I've worn myself out again; it seems likely that I'll keep this up until I'm on another continent in just over a week. Today's surprise: finding out who else will be there over the course of the year, including someone nearly my age who works in my historical period. Now the trip is becoming real. Other people are also packing and preparing--other people will be there working and writing--though when they'll all show up, I have no way of knowing. A frisson of first-day jitters--appropriate enough, given that classes start here in about seven hours--as I find myself thinking, will they like me? will people want to eat dinner with me? will I want to compete with them? will I feel worthy? That frisson passes (it has grown tiresome after all these years) and is superseded by the more appropriate one: will I be able to pack all the things I want to take? That answer is almost certainly no (and rightly so), but I'm going to make a valiant effort.
This evening, I took a break from trying to finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I like but have had enough of by now, and ventured out with one of my Clevelander students to try and spot the Knox County eagle. We had no luck, even though we tried to give him a lot of time to manifest: I took some pictures of random details; we parked the car and took a walk (against a strange rural Ohio sonic backdrop of maybe-gunshot and small explosion-type-things); I photographed the sunset; we sat in a parking lot. Alas, no, and so we ended up at Friendly's. We will try again tomorrow night, when I also hope to pay a visit to the low-lit prairie. I am beginning to gather up my places and pack them, too. They're easier to manage than shoes and research notes and sweaters.
I plot my clothing for the flight over: will have to wear the harness boots, as they are too heavy either to pack or to ship. Will have to wear jeans, because the plane will be cold. Will need a pullover of some sort, because the plane will be cold. Will have to layer, clearly.
Tonight's low temperatures here will be nearly the low temperatures of the place to which I will soon be going.
I have going on the brain and yet am still holding on tight to being here--though I did finish cleaning out my office this afternoon. There are all these books still to be read, these notes still to be made, these tasks still to be finished before I leave. Or so it seems. In reality, most of them will simply go with me and get resumed Over There.
And I owe you (some of you more than others) two good, long stories about ways I was surprised this weekend--first with one of the weirdest mystery trips of my life on Friday night (weird not because of the destination but because of the utterly bizarre route that led us there) and then with the arrival of not just my parents but also my brother in Gambier yesterday. My stomach has gotten a workout with all the eating and the laughing and the being forced to ride around in a car with my eyes clenched shut. And I now know that this apartment can contain a party--and that its kitchen is actually far better suited than the one in the old house for that party-inevitability, Kitchen Standing. But these are stories for tomorrow--unless, of course, something happens tomorrow that (as befits the Cabinet's name) calls my writing in another direction.