It’s always the tail end of a trip that gets lost, isn’t it? In Amundsen’s “To the South Pole”, he devotes 284 pages of narration to the southbound journey, and only 12 to the return. Our own trip was substantially shorter and less arduous (“What? The inflight wifi isn’t working?!?”), but I can sympathize.
We’ve all been there, right? It’s been a good trip, but you’re done with it and just want to get home. You’ve been on six airplanes in six days, visiting four different schools in four different towns, and have given up keeping them straight – was Oberlin the one with the Quidditch team? And which one had the “design your own foreign study program”? When you can smell the hay, when you’re westbound on that last flight, it’s hard to keep things straight.
And honestly, there wasn’t much more to write about, those last 24 hours, that anyone but I would care about. We’d planned to visit UMinnesota, to give Miranda a sense of what a large urban campus felt like, but between the weather and the school’s lack of communication about where and when the tour was supposed to take place, bailed on it in favor of zoning out in Garrison Keillor’s bookstore. I don’t imagine he actually spends appreciable time there, but that didn’t stop me from hoping he’d drop by, and it was a lovely, comfortable and welcoming place to sit and peruse some of the wonderful books I’ll never actually make the time to read (I did pick up a volume of McSweeney’s and a bar of B.T. McElrath’s Salty Dog Chocolate – a local favorite I was introduced to by my favorite Minneapolitans). Visited with Brad, Claire and Cole at the Polar Geospatial Center and had dinner with Paul – the PGC ringleader – and his family that evening. Great to see them, as always; such amazingly smart, dedicated, warm and welcoming people, the whole gang of them. Let Miranda putter away on the internet the next morning while I met my college friend Diana for breakfast (four words: creme brulee french toast) to catch up on the long strange trip we’ve both had since those callow days. Then a little walk along the river with Miranda, skipping stones in the snow and off to the airport. Lovely, lovely stuff, but as I said, not much to write about.
There will be other trips – soon – and no doubt more outbound stories as well. In the meantime, thanks for following along.
(Oh, for those of you have been wondering: yeah, the fiction writing is going well. Fiction publishing, not so much. Just racked up my ninth rejection letter in three months, but no, don’t worry, I’m nowhere near disheartened. I’m getting good feedback, and most important of all, I’m really having fun with it.)