Get help.

I have this pack of cards that I bought years ago called The Observation Deck. It's billed as "a toolkit for writers"; I think that I might have bought it not very long after it was released. Over the years, I've shuffled through some of the cards, and their accompanying booklet, from time to time, and I was very happy to rediscover it during the excavation that was my move in June. Sometime in July, after the dust had settled and things were more or less where they would be for the summer, I decided to try a little bibliomancy with the cards. I closed my eyes and drew one at random. It read, "Get help."

The idea behind the card is a big one in almost any self-help or creativity guide. Don't try to go it alone. Know your allies. Turn to them when you need them. Total independence and self-reliance can be pretty overrated. Don't suffer alone.

But it's also a good one to keep in mind for oneself--to remember, in other words, that one can be one's own best helper when there's no one else around--as I was reminded this evening.

I've traveled once again to Lexington to visit the Newest Lexingtonian and her excellent parents. Or to visit my beloved Lexingtonian and her husband and daughter. Depending on your perspective. And to be honest, I've also traveled to get away from the village--something that I never fully realize is one of my motives until I'm away and find myself spontaneously lengthening my trips. For example: I had originally planned to head home by Wednesday or Thursday. Within an hour of having left my apartment, I was revising that estimated time of return to next weekend or even beyond.

But first, I had to get where I was going. And today, that didn't seem like such a possible prospect. Usually it takes an hour to get to Columbus. Today, because of various traffic snarls and unexpected events (a festival in the next town over, a problem that necessitated the local power company's presence in one lane of the two-lane state highway a few towns further along--for 45 minutes), it took me nearly two hours. By the time I was a quarter of the way to Lexington, I was already frayed.

And for once, rather than push onward relentlessly, I decided to take a break. I drove to the bizarre Town Centre mall and called my beloved Lexingtonian and pushed my ETA back a bit, then rambled a little: trying on dresses, weighing wine glasses in my palms, browsing for books. I came away with what felt like a talismanic new copy of Walden and a three-pack of composition books from Pottery Barn, of all places. And a huge cup of coffee. And I felt better. And the traffic had thinned out. And I sped all the way here without incident.

Unless you count the gorgeous sunset.

And the lights in Cincinnati.

And the fireworks in Florence. Roadside fireworks: the best show I've seen all summer. There's more to say about them, but now I am tired, and in not very many hours, a baby will be awake and ready to play on a floor.