Rendered Fat Content


"I have no idea what comes next …"

The early flight out of Walla Walla departs at 5:15 AM. I wake myself at 2:30 to watch my alarm clock tick down to my scheduled wake-up time. I'm out the door before a quarter to four, struggling with my brother-in-law suitcase over-stuffed with leftover tools and work clothes. I call that suitcase my brother-in-law because dragging it around feels like I've brought a clumsy, indecisive shirt-tail relative along. I find a conspicuous spot to ditch the step-son's enormous truck and lock the keys inside, then schlepp my baggage into the terminal. Small town airport check-ins lean toward the informal until trying to pass through Insecurity, which seems over-staffed with a half dozen unbelievably busy agents hovering around the process. I'm almost first in line, but still spend fifteen minutes while two agents pour through my knapsack's contents, which I know includes at least two illegal items which I should have sequestered into a separate plastic baggie. I've carried that nasal spray and those eye drops through Insecurity for over ten years and never been busted. They ineptly reorganize everything before passing the bag back to me, curiously handing over my car key and a flash drive separately. The couple behind me receive similar scrutiny.

The airplane looks like a preying mantis, ungainly in the pre-dawn squall, the inside miniaturized.
The pilot reports that we'll be fighting seventy five mile per hour headwinds over the Cascades and summarily suspends cabin service. An audible groan emerges from those who had bet on their morning coffee during the flight. The flight turns out to be uncharacteristically smooth, with hardly a bump as we slip beneath Puget Sound's cloud cover. I find two croissants and a cup of decent decaf inside SeaTac then stand along a bustling corridor to await my flight on to Denver. I think myself imbedded in a Point of Privilege surrounded by the most curious class within this oft-touted-as-classless society. It seems a quarter of those who pass me wear some evidence of places they've visited, typically places where those who vacation via airliner so often congregate. Disneyland, another Point of Privilege. Cabo, ditto. Various Hawaii locations. Some show up in shorts, though it's full Fall outside, another definitive sign of privilege on the hoof.

I used to belong to the traveling class, obsessed with upgrades and flier miles. I was professionally anonymous then, a decent seat mate, but clearly too busy, on a mission, apparently, to mingle much with the economy class. I grew out of those interests and now don't mind a bit if I board last, sit just ahead of a crying baby, or forego a pre-flight complementary beverage. The flight to Denver also promises but fails to deliver turbulence. I visit with a retired urologist in the adjacent seat. I miss a train from the Denver airport, though the next one leaves a scant fifteen minutes later. I catch the light rail at Union Station and float out to Golden through a remarkably sunny seventy-some degree early afternoon. Snow's predicted two nights hence. Denver, as always, looks shabby, a windy weed patch sort of place developed without the benefit of zoning laws. Mechanic shops next to apartment buildings next to single family homes, each looking weary and shop-worn, though my perception might just be a projection on my part, for I'm in TranSitIon.

The Schooner's just where we left it two weeks before. It seems small and zippy after two weeks driving that oversized pickup truck. I head to the library first, to return a book I'd read on the trip and to replenish my supply of reading. Books prove very useful when navigating over a hump. The Muse and I have been separated from our home for a decade now and still ache to return. We visit like prison trustees, able to look without really touching, loving without requite. The TranSiTions prove stressful times, joyful upon arriving, baleful when departing, transplantation without soil. The Villa, when I arrive, feels cold and distant as if it resented our fortnight's absence. I find that we once again left without first turning on the heat. Emily The Plant Sitter didn't understand that we'd be gone a full two weeks and stopped visiting to water ofter that first week, but the cool internal temps seem to have suspended the plants' water needs, and everything looks happy enough, many looking happier than when we left.

I take a late lunch on the sunny deck which will be covered with blowing snow before this week's expended. A neighbor wanders into our shared backyard and I bore her with photos of my latest adventure. I feel like Wylie Coyote after he overruns his mesa but before gravity has her way with him, suspended in apparent violation of physical imperatives. I nap, neglecting to switch my phone out of Airplane Mode, and The Muse, in DC for a conference this week, leaves a long trail of foiled attempts to connect with me. Everything feels far away and disconnected. I apologize for my oversight, just the first of several I'm likely to commit before I find both feet again. I'm coming off a peak experience, light-headed from lofty altitude, edgy from the fresh confines of this conifer-strewn draw. The sky seems re-calibrated, no longer simply a limit. I have no idea what comes next, other than a day of draining hoses and moving planters into the garage to preserve some of the passing season just a little bit longer.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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