the Winn Dixie. I think of the habitats: my own–yes–but also the egrets’ and the spoonbills’. I think of the cardinals that visit my feeders. The turtles who laid eggs on the nearest beach.
I sit in my car 773 miles from home and I watch a Georgia peach sunset. So warm and giving and yet the same air that breathes a hurricane.
Sure am glad I didn’t dawdle getting to the airport and while running late accidentally park my rental car in the wrong return lane and be told I have to go inside to fix it, only to find out that no I need to go backoutside to get a slip from the very chatty car dude who I can’t help but be kind to and explain that yes, it’s definitely still hot in Florida right now! I know crazy! To then return to said counter to wait for my receipt that they apparently decided to travel back to 1994 to print on a dot matrix printer. zeet. zeet. Zeet. zeeeeeep. (Repeat approx. 1,367 times.) To then sit on the SLOWEST SHUTTLE BUS EVER and arrive at the terminal and discover my flight leaves in, oh, half and hour, and run to check my bag (because somehow having tiny shampoo bottles in my luggage is still a threat to national security) to then get stuck in a long line of millennials staring at phones in what is perhaps the Longest. Security. Line. Ever. Especially for a second rate rust belt city (I can say this I’m from this region) to then *almost* make it through security except for my laptop that is arousing suspicion and must be checked by the guy with a mysterious magical wand-stick. To then shoe-up and run and I mean RUN to the farthest end of the terminal while overhearing the Southwest gate agent say “final call for passenger Sarah Dee-MA-Teee-no” as I’m still wildly running, dodging couples and children while The Weekend sings in the background I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah/P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah which makes me feel like a badass in a movie scene (until I realize my laptop bag is hitting my butt every two seconds which is not sexy. Not at all.) To then arrive at the gate as the guy is about to shut the door, and cough out my name, wheezing and sweating and and laughing with the cool luggage attendant dude (unlike the check-in dude who is ALL business ok whatever lol) only to be the very last person on the plane (THE ONE TIME I have an A35 southwest spot in line!!!) to then sit in a middle seat but whatever that’s cool cuz I’m making it home!, and cough up half a lung for like twenty minutes and have no water and question the sufficiency of my current exercise regimen and fly to Atlanta and discover my next flight is delayed.
Last Friday I returned to my home-state of Michigan to attend my 20th high school reunion. I flew out of SW Florida as the hurricane was approaching Daytona Beach and watched news coverage from the airport. If you looked outside of its floor to ceiling windows you would have seen less wind and rain than a typical day during our rainy season, which is just wrapping up here.
Now I am back in Florida, back at my computer with cold Cuban coffee and listening to one of my favorite Detroit radio stations online, a station I was stunned to discover is still broadcasting (and as awesome as ever!). I listened to it while driving my made-in-Detroit rental car north on U.S. 23, fighting the familiar traffic that flees north on weekends, all while soaking in the beauty of a Michigan fall day with its grey clouds, blue sky, and bright sun peaking through to light up trees that were just starting to turn yellow and red.
So much filled me with joy this weekend. Seeing friends who knew before I could read or write. Friends who saw me exactly for who I was in the way that only five-year-olds can. We swapped stories. We mused about what ever happened to this person or that who moved away in elementary school never to be heard from again. We tried to remember the name of our elementary school secretary (she was very much called a secretary then), and then finally remembered. (It was Dorothy.)
The weekend closed with me sitting in a Detroit terminal eating a coney dog and Better Made chips, reading a copy of the Freep, the Detroit paper. I took a picture of these objects, that is how happy I was to have them in front of me. The only way to top it would have been to wash it all down with a Vernors pop. (And yes it is pop, not soda.)
There are other things I want to write about but can only do so in my journal. As I stood with a friend who has known me since I was five we nodded heads talking about how hard and complicated home can get when you are very much a grown adult. I thought about this as I stood in the local neighborhood market, staring at the back entrance where it used to house rental VHS cassettes, and then possibly DVDS, swapped now for shelves that sell craft beer. The butcher department still smelled of fish but strangers walked the small, neat aisles.
As I drove south to the Detroit airport for my return flight, I found myself glancing at the Michigan highway ditches, half-expecting to see egrets hunting for fish instead of the goldenrods that were in bloom. Now I am home. Florida-home. Discussing the hurricane that has passed. Eating leftover take-out Caribbean food. But I am listening to the Detroit radio station, now available online, still as awesome as ever. And it turns out that U.S. 23, the road that leads to home in mid-Michigan, also goes all the way south to Florida, too.