Last night, for instance: on the road, in the home stretch, 24 miles to go, a red neon restaurant sign: Prime Tim. Tim instead of Time, the crucial absence. And a stoplight, just long enough to grab the camera, catch a picture. But no. It's a fast stoplight, there in the middle of the southern Indiana almost-empty night. And in the dark exposures take more time. So I end up with something for which I did not try, a lovely thing I have not earned, an electric aurora. And I drive through my ribbon of illumination alongside the night-dark cornfields thinking, for the first time in months, of my friend Tim, whom I have not seen in a decade.
So, may there always be the wanting. Look where it leads.
Today, I bake and grade and listen to the sounds of others in a house. Voices go up and down the halls below my perch; the dog's toenails keep time irregularly while she paces the dinner that has been in the making all day. More silverware makes it to the table. And in my imagination, a similar series of pacings and clickings and clatterings and preparations: dinners being masterminded in all manner of places. Almost no one I know and love is having Thanksgiving where he or she lives this year; we have dispersed, evacuated our homes, pulled inexorably back to where we're from. I know that I will not unfurl on this trip, that the uncoil, the rebound, the reach and the rest will all wait until I'm fully here, after the Academic Mayhem next month. But it's still a loveliness to be at least partly here, in the blue room above the bright kitchen and the warm smells.
Among the many things for which I'm grateful: getting to be at the center (in my own mind, you see; read your Middlemarch) of this collection of far-flung yous who circle my life, however distant you are from my presence (or even from my awareness; I leave room for those of you I have not yet found, or may already have lost). Be safe and careful and good and loved, today and always.