Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vacations; Stepping Out of our Safety Zone

The motel room is dark leaving me alone with my thoughts. Not always a pleasant sensation. Leaving a home leaves me vulnerable to existential questions, particularly in darkened rooms on distant highways... And for a New Yorker who has lived most of his adult life overseas, this small town rest stop in Tennessee is the perfect place to taste this. That mental stuff I usually suppress.

Thankfully I am a man with friends and family, and a loose yet real bonding to my birthright Nation. This acute condition are the inevitable questions, for a man in his 60's. You too have them from time to time, when  you are feeling wobbly at the knees, and the possibility of death colors itself... inevitable. Thankfully there is cable TV, and WIFI access, to hide inside most of the time, but occasionally the darker truths creep in.

That is why the Gideon people are so diligent in providing their favorite book. Leaving us doubters even fewer places to hide. Time is precious and bountiful, until it disappears in a puff. Life is clumsy and cumbersome until it hangs on a wire at the edge. Friends and family are in our hair until they are gone forever, sponged up by some mystifying quirk of nature, leaving us with only our thoughts.

... The sun is rising now behind the curtains. Truckers are starting their engines. Soon there will be a country diner breakfast, and a world of distractions. And... when I catch a glimpse of another hummingbird perched on some brilliant flower... I will be thankful.

Those 'deeper' thoughts will be waiting for me, just there... in another motel room, in some other corner of the universe. Existential darkness and radiant hummingbirds, who could ask for more. You take them all when you have the chance. Knowing nothing for sure is for sure.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Orleans jewel of the South

There is plenty of beautiful aloneness when cruising the South... miles and miles of forested back roads with kind strangers sauntering about in pursuit of humble dreams. But the town of towns, where the world ends and art begins, is New Orleans. This is a crude awakening, a bold print of exquisite contradictions. A city between the extremes of East and West, decidedly a Southern Mecca for all those who question the legitimacy of normalcy. Home of the brave, the chaotic, the inspired, and all that is criminal in the human soul of duplicity. Sin and sinister sprinkled on a tourist town of undulating color. A place everyone should visit at least twice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late night in a cheap motel

There is a raw potential in the massive scale of forested hills lining the interstate... Cruising Pennsylvania... As dad relates tales of our kin, sprinkled in memory and the local geography, a mental patchwork of vivid colors woven, tangled, laced in my head. We are as American, as the Hindi motel owners who shelter us everywhere... as the poly-diverse Chinese immigrants preparing our take out, as the rough hewn multi-generational US Italian, Irish, new breeds, tattooed and pierced like modern island warriors, in their massive rusty big wheeled battleships.

Colored thoughts of eccentric great uncles mingled with the social political gymnastics, of dealing with the precious still alive... feelings of family housed in a nation of diversity. America the beautiful, America the ugly duckling waiting in intensive to be revised... America where 'Wow' is the only suitable exclamative.