Photo by Flynn3013
I arrived back to sane, springing-ahead Portland last night, weary from my sojourn to home turf in northeastern Pennsylvania and a pilgrimage to icy, snow-drift and dreary Ithaca for a friend’s memorial service on March 1st. It was a grueling trip. Lots of down time, time to observe the shabby, broken-down weariness of that part of the east. Time to obsessively read Philip Roth and reflect on my own exile, to make peace with why I can’t truly ever go home again and, more and more, no longer want to. Maybe everybody else by their middle age has made peace with this scenario but me. And, perhaps in ways, I too already have. But this trip really brought it horribly home: the fearfulness, the general daily anxiety, the xenophobia about outsiders (and that catchall category can include just about anybody), the overall weariness associated with travel in a too-crowded, crumbling-infrastructure place. Highlights were the real bagels and pizza. And, of course, seeing Ithaca friends. It’s good to be back even if my life here needs re-structuring, new priorities, and more unpacking awaits. The camellia is blooming and there are happy daffodils in the back garden yard. I may have to re-read Thomas Wolfe on home, place, exile, and family to re-gain some universally-acknowledged perspectives on why some of us, particularly the creative ones, often have to head, solo and unscripted, out into the big, bad world.