Flying over Oklahoma or northern Texas at the moment. I'm making my way back to New Orleans via Houston after the third do-it-ourselves retreat of Fleming's circle: countryside locations outside Nashville, Indiana in late July 2002; Jackson, Wyoming in 2008; and now Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 2010. I'll probably need a few entries, at least, like last time, in order to process my thoughts regarding the whole thing. I do know that it felt incredibly quick to me. I really felt like it ought to have gone a few more days, as though we were just hitting our stride. Each of these gatherings has habits own character or feel, I've noticed, even with a fairly stable cast in attendance. I was glad to have gotten some "transition" time at the end of this one, with an extra day with McGlinn, traveling to his home in Kansas City and getting some time with Beth last night, which paralleled my staying in Jackson last time for a little extra time with Kev and with Frannie and the kids. The last time I had seen Beth, Charlie was a newborn: a tiny bundle of life just a few months old curled up on Mike's chest as he was stretched out on their sofa in Nashville. Now he's seven, with John five years old and wondergirl Molly three years old and a perfect partner for Sophie if only I could introduce them. Ah. Descending into Houston now. So, more later....
Gate E5. Flying out of George Bush/Houston International. I'm at the same gate area in Houston that I was at when I passed through in May of 2004 on the way to Tulsa to meet Frannie (and help Kevin move). Just passed the phone bank I called Kev from. Flashback City. That trip, with my brief hours in Fayetteville to help move Kev out of his old place had been my only time in Arkansas previous to this trip. Had to text him that bit.
Flashbacks of fictional sorts leaving Kansas City International, as I had coming in. As a devotee of Superman stories, and thus of the WB's/CW's Smallville adaptation of the early years of Clark Kent, I've long noticed that in this television version, the city of Metropolis is not an East Coast urban powerhouse of the Manhattan sort, but is instead in this "alternate world" in the place of Kansas City. The skyline, built through computer graphics out of the Vancouver skyline (with liberal additions from New York and Chicago, at least) is far more vast than that of the real Kansas City, but aerial shots definitely put it on the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and its location puts it a few hours from the fictional town of Smallville. I couldn't help but recognize a few points from seeing this favourite show of mine, and as I flew over Kansas on the way to Houston, I couldn't help but notice that I was flying somewhere around where the fictional Smallville would be, and thus couldn't help but imagine the countryside below as it was represented during the infamous Smallville Meteor Shower of 1989 that left the town forever changed.
Back in New Orleans, about to run to the grocery store and to sweep the dust off the porch from the sanding of the house by the painters while I was away. Sultry hot in New Orleans, with the airport temp matching the 101ºF we experienced at Winterwood. It was a more modest 93ºF down in Uptown when I got back to the house. My department chair, Tim, was flying out the same day I left, so I have his car right now until he comes back in on Thursday, so that he didn't have to pay the additional few days of a parking fee. I think that actually might have been my first time behind the wheel in a year: I can't think of having driven for a while, and so, since it was also my first time driving in New Orleans, where my experience is nil and my navigation based off of what I memorized from Google Earth, it was kind of a flashback (we got a theme going here) to my first time driving into Chicago on my own, when I was a sophomore in undergrad, on my way to see David Letterman broadcasting Late Night during the one week he was doing the show out of Chicago. It was Reading Day, just before Final Exams in May, and Frank Moran and I sat on a cold sidewalk for eight hours in order to get good seats. I also got walking pneumonia that mercifully held off until the end of exams. Wow, I'm pretty scattered. Two nights of little sleep in a row: from the last night of the retreat and our early rising to clean and pack, and from feeling restless after Michael and Beth went to sleep early last night. So this'll be my night to crash and to try to write something up that makes more sense about the last few days.
Happy New Year!