Reflections on Travel, Home

Traveling always seems to reaffirm my faith in humanity. Everywhere I go, strangers are kind to me and I watch strangers be kind to others.

Friday morning, I woke up early and made tea in the guesthouse kitchen. Then I walked around the Nob Hill area, one last walk in Portland before heading home. It was bright outside and quiet. Just the early crowd heading to work. I got breakfast at Portland Bagelworks and then headed back to get my luggage and check out. Then I schlepped over to the MAX light rail station at JELD-WEN Field. The only person around was one of the MAX employees; she kindly gave me directions.

I must have been dazed by my morning walk, because I was not really paying attention. I crossed the track and sat down by the window of a doughnut show. A few seconds later, one of the shop employees tapped on the window and explained that I needed to go to the track on the other side of the building. I then realized that I had misread the signs, and if it hadn’t been for this man, I would have sat there waiting in vain. I thanked him and moved to the right track.

Apparently I was still in a daze because I was about to step aboard the Blue Line, when the MAX employee from before stopped me and said, “You should wait for the Red Line. That one goes to the airport.” If she hadn’t bothered to stop me, I’d have ended up in some unknown area of Portland. Maybe I would have missed my flight. I laughed at myself and said, “What would I have done without you this morning?”

Once on the Red Line, I relaxed a little and did some people watching. One guy got on the train with his bike and hung it on this hook by the door. (Even the trains in Portland have bike racks!) A few stops later, another guy got on with his bike and a cup of coffee. He was struggling to get his bike on the rack, because his coffee kept spilling. Bike Man No. 1 noticed and immediately offered to hold the coffee cup for him. Bike Man No. 2 racked his bike, and then retrieved his coffee. “Thanks, man. I really appreciate it.” Then they both went about their business.

It was an incredible morning; I felt so good about the world. Maybe that is why the hassles of traveling all day didn’t phase me.

It’s so good to be home. I feel like my summer has begun. I jumped right back into my job at Occoneechee State Park: two wagon ride tours on Saturday and a full day of event planning today. The trees have grown so much since I left. The spring blossoms are gone, and thick green leaves have taken their place. The grasses are growing tall.

Evening, View of the farm from our driveway.

Yesterday I walked around the garden to see how things are doing. The potatoes and corn that Dana and I planted are doing well. The broccoli looks healthy. I made a salad with some of our lettuce and strawberries.

I introduced myself to the new guinea hens. They are so funny looking. And they make this noise that sounds like a squeaky door hinge.

Pippa is as beautiful and energetic as ever. I’m both terrified and awed whenever I see her coming toward me:

Pippa gave up chewing a Dr. Pepper bottle to come say hello.

It’s funny how things slide back into place when you return home. I feel like I never left.

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