Friday, October 4, 2019

Traveling on Feast Days

This week has been another week of long hours at work, dizzying twists and turns in the national news, lots of grading--I begin to wonder if this kind of week is going to be more the norm than the exception.  I know it will be the norm for the next 3 weeks, as we get ready for the accrediting team visit.

This week I missed two days of blogging.  Sigh.  But I am caught up on my grading for my online classes, if only for this moment.

Today I go to spin class, then I go to work.  I will go to the airport at 10; I'm travelling while my spouse stays here to hold down the home front.

Today I hop on a plane and go to North Carolina for one day--I return tomorrow afternoon, home by 6 pm if all goes well. It's extravagant, in a way, but I got a cheap airline ticket. I'm going to the retreat to plan the Create in Me retreat, the creativity retreat in the spring that I go on most years. I get to stay at the camp for free, and I get a quick vacation. One year I tried being on Skype for the retreat to plan the retreat, and it was very frustrating--the technology didn't work, but in a glitchy way, so that I kept thinking it was something I could solve. It's much better to meet in person.

One reason why my ticket is cheap is that I didn't pay for any baggage.  Allegiant charges even for carry-on bags, which I think they define as anything that has to go in the overhead compartment.  I have a back pack where my flannel pajamas and the books I'm reading take up all the room, with socks and undies packed in the edges.

I have 3 books in my backpack:  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.  I plan to begin with Atwood.  I feel like I have important books with me--and even better, there will be some time to read!  I am so happy that I still look forward to having time to read and that there are still good books.

If I was traveling by car, I might take a different assortment, a larger assortment.  I have not read many volumes of poetry this year.  Perhaps when I return.

I will not be taking my laptop--that would cost more money, so it stays at home, meaning that I will have more time to read.  I won't be doing much writing.  Or maybe I'll surprise myself.  I do have a legal pad and pens.  There's always paper.

I am looking forward to being away, to seeing friends I have known for decades as we gather to plan the retreat.  I am looking forward to being on the plane, where I won't be connected to the wider world.

I will feel better, as I always do, when I'm through the security line.  That's what always makes me most anxious when I contemplate air travel.

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis.  This morning I've been thinking of the last few times I've traveled on feast days.  I often get some poem ideas.  There's something about the intersection of the feast day and the change of scenery that sparks my poet brain.

Today I can't imagine what that spark will be.  That's part of the wonder of it, part of what keeps me wanting to write poems.  The surprises in poetry delight me more than the surprises in any other kind of writing.

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