From this hour I ordain myself loosed of limits and imaginary lines.
I’ve been shut in my house for 3 days now. No, someone didn’t come along and nail all the doors and windows shut. I mean, I can get outside, and did just that earlier today. No, I mean I’m sort of trapped here. It has snowed a lot in the hills, and that snow, though beautiful, has kept me from traveling forth from my lovely abode. Normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing, and honestly, it’s not really that bad now. But normally Karen would be here with me, so we’d be in it together. She’d be working, but here, and I’d be able to get some human contact, and maybe a sentence or two from someone else other than… well… me.
I’ve found that since I’m spending so much time alone, I end up doing odds and ends stuff I haven’t gotten to for awhile. Which, for me, means putting more music on the hard drive to transfer to the ipod. It’s a monotonous process, but again, as I think I stated in an earlier post, I get to find music I didn’t remember I had or that I didn’t know we had at all. As an example, I found some great John Lee Hooker today, something Karen brought into our relationship. I didn’t even know we had the cd, and it’s really great. So, though the process is monotonous, I’ve definitely got the music in me and have been tapping my foot the whole time.
Another thing I’m finding is that I haven’t lost old skills… I talk to myself a lot more. I’d forgotten that I used to do it, when I lived alone. Amazing how the little things come back to you. It is just like riding a bicycle…. I haven’t forgotten how to talk to myself… whew… I was worried. An old skill rediscovered!
I’m also stumbling on strange and new interesting things to watch on tv. Today I found a show, a sort of documentary, about dangerous jobs at sea. It covered fishermen in harsh waters, coast guard members who work the Columbia River bar area, and navy seals, among others. It was pretty fascinating. Day time television isn’t what it used to be, it’s better.
So I guess I’ve been stuck here, but not stuck. If that makes any kind of sense at all. I’m one of those people who know how to be alone. I can do it, and what’s more, I actually enjoy it. This experience might be taking that ability to the limit, but I know I still have it. Don’t get me wrong… I’d much rather be with Karen, but if I can’t be… I can handle this. It’s OK. Now I’d best get back to plugging in cds, find something interesting to watch on tv, and then talk to myself about what I’m watching…. I’m easily entertained.
For some reason, that song keeps playing in my head when I think about flying home on Friday.
The morning started off ok. Get up, have coffee, take a shower, pack for the trip home, check out, drive to the beach for one last look at the gulf coast, and start the drive to the airport. Then the weather came. I’ve never seen a sky so black. The rain started about half way through the drive to the airport. It came down so hard it was hard to see, even with the wipers on full speed. There was so much of it, many of the cars on the road pulled over and waited. We didn’t have that luxury, or at least, we didn’t think so at the time.
We got to the airport and then the fun really started. Dropping off the car went really smoothly, as did checking in. But outside, the storm raged on. The rain came down, the lightening struck in bolts, and the thunder roared. The airport was at a stand still. People were coming in, but no one was able to leave. Seems it had been going on that way for hours. Which meant the place was filling up. There wasn’t a seat in the house, and most of the wall space was taken up as well. The only people really happy were the owners of the restaurants and mini marts. They were doing a booming business. For the most part though I think people understood the situation and weren’t unhappy with any of the airline personnel. They could do nothing about what was happening. They were stuck there too.
A couple of times the power went off and the lightening and tornado warnings continued to bar our exit. As the day went on, no planes taking off or landing, we waited to see what would happen. We knew, at a certain point, we wouldn’t make our connection in Dallas, so we changed it to what the gate agent said was the last flight out of Dallas to Portland that day. Finally, with enough time between lightening strikes, the grounds people were let out again, and we boarded our plane. Right after we were loaded however, the lightening struck again, the grounds people were recalled, and we were on the plane, attached to the terminal by the gate they couldn’t move, and no luggage aboard because it couldn’t be loaded. And us… we waited again. Finally, an hour later, after spending the time looking at our watches occasionally, slowly becoming aware we were not going to make the second flight we’d been put on in Dallas, the captain came on and asked everyone to take their seats quickly. Seems we had a five minute window of time to get out onto the tarmac and maybe, just maybe, we could leave Tampa. They moved our plane out, and we got in line. There were a lot of other planes at that point also trying to leave. We called the airline from the plane, found out there was actually one flight to Portland later than we’d been told by the ticket agent, and booked ourselves on it.
While this all was going on, so was the storm. The lightening had lessened a bit, though not much. Before we got on the plane a guy in the terminal had said, “I fly a lot, you don’t have to worry about the lightening, planes have something on them to absorb it.” And there we were, flying off into it. I kept telling myself, in a little mantra… the plane has something to absorb it… the plane has somthing to absorb it. The take off was bumpy, but not as bad as I had imagined. And we never were struck, to my knowledge, by a stray bolt of lightening.
We were in the air, alive… and then something beautiful happened. We got up out of the first layer of the storm, and there it was. The most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen. Below there were huge thunder clouds that were black as night. Above was another layer of clouds. And there we were, in the eye of that storm, looking at a sky so brilliant I couldn’t stop taking pictures and staring at it.
In the midst of it all I forgot to be nervous and scared of flying in the storm. I felt peaceful and calm. It was tremendous.
We made it to Dallas with 20 minutes to spare for that last flight out to Portland. We had to run through the Dallas airport to make our gate and talk to the gate agent to get seats together. Then we were on the plane, flying home, that part of the trip uneventful. And suddenly, tired and happy, we were in Portland and driving home.
The day was long. 12 hours of travel. But what I’ll remember most was how beautiful something that was initially so scary could be. The feeling of being scared one minute and at peace the next. All from a little stormy weather.
It’s Friday. Better yet, it’s the Friday after the holidays. What does this mean? It means that tonight, after the last of the decorations are taken down and stored away, I am free. There is no meal to plan, no get together to attend, no shopping to do, no family (even though I love them) to visit, and no last minute detail I haven’t gotten to yet that’s still nagging at me. I am unfettered. Able to do and be as I wish, no obligation standing in my way.
What a luxury this is. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the holidays. I do. I’m just glad they happen only once a year, because I’m exhausted. As I’m sure everyone else who reads this is. Looking back on it all, it’s a blur… whirling past at the speed of light.
And tonight? Tonight starts the dawn of a new day. A new year. It’s a clean slate filled with promise, hope, a renewed sense of commitment, and a weekend that isn’t all pre-planned. What joy.
So… happy new year everyone. It’s time for this girl to head on home and start enjoying this new found freedom.